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Abstract HTML Views: 124 PDF Downloads: 69 Total Views/Downloads: 193
Online survey results for a university sample population indicated that both male (n=361) and female (n=764) participants had a mean desired lifetime fertility of 2.2 offspring. For females, desired fertility had a significant negative relationship with level of interest in life course goals associated with a rewarding career, acquiring fame, and making con-tribution to ideas and discoveries, but a significant positive relationship with the goal of inspiring others with one’s reli-gious beliefs. In contrast for males, none of these life goals was related to variation in lifetime fertility preference. We in-terpret these data in the context of the ‘transmission competition’ hypothesis—an evolutionary explanation for decreasing fertility in developed countries, where for females, gene transmission is limited by competition from ‘meme transmis-sion’, the latter represented in modern times by the pursuit and achievement of life course goals perceived as providing an enduring personal legacy. This accounts, we suggest, for the origin of the now popular ‘childfree’ culture. Attraction to accomplishment-based memetic legacy and the childfree lifestyle will eventually be eclipsed, we predict—again because of the effects of natural selection—by an emerging culture driven to a large extent by an intrinsic attraction to parenthood—‘parenting drive’.