Reproductive Behaviour: Sexual selection

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  • Created by: 08rmorris
  • Created on: 11-04-15 11:48
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  • Reproductive Behaviour: Sexual selection
    • Explains certain reproductive behaviours
      • 1. Within a species there are certain characteristics that make individuals attractive to potential mates
      • 2. For example, female peacocks find the long, brightly coloured tails of male peacocks attractive
      • 3. Males with very brightly coloured tails are more noticeable to redactors. Those with very long tails find it difficult to escape predators
      • 4. However, as female peacocks are attracted to this feature, males with long, brightly coloured tails have a higher chance of reproducing  and passing on their genes
      • 5. This means that the characteristic evolves in the species even though it reduces their chance of survival
      • 6. This evolution of characteristics which are attractive to potential mates is known as sexual selection
      • 7. In humans, characteristics affecting attractiveness include physical and mental health and some physical feature
      • 8. These influence potential mates as they indicate ability to reproduce and provide for offspring
    • There are different types of selection
      • Intrasexual selection takes place when males compete (often aggressively) and the winner is rewarded with the female. The female is passive in this process - she doesn't choose her own mate
        • Sperm competition is a for of intrasexual selection
          • 1. Short's (1979) Sperm Competition Theory suggests that males are motivated t ensure that their sperm is  successful in fertilisation and compete against other males to make this happen
          • 2. In humans this has resulted in men evolving to release large amounts of sperm during ejaculation
          • 3. This is a form of intrasexual selection and increases the likelihood of successful fertilisation
      • Intersexual selection takes place when males compete for the attention of a female. The female plays an active role, choosing her mate
        • Buss 1989 carried out cross cultural research into intersexual selection
          • Method
            • Questionnaires were used to collect data from over 100,000 men and women from 37 different cultures
              • Covering demographic information: age, gender and marital status
              • Asked about preferences for variables such as marriage, age differences and characteristics of mate (intelligence, sociability, financial prospects)
          • Results
            • Women valued variables associated with gaining resources (money, safe environment) more highly than men
              • Men valued variables associated with reproductive capacity (e.g. youth) more highly than women
          • Conclusion
            • Historically, women have had limited access to resources needed to provide for themselves and their offspring
              • So they've evolve to select mates who can provide these resources
            • Men have been limited by access to fertile women
              • And so have evolved to be attracted to women with a high likelihood of reproducing
          • Evaluation
            • Supports an evolutionary explanation of gender differences in sexual selection
              • Similar findings were found across a range of different cultures
                • HOWEVER
                  • Wasn't truly representative as it is hard to include rural and less educated people
            • The study didn't take social influences on mate selection into account
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