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Church effort against incest led to rise of individualism in the West, study says

Church effort against incest led to rise of individualism in the West, study says

Science
Nov. 8 (UPI) -- When researchers set out to understand how many Western societies came to value individualism, they decided to look at historical shifts in a society's broader psychology. Specifically, researchers explored the ways shifting social structures influenced psychology and values of members. The West, scientists determined, was unique in its steady abandonment of incest. Incest, in this instance, primarily refers to marriages between cousins. Throughout much of the world, the practice was used to maintain broad family alliances and assert political and economic power, and to protect assets like land and other natural resources. In a new paper published in the journal Science, researchers argue that the Roman Catholic Church, in targeting incest, effectively shrunk family ties ...