Evolutionary explanations for human aggression


Genetic mutations

Genes mutate - affects behaviour. Evolutionary explanation suggests aggression serves important function in terms of individual survival + reproductive success. 

Can help individual to fight for resources if in short supply. In case of male aggession, appear more attractive to femals as would appear storng. Would be attractive to women as would be able to protect offspring.

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Natural tendency

Argued humans have natural tendency for aggression + goes some way to dominance over other species.  Idea of men being agggression w/ other men similar to rutting of stags - siplay attributes + show off to females.

As aggression helps hain access to available resources, can be beneficial to man. Men who express aggression to woman may be less likely to attract a mate as women may see him as threat to offspring.

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Jealousy + infidelity

J provides eg of when aggression may be used to confer adv in evolutionary term. Potential threat to relationship, argued thay's why aggression displayed in behaviour.

Infidelity - threat to relationship + possibility of offspring from other union, as paternity of offpsring uncertain, whereas maternity is. 

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Evaluation - Strengths

Van Goosen et al (1995) found transgender women showed decreases in aggression & viso-spatial tasks, while transgender men showed the opposite, after hormone treatment.

Daley & Wilson (1988) a summary of 8 studies of same-sex killings involving ‘love triangles’ with 92% being male-male homicides.

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Evaluation - Weaknesses

Trickler et al (1996) found no differences in aggression after males were given weekly injections of testosterone or placebo.

Oversimplified a complex concept - Ignores alternative explanations, eg. cognitive approach - the changing thought process and maturation of the developing brain.

Deterministic - Aggression is excusable and beyond control. This has important consequences within the legal system within society. This makes the research socially sensitive and should be conducted with care.

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