9. Developmental Trajectories, Socialization
- An evolutionary theory of socialization suggests that individuals have been selected for a capacity to adjust life histories in response to environmental conditions, and variations in developmental patterns are considered as adaptive answers to different circumstances. Humans possess innate learning rules that guide behaviour during an early sensitive period. Children adopt - not necessarily in a conscious way - a reproductive style appropriate to the adult social environment in which they were born. Those growing up in father-absent households learn that men are not expected to contribute to parental care, and paternal investment could be neglected in supporting a family. As adolescents and adults, they shift to a behavioural strategy that involves less stable and more transient pair-bonding, compared to father-present children. Using a sample of about 1000 persons, a study has revealed that father-absent children showed a higher intensity of noncompliance behavior, earlier cut of school, younger age at marriage, lower marital success, and. higher fertility, compared to father-present children (Bereczkei and Csanaky 1996).
- In accordance with Belsky et al.’s theoretical model of socialisation (1991), we claim that unfavorable family conditions constitute an unpredictable and unstable environment that makes children susceptible to adopt opportunistic mating strategies rather than parenting strategies. Based on Chisholm’s statement (1993) that high stress in family provide cues of local death, we argue that mortality rates may have a great effect on reproductive decisions, even in modern societies. We found that length of schooling, date of the first marriage, and fertility were associated with the subjects' family conditions, such as parental affirmation, emotional atmosphere, parent-subject conflicts, and parental relations. Women growing up in unfavorable family circumstancesfinish schooling and marry earlier, and this shift in developmental trajectory is likely to lead to the higher number of children measured among women. Men, on the other hand, do not show such a difference in reproductive output, which may be due to their increased involvement in sexual competition. Remarkably, significant correlation has been found between life-history strategy and mortality rates; those coming from unfavourable environments have more deceased sisters and brothers than others. It is possible that individual differences in mating and parenting behaviour are still contingent, among others, on local death rates (Bereczkei and Csanaky 2002).
- A recent study focuses on the relationship between parental bonding and adolescents’ risk-taking behavior (Ivan and Bereczkei 2006). We will show that parental love is predictive of several direct and indirect forms of adolescents’ risk taking. Subjects who had received more parental love during childhood were less likely to get in dangerous situations, less likely to get injured, and less likely to apply to physical violence for solving conflicts, compared to those with less parental love. They smoked less frequently, consumed less alcohol and used drugs much more seldom. These findings were interpreted within an evolutionary framework based on Belsky et al.’s theory. Violence, risk-taking, and noncompliance are considered as ultimate means of acquiring resources for those who loose less than their more beloved peers. A possible alternative explanation is discussed.
- Bereczkei T. Evolúciós pszichológia. Osiris Kiadó, Bp., 2003.
- Bereczkei T. (2007) Parental impact on development: how proximate factors mediate adaptive plans. In: Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology (Eds. R. Dunbar and L. Barrett. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 255-272.
- Bereczkei T. (2002) Humán viselkedésökológia. In: Viselkedésökológia. Barta Z., Liker A., and Szekely, T. (Szerk.).Osiris, Budapest, pp. 188-213.
- Tóth É. És Bereczkei T. A szexuális fejlődés adaptív pályái: A családi háttér hatása serdólő korú lányok párkereső aktivitására. In: Evolúció és megismerés. Szerk. Kampis Gy. És Ropolyi L. Typotex, 2001, 77-88.
- Csanaky A. és Bereczkei T. A szocializáció evolúciós pályái: az apa nélkül felnövő kamaszok és felnőttek viselkdésének fejlődése. In: Az evolúciós szemlélet napjaink pszichológiájában, Szerk. Pléh Cs., Csányi V., és Bereczkei T. Osiris, Budapest, 2001
- Bereczkei T.: A viselkedés fejlôdésének evolúciós-adaptív mechanizmusai. In: Fejlôdéslélektani olvasókönyv. Szerk. Bernáth L. és Solymosi K. Tertia 1997, 139-156.
- Ivan, Zs. And Bereczkei T. (2006) parental bonding, risk-takin behavior and life history. Journal of Cultural and Evolutionary Psychology 4: 267-275.
- Bereczkei, T. and Csanaky, A. (2001) Stressful family environment, mortality, and child socialisation: Life-history strategies among adolescents and adults from unfavourable social circumstances. International Journal of Behavioral Development 25: 501-508.
- Bereczkei T. (2000) Evolutionary psychology: A new perspective in the behavioral sciences. European Psychologist 5: 459-481.
- Bereczkei, T. and Csanaky, A. (1996) Evolutionary Pathway of Child Development; Lifestyles of Adolescents and Adults from Father-Absent Families. Human Nature 7: 257-280.