Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tactical Christmas presents

02.11.2006
Norwegian behavioural biologists at the University of Oslo (UiO) have found that that eldest siblings use more money on each gift than their younger siblings. The research also noted that those born in the middle give the least to the family.

Iver Mysterud is a doctor in human behavioural ecology at UiO and the lead author behind the study that is published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology.

He believes that explanation for the first born giving more is that it is easier for them to open themselves to their parents and to their parents’ attitude than it is for younger siblings to do. This is reflected in gift buying.

Different strategies

"In a group of siblings there is competition for parents’ attention. While the oldest of the children will often be more conservative and more similar to their parents, so the next in line must choose another strategy to gain attention and resources. Therefore they are often more rebellious, says Mysterud.

“This supports my theory that birth order is important for the development of personality. It can be noted that among supporters of revolutionary thought throughout history are a large number of younger siblings," he continues.

Generous to your own genes

Mysterud and his colleagues swept up each and every needle under the Christmas tree to find out as much as possible about Norwegians’ gift-giving traditions.

They found, among other things, that people give most to their nearest relatives. In such cases it is not as important how much one receives in return.

This explains the theory of family relationships: The closer one is in the family (genetic relation) with another, the greater the payoff is in helping your own genetic material.

To receive gifts in return is therefore more important when is comes to gifts from non-relatives, such as from friends.

Girls give most

"Blood is generally thicker than water. Moreover, one can clearly see gender differences in the total number of gifts given. It’s not surprising that girls give the most Christmas presents, and that includes to friends,” says the behavioural biologist.

That women are more thorough in Christmas shopping than men doesn’t sound so revolutionary, but Mysterud also has a possible explanation for this.

“Before, it was the girls that would move from the home to begin a family, while the boys were more attached to the place in which they grew up. So saying, girls must learn from the bottom-up the new social ties. Gift giving has played an important role in winning favour in the new family,” he believes.

Unique study

There have been many gift studies earlier, but none from an evolutionary prospective. Nor has sibling birth order been studied from this perspective, making this gift study unique.

Mysterud himself is the eldest son, but he has possibly a more relaxed attitude when it comes to Christmas presents: "Even though it was early January when we asked around in the reading room, it was a surprise how many details students remembered about the gifts they had received. They even remembered the prices of almost everything!” he chuckles.

Prof Tore Slagsvold | alfa
Further information:
http://www.bio.uio.no

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Penn researchers show that mental 'map' and 'compass' are two separate systems
22.05.2015 | University of Pennsylvania

nachricht Real stereotypes continue to exist in virtual worlds
05.05.2015 | Penn State

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Glaciers melt faster than ever

Glacier decline in the first decade of the 21st century has reached a historical record, since the onset of direct observations. Glacier melt is a global phenomenon and will continue even without further climate change. This is shown in the latest study by the World Glacier Monitoring Service under the lead of the University of Zurich, Switzerland.

The World Glacier Monitoring Service, domiciled at the University of Zurich, has compiled worldwide data on glacier changes for more than 120 years. Together...

Im Focus: Quantum Matter Stuck in Unrest

Using ultracold atoms trapped in light crystals, scientists from the MPQ, LMU, and the Weizmann Institute observe a novel state of matter that never thermalizes.

What happens if one mixes cold and hot water? After some initial dynamics, one is left with lukewarm water—the system has thermalized to a new thermal...

Im Focus: On the crest of the wave: Electronics on a time scale shorter than a cycle of light

Physicists from Regensburg and Marburg, Germany have succeeded in taking a slow-motion movie of speeding electrons in a solid driven by a strong light wave. In the process, they have unraveled a novel quantum phenomenon, which will be reported in the forthcoming edition of Nature.

The advent of ever faster electronics featuring clock rates up to the multiple-gigahertz range has revolutionized our day-to-day life. Researchers and...

Im Focus: Superfast fluorescence sets new speed record

Plasmonic device has speed and efficiency to serve optical computers

Researchers have developed an ultrafast light-emitting device that can flip on and off 90 billion times a second and could form the basis of optical computing.

Im Focus: Unlocking the rice immune system

Joint BioEnergy Institute study identifies bacterial protein that is key to protecting rice against bacterial blight

A bacterial signal that when recognized by rice plants enables the plants to resist a devastating blight disease has been identified by a multi-national team...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Euro Bio-inspired - International Conference and Exhibition on Bio-inspired Materials

23.07.2015 | Event News

Clash of Realities – International Conference on the Art, Technology and Theory of Digital Games

10.07.2015 | Event News

World Conference on Regenerative Medicine in Leipzig: Last chance to submit abstracts until 2 July

25.06.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

“Seeing” molecular interactions could give boost to organic electronics

03.08.2015 | Materials Sciences

Stroke: news about platelets

03.08.2015 | Life Sciences

Molecular Spies to Fight Cancer - Procedure for improving tumor diagnosis successfully tested

03.08.2015 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>