Evolutionary explanations for partner preferences


Evolutionary explanations for partner preferences

Sexual selection:

RTS: Buss surveyed 10,000 people in 33 countries. They were asked to rate 18 characteristics & rank the characteristics. In 36/37 cultures financial aspects were important to women and chastity was more important to men. Men are older than women when couples are married. Supports the theory. 

- Study is reliable. Questionnaires were used, these are pre-determined & standardised. Other researchers can use the same questionnaire to see if results are consistent & follow the same trends. :)


RTS: Clarke and Hatfield (1989) instructed male and female confederates to say the following to students of the opposite sex on campus.​“I have been noticing you around campus. I find you to be very attractive. ​Would you go to bed with me tonight?” ​Males – 75%, females – 0 %​

-Study has high ecological validity, field experiment - setting is naturalistic. Since it’s a real-life situation & participants don’t know they’re in a study - they won’t change their behaviour (avoids demand characteristics. :)

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P: One weakness of the evolutionary explanations for partner preferences is that it can be criticised for determinism. 

E: This is because it reduces the behaviour of partner preferences down to simple basic units of biological influences (i.e intra-sexual selection) 

E: This neglects a holistic approach which would consider the social and cultural context of the behaviour, for example, homosexual relationships - which the theories don’t account for. 

L: Therefore, reducing the internal validity as it doesn’t consider the behaviour in context 

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