Sexual Selection & Human Reproductive Behaviour

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  • Sexual Selection
    • Anisogamy
      • The differences between male and female sex cells (gametes)
    • Inter-sexual selection
      • Preferred strategy of the female - quality over quantity. women have a limited number of ova so want to reproduce with males that have desired characteristics (eg) height
    • Intra-sexual selection
      • preferred strategy of the male - quantity over quality. competition between males to reproduce the most offspring, lack post-coital responsibility as female carries the baby.
    • Research support - anisogamy
      • Buss (1989) carried out a survey of over 10,000 adults across 33 countries about attributes that revolutionary theory predict should be important in partner preference and found that females valued resource based characteristics (financial prospects) and males valued reproductive capacity (looks).
    • Research support - inter-sexual selection
      • Clark & Hatfield (1989) sent male and female students out on a uni campus and were told to stop and ask "I find you very attractive. Would you go to bed with me tonight?" the found that 0% of females said yes whereas 75% of males said yes. Shows that females are choosier in heterosexual relationships.
    • Ignores social and cultural differences
      • Due to social changes over time such as women in the workplace, gender roles have changed and in this case women may not be dependant on men to provide for them. Chang (2011) compared partner preferences over 25 years in China and found some were the same and some changed depending in correlation with social changes.


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