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Psychology unit 3 aggression
Evolutionary explanations of group display in humans- warfare
This can be used to explain warfare because in the long run, warfare can aid
survival because larger territories would be needed to gain more resources. Also
if individuals didn't fight back they would have a lot higher chance of not surviving
an attack than if they did fight back. Warfare may also be caused by competition
for resources. It is also thought that brave individuals are seen as attractive.
Chimpanzees have been found to go to war with other chimpanzees. They minimise
the risk to themselves by attacking in large groups on a smaller group. They fight
because it will expand their territory meaning they will gain more resources so
they can produce more offspring and will be more likely to pass genes onto the
The role of bravery- men who take risks when it is worthwhile are the ones who
are seen as brave. This is attractive for females as those males are the ones who
will have the most resources. Overtime the group will become braver leading to
more resources and greater success.
Farthing surveyed whether men and women desired physical risk takers as
partners and found that only when risks were considered brave there was a
significant advantage in mate selection. This supports the role of evolution in
warfare as it supports the idea of aggression being attractive if it is used to get
resources. The attractiveness of bravery was also found to be present in all
cultures suggesting bravery is genetic as if it is everywhere it can't be influenced
Yanomamo tribe raid neighbouring villages to increase their access to women.
Modern warfare includes rape of women and genocide of men. This supports the
evolutionary explanation for warfare as it shows warfare is a result of
competition and rivals.
The evolutionary explanation is post-hoc meaning it's based on past events. This is
a problem as it is hard to directly test the past on humans so tests have to be done
on primitive tribes or animals. Therefore the evidence may not actually support
Deterministic as the explanation doesn't account for free will over whether people
go to war or not. In reality, there is some degree of free will as people can choose
to join the armed forces or not.