Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford


  • Vibeke OttesenEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_2288-1



Filicide is the killing of an underage victim by a caretaker (i.e., genetic parent or stepparent). Filicides are conventionally categorized as infanticide if the victim is <1 year of age and neonaticide when the victim is killed <24 h after being born.


Evolutionary psychologists Martin Daly and Margo Wilson (1988) proposed the hypothesis that homicides, including filicide, occur in the context of reproductive conflicts. A reproductive conflict occurs when the fitness interests (i.e., interests pertaining to the potential number of offspring sired) one individual has come at a cost to the fitness interests of another individual. It may at first seem contradictory that there could occur reproductive conflicts between offspring and their caretakers, as they share the evolutionary significant interest in the offspring’s eventual reproduction. However, as the scholarly works of evolutionary theorists such...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Bioscience, Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES)University of OsloOsloNorway

Section editors and affiliations

  • Curtis S. Dunkel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWestern Illinois UniversityMacombUSA