For most people, if their partner cheated on them with another person they would feel devastated. But is there any evidence that this is biologically innate behaviour or if it is a socially learned behaviour. As in, society says that partners are not supposed to cheat.

You often hear about hippie communes and suchlike where people share there partners more. But then again you hear that sometimes these fail because of innate human jealousy.

And there are some societies that are polygamous or polyandrous and they don't seem to have these problems.

Also, the way a human can find out about cheating is through communication by language. There is no analog of this in the animal kingdom which makes it slightly different. Although language could conjure up an image which would be similar to what a lesser animal might react to.

  • $\begingroup$ I have read a reasonable amount of literature on the anthropology of mating systems, and one thing that constantly is raised is the issue of jealousy in polygamous marriages. So to say that polygamous societies don't have problems with jealousy is certainly not true for all polygamous societies. David Buss has probably made the strongest argument for an innate sense of (romantic/sexual) jealousy, with his views summarized in his book "Dangerous Passion." Read his book and you can decide for yourself if he makes a convincing case. I haven't read it myself. $\endgroup$ – Eff Jul 30 '18 at 8:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Eff, there are two types of jealousy, probably. One is derived from the desire to own and is linked to envy and greed, but envy is when you don't own yet and want to own. Jealousy is when you own and want to sustain the ownership. This type of jealousy is the one that can be involved in polygamous marriages. Another type of jealousy is derived from the feeling of betrayal. Cheating in this case might be seen as betrayal and this is very likely to be cultural. $\endgroup$ – rus9384 Sep 28 '18 at 7:25
  • $\begingroup$ There probably are both factors. At first, we know there is attachment theory and we know infants are different in their attachment patterns. Some would be OK even if their mother is in another room and they are alone for a while. Others would not be OK. And there is cultural pressure too. Like "if a girl cheated on you, you are a loser." Regarding women there is some pressure as well. People with weaker attachment patterns typically do not become strongly attached to any particular person. Therefore, they naturally are likely to be less jealous. But don't forget about pressure. $\endgroup$ – rus9384 Sep 28 '18 at 7:48
  • $\begingroup$ @rus9384 I don't know people truly mean when they say things like "this is very likely to be cultural" and "And there is cultural pressure too." Culture doesn't arise out of nothing, and cultures need to be explained themselves. You could say that bowerbirds have "cultural pressure" to create the most beautiful bowers, or you could say that this comes out of their nature. Do you know any culture where it has repeatedly (not just one study or something) been shown that men, in general (not just some individuals, but the majority of men), don't care if their wives have sex with other men? $\endgroup$ – Eff Sep 28 '18 at 7:56
  • $\begingroup$ @Eff I can say only for individuals. But there is desire to be conform in many people. Herd reflex. But probably some prehistoric cultures, where there was no institution of marriage per se. $\endgroup$ – rus9384 Sep 28 '18 at 9:05

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