Al asked in Social ScienceAnthropology · 1 decade ago

To what do naturalists attribute the childs affinity for the parent of the opposite sex?

Update:

This affinity is based on my observations of children beyond the suckling age but not yet young adults. Perhaps I must go to geneticists for my answer.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The funny thing here is that everyone's giving you psychoanalytic explanations, which are not what a naturalist would use. Naturalists are scholars and scientists who work in the macrobiological tradition of the biological sciences - e.g., zoologists, botanists, primatologists, and so on.

    So, first, I don't think naturalists would actually address this question, because I don't think a child's affinity for the parent of the opposite sex is a universal phenomena across species, or even across the whole of the human species. Secondly, Freud's psychoanalysis is not a paradigm that a naturalist would use to explain anything - this is because it is not a materialist paradigm and most naturalists work in an explicitly materialist (i.e., using material evidence as the foundation for theory) framework.

    And, even if we're going to leave the naturalists behind and look towards non-material explanations for a child's affinity for the parent of the opposite sex . . . well, Freud was a smart guy. But, despite his own aspirations, he was not offering a theory about all humans. He was, at best, a skilled ethnographer of the Austrian bourgeosie of the 19th century, and, as compelling as the Oedipus and Electra complexes are as theory sets, they are not applicable across cultures and across species.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    To nothing. There is no such affinity. It would be highly suggested in primates that either sex would have affinity for their mother. Since primates naturally lactate and their children nurse until about 5 years old. Only in the modern West is this not that common anymore.Freud, in this, as in many things, was wrong.

    Source(s): Ethologist
  • 1 decade ago

    I can only speak of my own experience but my two and a half year old son much prefers me and spending time with me, his father.

    I suspect " the child's affinity for the parent of the opposite sex" is an urban myth or apocryphal.

    Freud was a brilliant therapist but he projected his own issues on others far too much. Take him with a pinch of skepticism.

  • Ever heard of Oediphus Rex? The famous story by Socrates in which a man falls in love with his mother, marries her after killing his father, then gouging his eyes out because of what he's done...Crazy, huh? Well, not only did Socrates believe this was possible, but Sigmund Freud did too. His whole philosophy is based on the idea that children secretly are in love with the parent of the opposite sex, and want to remove the same sex parent from the picture. Basically it ends up being about children's sexual preferences, and stuff like that....Personally, I don't believe in the sexual part of it, but I do believe that perhaps Freud was right about the child being "jealous," if you will, of the same sex parent, and not being able to measure up to them, thus clinging to the opposite sex parent. Perhaps it boils down to people naturally beginning to cling to someone of the opposite sex, then later on in life, marrying, or being with someone just like them. I've heard that you marry someone who was just like your father....Kinda weird huh?

    Hope that helped a little...

    Source(s): ME
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  • 1 decade ago

    There is a genetic imprint that makes us attracted to men/women that bear similarity to the men/women we grew up around.

    Source(s): jared diamond, Third Chimpanzee
  • Dino
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    With males it's Oedipus, for females it's the Electra Complex.

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