AQA A Psychology PSYA3 Evolutionary explanations of human aggression

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Evolutionary Explanations of Human Aggression
Daly and Wilson ­ men evolve strategies to deter female partners from committing adultery
Range from vigilance, violence ­ fuelled by male sexual jealousy, adaption evolved to specifically deal
with threat of parental uncertainty
Cuckoldry and sexual jealousy
Men never entirely certain child is theirs ­ fertilisation hidden ­ risk of cuckoldry
Consequence ­ child not their own, investing in resources on a child not theirs
Sexual jealousy functions ­ deters mate from infidelity, lower risk of infidelity
Mate retention and violence
Buss ­ to keep a mate ­ restrict partner's autonomy, threats of threats ­ prevents straying
Sexual jealousy primary cause of violence ­ those perceived as more threatening to infidelity more at
risk of violence
Dobash and Dobash ­ in majority of domestic violence cases in women, jealousy on male's part key
cause of violence towards woman
Sexual jealousy and extreme violence
Daly ­ male sexual jealousy single most common motivation for killings in domestic disputes in US
Dell ­ 17% of murders in UK sexual jealousy
8 studies summary of love triangle samesex killings ­ 92% malemale murders, 8% femalefemale
Daly ­ detection/suspicion of infidelity primary cause of violence
BBC the Love Map ­ 1 in 10 females admitted to being unfaithful to husbands, although mostly
husbands being unfaithful
Sexual coercion
Goetz ­ men's perception/suspicion of wive's infidelity is sexual coercion or partner rape
Camilleri ­ sexual assault on female by male partner linked with perceived link to infidelity
Shields and Hanneke ­ female victims of partner rape more likely to report engaging in extramarital
sex than those not raped by partner
Violence toward pregnant partner
Infidelity sometimes leads to pregnancy ­ when child born, longterm mate risks investing in offspring
of another male ­ lower reproductive success
Violence towards pregnant partner is to try and terminate pregnancy eliminating potential offspring of
rival, leaves free to bear their own offspring
Uxorocide (wife killing)
Men guarding against partner infidelity by conferring benefits or inflicting costs, including violence
Shackelford ­ men possessing fewer resources more prone to becoming violent
Daly and Wilson ­ death of partner from physical violence may be unintended outcome of evolutionary
adaption that was designed for control rather than death

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Research Support
Shackelford ­ survey method testing evolutionary psychology concerning mate retention strategies.
461 men 560 women in US. Committed, heterosexual relationships. Males answered questions about
male retention, asked how often they performed 26 different types of violent act against partner.
Females asked about partner's use of male retention techniques and degree to which they used
violence against them. Men used two broad types of retention technique ­ intersexual negative
inducements and direct guarding) positively correlated with violence scores.…read more

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Limitations of evolutionary explanations of partner violence
Evolutionary perspective doesn't explain why people react differently when faced with same adaptive
Buss and Shakelford ­ cannot account for why different males respond in different ways when faced
with infidelity ­ some may be violent, some may kill, some may get drunk…read more


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