The self-regulation effect of fertility status on inbreeding aversion: When fertile, disgust increases more in response to descriptions of one’s own than of other’s inbreeding

Jan Antfolk, Debra Lieberman, Anna Catharina Albrecht, Pekka Santtila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The ovulatory shift modulates emotions related to female sexuality. Because fertility status only affects the individual’s own opportunity cost, the adaptive value of this shift is expected to stem from self-regulation. To test this assumption we asked women to contemplate various inbreeding descriptions: 1) they themselves having sex with male relatives; 2) their sister having sex with their common male relatives; and 3) an unrelated woman having sex with her male relatives (in 1, but not 2 and 3, negative fitness consequences are affected by the participant’s fertility). We dichotomized the dependent variable disgust (ceiling vs. non-ceiling) and analyzed the interaction between fertility status and description type. The ovulatory shift was stronger in descriptions where they themselves were described as engaging in inbreeding. A smaller increase was also found in reactions to others engaging in inbreeding. We explain the latter effect as due to self-reflection.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)621–631
JournalEvolutionary Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Menstrual cycle
  • Fertility
  • Inbreeding

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