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Psychologist suggests that aggression can be explained as a universal mechanism of the result of
sexual competition. Lorenz (1966) suggest that for humans and animals aggression performs a number
of functions, which these functions explains aggression amongst individuals and groups, such as
Female selection of the `fittest' male who would offer the greatest chance of survival for them and
their offspring, Survival of the young by aggression performed by parents and Balanced distribution of
species over territory.
Moreover the evolutionary theory explains sexual jealousy as a desire to keep one's mate in situations
of partner rivalry. Sexual jealousy has been found to contribute to aggressive action males being found
to engage more in aggressive responses. As it's a natural mechanism to prevent cuckoldry, hence why
men experience sexual jealousy, and females experience emotional jealousy as females need males for
Support for the claim that aggression is the result of sexual competition from the findings of Cascardi
and Vivian (1995) and Canary, Spitzberg and Semic (1998) as an association between sexual jealousy
and aggression in relationships was obtained by the findings of both studies. This increases the
credibility of the evolutionary explanations as aggressions by the result of trying to keep one's sexual
partner. However, these studies used selfreported techniques to obtain the data and these have
particular problems, especially when used in sensitive areas such as the one under investigation.
Answers may not be truthful because of the social desirability thus decreasing the internal validity of
the findings and consequently the credibility of the evolutionary explanation.
In addition, research in areas such as jealousy and aggression may be regarded (SSR), as these are
areas that are emotionally charged and difficult to face. Thus researchers in this area need to ensure
protection of participants. There are important ethical concerns with this type of research, which
require careful consideration. For example, it is particularly important to ensure complete anonymity
and confidentiality. Ultimately, researchers need to carefully consider the risk/benefit ratio of such
investigation before embarking on research of this nature.
Furthermore evolutionary psychologists argue that the act of infidelity is perceived as a threat to the
relationship and triggers an emotional estate.
It is claimed that individuals have evolved several different strategies to deter their partners from
committing adultery. Men can guard against their partner's infidelity either by conferring benefits or by
inflicting costs, including violence. As not all men possess resources that might be used to provide
benefits, some men are especially prone to using violence, or the threat of violence.
An association between aggression in relationships and the use of different strategies to deter adultery
was supported by the findings of a study conducted by Skackelford et al (2005). Over 1000 pps in
committed relationships were surveyed on their use of retention techniques and the degree to which
they used violence. Males reported on own performance whereas females reported on partners'
performance. The use of retention techniques was positively correlated with violence scores age or
relationship duration, made no difference to the reported trends. These findings clearly support the idea
that the purpose of violence in relationships is to keep one's partners.
An important application of the findings of this kind of research is that particular tactics of mate
retention used by males can be early indicator of violence against the female partner. An intervention
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However, research in this area may be regarded androcentric as most studies of infidelity have
focused solely on men's mate retention and men's violence against women. As a result, research in
this area focuses on male pps and the findings support beta biased explanations that are perhaps
erroneously applied to the general population. For example, although some women also engage in mate
retention tactics and sometimes behave violently towards their partners, this is nowhere near as
frequent as with males.…read more