Evolutionary Approach

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  • Created by: abirudd
  • Created on: 13-03-15 12:20
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  • Evolutionary Explanation of Gender
    • Evo Approach
      • Gender differences occur due to selective pressures in the past that shaped behaviour
      • The time of evolutionary adaptation (40 and 10 thousand years ago) is the most important - our ancestors were hunter gatherers
      • Gender differences are due to natural and sexual selection, the processes ensured behaviours which aid survival and reproduction are kept in the gene pool
        • Natural selection is for behaviours and bodily features which allow an animal to compete sucessfully for food or shelter to survive
        • Sexual selection is for behaviours that allow the animal to successfully compete for mates and to reproduce
      • Trivers - gender differences come from parental investment - increases the offspring's chance of survival at the cost of the parent's ability to invest in other offspring.
      • Behaviours leading to reproductive success are different for men and women and still exist today due to genome lag.
    • Evidence for Evo Approach
      • Human males are on average 1.15X larger than females - size and weight were characteristics that enabled men to compete successfully for females
      • Males show more aggression across nearly all cultures than women and are more likely to be convicted of a violent crime, so male aggression may have a genetic basis - testosterone
        • When women undergo a sex change they receive testosterone - Van Goozen at al found they had increased aggressive feelings after treatment.
      • Clark and Hatfield - attitudes to casual sex: 75% of men agreed to casual sex with an attractive female stranger, no females agreed to casual sex with an attractive male
    • Problems with the Evolutionary approach
      • Ideas can't be tested with scientific methods as we can't go back to the EEA to see how people behaved
      • Female choosiness can be explained by cultural pressures - in most cultures female chastity is coerced (maybe not adaptation)
      • Assumes male and female differences are to aim reproducutive success
        • Sternglanz and Nash - Males sleeping around doesn't aid reproductive success as offspring are less likely to survive ini EEA if they don't stick around
      • Explains unacceptable behaviour (rape) has 'natural'.
        • Thornhill and Palmer - rape is a tactic enabling men who can't reproduce with consent to be successful by resorting to sexual violence.
          • Why are some rape victims young children and older women (non-reproductive age)
      • Hagen - Out of date and ignores advances in archaeology and anthropology - evo psychologists should update their understanding


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