Oedipus complex, mate choice, imprinting; An evolutionary reconsideration of a Freudian concept based on empirical studies

T. Bereczkei, Petra Gyuris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Freud's assumption that the Oedipal relationship plays an important part in shaping the future character of mate choice needs a scientific reconsideration that, in turn, requires setting an empirically testable explanation. The authors hypothesize that the close physical and emotional attachment between the mother and her son includes a sexual imprinting-like mechanism that influences the processing of childhood experiences. Here they present a set of experiments showing that adults prefer long-term partners who resemble the mental representation of their parent of the opposite sex. Furthermore, mating preferences were found to be shaped in the process of attachment; those mothers were most frequently used as mental models for their sons' mate choice who provided more emotional warmth and less avoidance to their sons during childhood. The implications of the study's results for the contemporary interpretation of Freudian theory are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-94
Number of pages24
JournalMankind Quarterly
Volume50
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009

Fingerprint

childhood
parents
interpretation
experiment
Imprinting
Mate
Sigmund Freud
Oedipus
Evolutionary
Empirical Study
experience
Childhood
Emotion
Mental Representation
Warmth
Sexual
Experiment
Freudian Theory
Avoidance
Mental Models

Keywords

  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Mate preferences
  • Oedipal relationship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology

Cite this

Oedipus complex, mate choice, imprinting; An evolutionary reconsideration of a Freudian concept based on empirical studies. / Bereczkei, T.; Gyuris, Petra.

In: Mankind Quarterly, Vol. 50, No. 1-2, 09.2009, p. 71-94.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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