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The basis of the evolutionary approach suggests every species wants to reproduce and pass on
their genes. Darwin came up with his theory of sexual selection and describes two processes
through which it takes place.
Intra-sexual: competition between sexes over a mate (normally males over females)
Inter-sexual: this form of selection involves the preference of one sex for members of the
opposite sex to possess certain qualities.
Males normally look for qualities that suggest fertility (youth and good health) men measure this by
women's physical feature such as smooth skin, good muscle tone and full lips. Whereas women
look for good genetics that would be passes on to her off-spring so they are more likely to
survive. Women also look for qualities that indicate he could provide for her and offspring.
Buss 1989 supports:
36 out of the 37 cultures suggested women will look for older males who will be able to provide
e.g. have money and resources. Men valued physical attractiveness and women that were
younger. This supports the predictions made by the evolutionary theory
Large sample 10,000 pps and done over 37 different cultures gives it credibility
The sample sizes were inconsistent; some countries had large sample sizes whereas
other had small sample sizes.
A criticism of using questionnaires is that people could give socially desirable answers to
avoid humiliation so data collected isn't reliable.
Other studies that support buss
Waynforth and dunbar (1995) `Lonely Hearts'
·Content analysis of personal ads in 4 newspapers
·479 male ads, 402 female ads
Men most likely to express preference for a fertile woman. Women were twice as likely as
males to advertise their physical attractiveness.
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- Females invest more time & energy into reproduction. Men can invest just a few minutes to
impregnate a woman. The woman has to carry the child for nine months and takes majority
responsibility of bringing up the child. Also women only have 450 eggs a lifetime where as men
have 1000 of sperm a day so they are more likely to be coy and exercise their choice where as
men want to impregnate as many women possible.…read more