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date: 08 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

During the past century, social scientists have documented many cross-cultural sex differences in personality and behavior, quite a few of which now appear to be found in all human societies. However, contrary to most scientists’ expectations, these so-called universal sex differences have been shown to be more pronounced in Western industrial societies than in most non-Western developing societies. This chapter briefly reviews the evidence bearing on these findings and offers a biologically based theory that could help shed light on why cross-cultural sex differences exist. The following hypothesis is offered: The expression of many genes influencing sexually dimorphic traits is more likely among descendants of couples who are least closely related to one another. If so, societies in which out-marriage is normative (i.e., Western industrial countries) will exhibit a stronger expression of genes for sexually dimorphic traits compared to societies in which consanguineal marriages are common.

Keywords: social role theory, evolutionary theory, evolutionary neuroandrogenic theory, sex egalitarian societies, sex differences, personality traits

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