Can perceptions arising out of cultural needs override evolutionary goals in the long-run? For example, in India, the average marriage-age is in the late 20s now. Here, the (popular) tradition is to frown down upon, and even ostracize, those who would engage in premarital sex. So, after 10,000 years, say, are Indians more likely to have the development of their sexual desires postponed to occur in their late 20s (if they are not exposed to any avenues of sexual expression)? This question arose as a consequence of a short discussion with some friends on an article that appeared in SciAm: about if (heterosexual) men and women could stay “just friends”. To paraphrase the principal question in the context of the SciAm-featured “study”:
- Would you agree that the statistical implications of gender-sensitive studies will vary from region to region simply because the reasons on the basis of which such relationships can be established vary from one socio-political context to another?
- Assuming you have agreed to the first question: Would you contend that the underlying biological imperatives can, someday, be overridden altogether in favor of holding up cultural paradigms (or vice versa)?
Is such a thing even possible? (To be clear: I’m not looking for hypotheses and conjectures; if you can link me to papers that support your point of view, that’d be great.)