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Modern family values, incest taboos come from Catholic Church

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The Western Catholic Church’s influence on marriage and family structures during the Middle Ages shaped beliefs and behaviours now common among Western Europeans and their offspring, researchers say. An international study finds cultural changes half a millennia ago seeded long-lasting psychology of how families should look and what values they should hold. They say the Church transformed European kinship by promoting small, nuclear households, trust toward strangers, and creating an aversion to incest, extending the taboo to distant cousins, step-relatives and in-laws.

Journal/conference: Science

DOI: 10.1126/science.aau5141

Organisation/s: George Mason University, USA | University of Maryland, USA

Funder: The Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR).


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