Discuss one or more evolutionary explanation of group display in humans: Warfare

  • Created by: EClou
  • Created on: 31-03-16 08:52

AO1 - explanations of group display in humans: War


  • it is adaptive for groups to fight in wars as it increases reproductive success by reducing competition and gaining access to/resources e.g. mates/food/territory
  • individual benefits = raised social status/more resources/less competition from other men
  • war = evolutionary in 3 ways: 1= sexual selection - women find displays of bravery/agg. more attractive and therefore war = evolved due to female preference - suggested by Palmer + Tilley - male street gang members have > sexual partners than other young males as = more risk-taking/agg beh = more attractive to women then other males
  • 2 = kin selection - Hamilton - inclusive fitness = indirect + direct fitness whereby you take risks to prioritise safety of relatives that aren't your offspring as they will still carry your genes further than you. dying in war  to save kin in the group is more adaptive than you surviving and kin dying - espec due to incr. relatedness in EEA
  • 3 = aquisition of status - peer respect gained through war bravery incr status --> better access to resources/mates + strengthening male bonds --> more sharing of resources = incr. group success
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AO2 - explanations of group display in humans: War

  • ++ Chagnon (1968) - Amazon Yanomamo tribe - successful warriors had most wives + children  - young men who hadn't killed = rarely married - inter-village fighting --> abduction of women - incr winners' mate access. shows that war incr. access to resources for group and inc rep. success + indigenous hunter-gatherer soc. = good model for early human soc - similar to EEA pressures BUT = poor hist. val./large untestable assumption of human pre-history = pseudo-scientific + speculative - can't be extrapolated onto modern warfare
  • ++ modern study by Kelly + Dunbar (2001) suggests bravery required in group displays eg warfare evolved due to female pref. for brave risk-taking males - found: men = aware of female pref for risk-prone brave males over risk-averse non-brave males. male bravery = stronger factor influencing choice of short-term partners + male friends - suggests risk-taking = gd cue for gd genes + risky males > likely to protect well in danger
  • ++ (K+D) - Farthing (2005) - women only prefer risk-taking males if risk was heroic/altruistic - explains why riskiness in war persists even if survival is reduced  - good support for evolutionary theory explanation for group display in warfare
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AO3 - explanations of group display in humans: War

  • Cultural Bias: - doesn't explain cultural diffs in attitudes to/prevalence of agg - e.g. some cultures require male agg to attain soc. status - others like !Kung San condemn it - agg will damage reputation --> lower rep success - therefore theory doesn't account for beh in all cultures - 
  • Alternate Theory: - in cultures such as our own men have been shot/jailed for not fighting - ppl see others are punished for not fighting and rewarded with medals/honour is they do fight = SLT - vicarious reinforcement  - would explain !Kung San 
  • Ethics: - justifies unacceptable beh. eg warfare being normal in human beh. and adaptive for rep. success - even used to explain/justify **** in warfare = socially sensitive as science if being used to validate unacceptable beh.
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