Psychology Essay PSYA3

Relationships, aggression and eating disorders

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  • Created on: 10-06-12 16:12
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Discuss and evaluate sexual selection explanation of relationships (9+16)
Sexual selection has two theories regarding its explanation. Inter-sexual and intra-sexual
selection is one theory. Intersexual selection means mate choice, it determines areas in which
the other sex must compete. For example, if tall men were the preference of quality, tall
men would be more competition against smaller and the tall gene will be passed onto
generations. Intrasexual selection is mate competition, this is when potential partners
compete and the victors pass on their genes.
The other theory for sexual selection explanation is mating preferences. This is divided into
two mating terms, short term and long term. Short term mating preferences is also known as
casual sex and is mainly used by men. Men have the ability to impregnate many and leave
whereas females are limited to how many times they become pregnant and cannot leave if
they are impregnated. Buss and Schmitt found that men usually lower standards in the
short-term mating and also show a decrease in attraction after sex. This suggests that
short-term mating is used just for casual sex and not a potential partner to pass on genes;
therefore quality preferences are less important. Long term mating, however, is when both
sexes invest heavily in their offspring. Men are more attracted to women with signals of
fertility as they are more likely to become pregnant. Females ­ in long term mating ­ require
more resources investment, protection, good parenting and ensured minimal costs. Also
partners have higher levels of choosiness in long term mating and they must possess
particularly good genes to pass onto offspring.
Buss conducted a study of 10,000 people from 37 different cultures and wide diversities and
found that women wanted men with good financial prospects, men placed importance of
looks and also wanted young mates but both wanted partners with intelligence, kindness
and who are dependable.
However, there is insufficient evidence for mate choice.
Low quality mates meant they would give unhealthy, unattractive offspring.
However, mechanisms evolved to ensure success in short term mating, let time elapse
before seeking sex and willingness to have sex with strangers.
This suggests the point made is weak as men who want short term mating have lower
standards which suggests high standards when choosing offspring traits therefore the
theory has validity.
Females mate choice varies across menstrual cycle.
Women choose more feminised looks for long term relationships.
However, for short term sex relationships, during high contraception risk, masculine looks
were preferred.
This suggests males increase in testosterone shows efficient immune system which is seen as
a good trait. This suggests that the theories lack validity as short term mating is based on the
partner with traits that are healthier to be passed on compared to long term mating
preferences. The importance of fertility is shown in the study with lap dancers, the lap
dancers who were at peak of fertility got more tips and those not at the peak.
There is Evidence supporting the theory that men want younger women.
Younger women have higher fertility and are also easier to control
However, Kenerick found that teenage males are most attracted to older women who aren't
easily controlled.
This suggests that mate choice lacks validity as indication of expressed preferences are not
what actually happens, however, many real life studies found men choose younger women
and after divorce they choose even younger.
The explanation is gender bias.
The theory expresses the fact that men want casual sex.
Men could never of evolved this desire without the willingness of women for casual sex.

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This suggests the studies are androcentric and there may be benefits from short term
mating.…read more

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Discuss and evaluate the social learning theory of aggression (9+16)
Social learning theory of aggression is explained through three theories. Oberservation, mental
representation and production of behaviour. Observation is when a child observes the aggressive
behaviour from parents or peers and imitates the behaviour. Children also observe and learn about
the consequences of aggressive behaviour by watching others being reinforced or punished.…read more

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This suggests that research findings are not Generalisable as there is contradicting evidence from
other cultures which lowers validity.…read more

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Discuss and evaluate the biological explanation for anorexia
There are two biological explanations for anorexia, neural explanation and evolutionary explanation.
Neural explanation has two aspects; neurodevelopment being one suggests that the season of birth
influences the development of anorexia. Those born in spring have a higher chance of developing
anorexia. Intrauterine infections and the temperature at the time of conception determine whether
the child will develop anorexia.…read more

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This struggle is explained `worried and uncomprehending family' and AN powerful biological urge to
avoid food and exercise.
This suggests the awareness of this influence can help treatment and encourage parents to be more
compassionate toward their anorexia child.
There is support for the delay in puberty.
Amenorrhoea is typically a characteristic of AN, means reproduction is effectively suspended in
female anorexics.…read more


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