Happy almost-Father’s Day! If you haven’t yet gotten anything for your dad, there’s still time to pick out a tie, a pair of cufflinks—or a book. May we suggest Fatherhood, by Peter B. Gray and Kermyt G. Anderson, out this spring?
For the past decade, the authors have studied paternal behavior across cultures; more recently, as the fathers of young children, they’ve experienced it first-hand. In their new book, they give an evolutionary and cross-cultural account of fatherhood and answer questions like:
- What factors influence whether or not men have children and how many they have?
- What is the rate of nonpaternity—the percentage of men in a given population whose putative children are not theirs?
- What effect does fatherhood have on a man’s sexuality? On his brain? On his health?
These questions are key to defining not just what makes a father, but also what makes a human being. As Kermyt Anderson notes in an interview with Wednesday Martin at Psychology Today, “Every human culture is characterized by male involvement with their children. At some point in human evolution, men started to provision and actively provide care for their children. Some scholars say that's the stage at which we stopped being apes and became human.”
For more on the book, check out Peter Gray’s interview with the Boston Globe, a scientifically minded review of the book over at Parenting Science, a piece by the authors at The Chronicle Review, or this quick overview at DadWagon.