Kinship and the Development of Social Preferences

  • Warren G. Holmes
Part of the Handbook of Behavioral Neurobiology book series (HBNE, volume 9)


In behavioral interactions between conspecifics, the identities of the individuals are rarely random because some social partners are sought out whereas others are ignored or avoided. Thus, social preferences are exhibited when unequal amounts of time, energy, or other resources are allocated to some individuals (or classes of them) rather than others. Examples include parental care given to related rather than unrelated young (Holmes, 1984a), long-term social bonds and alliances maintained only with certain group members (Hinde, 1983), and mate selection by individuals of one sex based on traits that differ among individuals of the opposite sex (examples in Bateson, 1983). Social preferences are critical to many topics studied by psychobiologists and behavioral ecologists, including the development of individual differences, social relations and mating patterns in groups, and the direction and rate of behavioral evolution. Thus, it is worthwhile to examine the determinants of social preferences and to explain their ontogeny.


Social Preference Ground Squirrel Inclusive Fitness Spiny Mouse Half Sibling 
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© Plenum Press, New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Warren G. Holmes
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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