The relationship between sexual selection and human reproductive behaviour

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Psychology unit 3 relationships revision
The relationship between sexual selection and human reproductive behaviour
Description
Sexual selection is the process in which males compete for access to females in
order to pass their genes onto the next generation. Intersexual selection is when
the preferences of one sex determine the areas in which the other sex will
compete. Intrasexual selection is when males compete with each other for access
to females.
The sexy sons hypothesis states that females will choose the male who is most
likely to provide them with successful, attractive offspring. The handicap
hypothesis states that females will prefer males with a handicap as it shows that
they have good genes if they have been able to survive with that handicap.
In short term relationships, men will not be choosy as they will seek the females
who are fertile to maximise their chances of getting their genes onto the next
generation. Women will be choosy as any relationship will involve the risk of
pregnancy. In long term relationships, men will be choosy as they will have to
invest their resources so should choose the female who is most fertile so these
resources aren't wasted. Women will be choosy as they will want a male who is
willing to care for her, can protect her, show promise as a parent and involve
minimal costs.
Evaluation
A study involving Danish swallows gave some male swallows artificially longer
tails to act as a handicap. They found that these swallows were preferred by
females as they were the ones who had the most offspring compared to males
without the handicap. They also found that these males had fewer parasites than
males without the handicap which suggests they had better genes as they were
healthier. This supports the handicap hypothesis. However there are issues
generalising these results to other animals as we don't know if a handicap will have
the same effect in other species.
Grammer and Thornhill found that women prefer men who have larger check and
jaw bones. These men had higher testosterone levels and testosterone could be
seen as a handicap as it lowers the immune system. This supports the handicap
hypothesis and the results can also be generalised to other humans.
Buss did a study involving 37 cultures and 10,000 questionnaires. He found that
males and females both prefer to have partners that have traits of having a high
IQ, being caring and committed. Money and youthfulness were less important. This
shows that men don't always prefer younger women and that woman don't always
prefer men with loads of resources. This undermines the evolutionary explanation

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Psychology unit 3 relationships revision
into sexual selection. However because the study used questionnaires it is likely
that participants could have lied on them due to social desirability bias, as they
don't want to say what they really prefer in a partner.
Research found that women working in lap dancing bars got more money when
they were most fertile and this suggests that men can detect fertility and this
supports the idea that men prefer women who are most fertile.…read more

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