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Discuss the relationship between sexual selectin
and human reproductive behavior.
The evolutionary approach argues that human reproductive behaviours
have been shaped by sexual selection.
In evolutionary terms, natural selection is the process by which certain
characteristics and behaviours get passed on in the gene pool because they
give the individual a better chance of surviving and reproducing. Sexual
selection is the process within natural selection where by any characteristic or
behaviour that increases the reproductive success of an individual are selected
and these characteristics may get exaggerated over time.
There are two types of sexual selection: Intrasexual selection occurs when
members of one sex compete for mates from the other. For example, males who
were large and aggressive were more likely to beat opponents and get to mate
more often with females and leave behind more offspring. This is because
males invest a lot less in offspring, since their part in reproduction is very
short and therefore the more promiscuous they are, the higher the increase in
their reproductive success. Males will also be concerned with looking for
females with qualities that suggest fertility.
Cunningham (1986) investigated what type of female faces are found
attractive by males. He found out men were most attracted to features usually
associated with young children such as large eyes , small nose and chins .
Also Buss (1989) Studied 37 cultures and found that females valued
qualities that suggested the financial potential of males, for example ambitious.
On the other hand men valued physical attractiveness and women who were
younger as this indicates fertility. These are both in line with evolutionary
This experiment has a good group sample that it studied 37 different
cultures. Therefore it may have high reliability and validity to generalise for
different societies and culture.
However, participants tended to be from high socioeconomic groups, and
so the study could lack in external validity (cannot generalise to lower
groups). The study may also lack internal validity, due to asking participants to
use self-report techniques. It is therefore possible that participants gave
socially desirable answers in terms of what they were looking for in a partner.
Furthermore, Bruse and Young (1998) have found that there is a
preference for symmetrical faces in both men and women. Therefore this
experiment corroborate the explanation of intersexual selection that increase
the validity of the theory
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And the second type is Intersexual selection occurs when one sex (often
females) choose which males to mate with. For example, females may prefer to
mate with males who have a greater amount of resources. This is because
females invest much more in their offspring, since they will have to go through
9 months of pregnancy, and can only have a small amount of offspring in their
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Therefore it might strengthen the validity and
accuracy of the explanation. However, this study have great deal of consistency
, because the wide range of the analytic studies ,which corroborate the validity
and reliability of the explanation.
However, The evolutionary approach could be argued to be reductionist,
since our reproductive behaviour must be governed by many other factors
including our upbringing and religion. It ignores social, cultural and moral