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Angela
05-02-19, 18:56
The Kundera hypothesis posits that every woman, but not every man, will choose their child, not their mate, in catastrophic situations.

I wouldn't go betting the farm on a study with 197 participants, but...

See:

"https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1474704918808864"

"The context of a famous novel by Milan Kundera (Immortality) suggests that when faced with a life-or-death situation, every woman would prefer to save her child than her husband, left hanging whether every man would do the same. We labeled this as the Kundera hypothesis, and the purpose of this study was to test it empirically as we believe it raises a thought-provoking question in evolutionary terms. Specifically, 197 college students (92 women) were presented a questionnaire where they had to make different decisions about four dilemmas about who to save (their mate or their offspring) in two hypothetical life-or-death situations: a home fire and a car crash. These dilemmas involved two different mate ages (a 25- or a 40-year-old mate) and two offspring ages (1- or a 6-year-old child). For comparative purposes, we also included complementary life-or-death dilemmas on both a sibling and an offspring, and a sibling and a cousin. The results generally supported the Kundera hypothesis: Although the majority of men and women made the decision to save their offspring instead of their mate, about 18% of men on average (unlike the 5% of women) consistently decided to save their mate across the four dilemmas in the two life-or-death situations. These data were interpreted with reference to Hamilton’s inclusive fitness theory, the preferential role of women as kin keepers, and the evolution of altruism toward friends and mates."

Anecdotally, I'd say this is accurate.

Farstar
05-02-19, 20:21
It would also be interesting to test "maximum altruism", i.e. how much risk a person is willing to take in order to save the life of a mate or offspring. I believe the result in the OP would equally hold.

In relation to "females are much more likely to keep track of kin and are more concerned about their welfare than men", in fact the OP result could also be due to the opposite effect: not only mums love children more than their fathers, but also maybe men love their women more than the opposite.

Angela
05-02-19, 21:03
It would also be interesting to test "maximum altruism", i.e. how much risk a person is willing to take in order to save the life of a mate or offspring. I believe the result in the OP would equally hold.

In relation to "females are much more likely to keep track of kin and are more concerned about their welfare than men", in fact the OP result could also be due to the opposite effect: not only mums love children more than their fathers, but also maybe men love their women more than the opposite.

Well, I don't know if the average man loves his woman more than the woman loves her man, but I think the research shows that women survive better when widowed and divorced. When couples are long married, and the woman dies, the man often follows soon after. That was the case with my parents.

That might be due to the fact that women have larger social networks than men, however.

I once asked my grandmother whom she had loved the most in her life and was surprised when she said first her children, then her parents, then her husband. She explained that you can have one husband, or two, or three, but you only have one mother and father. Yet, she had been a devoted wife, more devoted than he deserved. Maybe it's an Italian thing; Italian men are very devoted to their mothers. Or maybe it's a Southern European thing? I was devoted to my mother as well. I'm afraid that after my children, my mother came first. My husband was very understanding about it. :) He adored her too, which helped.

Looking at the state of marriage today, especially, maybe she had a point.

There are all sorts of individual variables that would affect this, of course, like the age of the child, the individual character of the spouse, how long the couple had been together etc. In the throes of first love and passion you might feel differently than after thirty years of marriage when you've seen all the warts.

bicicleur
05-02-19, 22:54
yes women have larger social networks, that's for sure
it's an advantage at old age
I guess men are more prone to become dependant on their spouse

but in wildlife, there is the 'grumpy old male buffalo', who becomes rejected from the herd when he is beaten by a new challenging alpha male
he becomes solitaire, but he can survive very long in that state
even the lions won't attack him

another thing, when you mention the relationship between a married man and his lasting attachement to his mothers
mothers-in-law sometimes have a bad reputation
why would that be?

Angela
06-02-19, 01:38
yes women have larger social networks, that's for sure
it's an advantage at old age
I guess men are more prone to become dependant on their spouse

but in wildlife, there is the 'grumpy old male buffalo', who becomes rejected from the herd when he is beaten by a new challenging alpha male
he becomes solitaire, but he can survive very long in that state
even the lions won't attack him

another thing, when you mention the relationship between a married man and his lasting attachement to his mothers
mothers-in-law sometimes have a bad reputation
why would that be?

Why? It's because women are terribly jealous, and always want to be first. A mother and daughter in law can fight over a man like two lionesses pulling apart their prey. It works the other way too. You know, "daddy's little girl"?

A mother in law has to know how to deal with a daughter in law, and vice versa. Both my paternal grandmother and my mother were masters at it. Neither of them ever sided with their own son or daughter, but always took the part of the "in-law". As my grandmother would say, they'll make up afterward, and if you took sides with your own child, the husband or wife will always hold it against you. They also never volunteered advice, but waited to be asked, and even then always said, it's your decision, the two of you. It's also a good idea not to make it clear that you think she's a lousy housekeeper, her cooking is far inferior to yours, if she cooks at all, and she doesn't know how to manage her children. :)

As a daughter in law, I think it's important that your cultural expectations are the same as those of your spouse and vice versa, or at least that you're flexible enough to compromise to make it work for everyone. Daughters in law can be very jealous at any sign of affection by their husbands towards their mothers, and take any comparisons very badly. In a lot of cases, as I said, it's just jealousy and insecurity. You have to understand that the relationship he has with you is very different.

I didn't have those problems. We both came from very tightly knit Italian families. He knew and approved that I was so close to my parents, especially my mother, and I was always respectful and loving toward his family. His grandmother was over the moon that I was from Italy, and I adopted her as a replacement for my own beloved nonna, who had died years before I married. Showing respect for older family members is automatic and instinctive with me. His family became my family as well. I would never have wanted to disrupt his relationship with them in any way. I think they wound up loving me more than they do him, to be honest, probably mostly because I always devoted more time to "family matters": sending the cards, buying the presents, playing with the younger family members. I was the one who suggested that one of his young cousins live with us while attending university when he needed a fresh start. At any rate, there are a lot more children in the second generation named after me than after him. :) They're wonderful people, though, so they were easy to love, even if they were quite different from my own family: much more boisterous and direct than my very reserved family. I was very lucky in my "in-laws", as was he: no people finer in this world than my parents.

Farstar
07-02-19, 10:35
Well, I don't know if the average man loves his woman more than the woman loves her man, but I think the research shows that women survive better when widowed and divorced. When couples are long married, and the woman dies, the man often follows soon after. That was the case with my parents.

That might be due to the fact that women have larger social networks than men, however.

I once asked my grandmother whom she had loved the most in her life and was surprised when she said first her children, then her parents, then her husband. She explained that you can have one husband, or two, or three, but you only have one mother and father. Yet, she had been a devoted wife, more devoted than he deserved. Maybe it's an Italian thing; Italian men are very devoted to their mothers. Or maybe it's a Southern European thing? I was devoted to my mother as well. I'm afraid that after my children, my mother came first. My husband was very understanding about it. :) He adored her too, which helped.

Looking at the state of marriage today, especially, maybe she had a point.

There are all sorts of individual variables that would affect this, of course, like the age of the child, the individual character of the spouse, how long the couple had been together etc. In the throes of first love and passion you might feel differently than after thirty years of marriage when you've seen all the warts.

I agree with what you say. I would refine my statement: most women of traditional style in Southern Europe (e.g. my mother, or previous generations) were extremely generous in life (more than men). I was referring to women say below 40 years old. There has been a massive change in attitudes. My father, or my grandfather, could reasonably expect that if they were ill in old age, their couples would help them in a massive way (also the opposite, but maybe a bit less).

But I am not sure that in a current say 30 year old couple, the man can expect that his wife (if they do not break up before) will take care of him when he will be old (statistically, men marry older, and we die earlier). I believe many men are implicitly believing this because they saw it at their homes. But I believe they will be unpleasantly surprised when time comes to shove (and they cannot do anything to remedy their mistake).