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EVOLUTIONARY EXPLANATION TO AGGRESSION
INFIDELITY AND JEALOUSY
The evolutionary approach suggests aggressive behaviour has been passed down from our
ancestors during evolution because it aided survival, reproduction and the passing on of
During evolution, humans needed to compete for someone to mate with this competition is
thought to lead to aggressive behaviour.
Males also had to be aware of cuckoldry [bringing up an offspring which was not their own]
because they did not want to provide their resources for a child that was not continuing
their gene pool.
Daly & Wilson claim that men have evolved different strategies to prevent their partners
from leaving or committing adultery [infidelity] such as violence. Such aggressive acts
grow out of male jealousy which resulted from uncertainty of paternity.
Buss suggested the mate retention strategies men use include DIRECT GUARD [by
restricting partner's sexual autonomy] and NEGATIVE INDUCEMENT [threats to prevent
Because sexual jealousy is a primary cause of violence [aggressive behaviour] against
women, those who are perceived by their partner to be threatening infidelity [i.e. looking at
another man] are more at risk to violence than those that do not.
Studies of battered women have shown in the majority of cases, women cite extreme
jealousy from their husbands as the key cause.
Wilson et al found that women who agreed with a questionnaire on things like `he is
jealous and doesn't want me to talk to other men' were twice as likely to have
experienced violence from their partners.
This supports the evolutionary explanation as it suggests sexual jealousy is a reason for
human aggression, which can have evolved from our ancestors need to reproduce and
Another method of mate retention is UXOROCIDE [wife killing]
Men confer benefits or inflict costs such as violence for mate retention. But not all men have
the resources to use as benefits, therefore resort to using violence [Shackleford]. But Daly
& Wilson suggest that UXOROCIDE is an unintentional outcome that was intended to
control them, not kill them.
The evolutionary explanation for aggression also tries to explain homicide with 3 possible
Lack of resources a homicidal study in the USA showed that 43% of the male victims
and 41% of the male perpetrators were unemployed.
ALSO, 73% of the male perpetrators and 69% of the male victims were unmarried.
These findings suggest it is a lack of resources and an inability to attract longterm
mates that lead to increased social competition and the aggressive acts of
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Loss of status Because humans evolved in small communities, status was
important. A lack of status would have meant a lack of reproduction. Through
evolution this feeling of status being important would lead to aggression such as
Homicide in order to maintain status.
Sexual Jealousy is a key motivator for same sex homicide. A summary of 8 same
sex killings involving a `love triangle' showed that 92% were male male whereas
8% were femalefemale.…read more