PSYA3 Psychology AQA Parental Investment

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Sex Differences in Parental Investment
Daly and Wilson ­ by expending a large part of reproductive effort on courtship and mating, males
of most species can devote rather little in parental care, in comparison to females
Maternal Investment
Females produce far less gametes (eggs) than what the male produces ­ higher investment for
High investment could also be due to parental certainty
Why we invest more
Due to size of skull, children born prematurely ­ unlike other animals ­ longer amount of time for
Also breastfed ­ greater prenatal contribution and more of a burden for investment and postnatal
Cost of maternal investment
Symons: Minimum maternal investment ­ 9 month pregnancy then years of feeding and carrying.
Minimum paternal investment ­ conception
Huge difference in potential maximum success of the sexes, making random mating costly for human
Paternal Investment
Significant difference ­ women have to wean child for years, whereas male can walk away at any
Goetz and Shackelford ­ indiscriminate mating could cost woman a great deal in time and resources,
whereas indiscriminate mating tends to be much less costly for man
Parental investment and cuckoldry
Whilst males invest parentally, also under pressure to protect themselves from possibility of
Miller human males make a considerable investment in their children, greater concern than females
about fidelity of mates
They try to ensure care of child is not misdirected towards nonrelatives (children that are not theirs
­ law term)
Sexual and Emotional jealousy
Possibility of infidelity different adaptive problems for male and female
Man whose mate unfaithful ­ risk investing in offspring not their own
Woman whose mate unfaithful ­ diversion of resources away from her and family
Sexual jealousy therefore evolved as solution to these problems
Men more jealous of sexual act (to avoid cuckoldry) whereas woman more jealous of shift in
emotional focus (and consequently resources)

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Consequences of greater investment by females
Extramarital affairs
Expense of childrearing means females want to ensure good quality offspring so they don't waste
One way to achieve is marrying man with good resources and caring but also shop around for good
genes through extramarital affairs with attractive men (good genes but no resources)
Accurate data for mistaken paternity notoriously elusive:
Baker and Bells some evidence from a magazine survey of over 2700 UK women ­ as many as
14% of population had extramarital…read more


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