Evolutionary explanations of human aggression - infidelity

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  • Created by: KCharlish
  • Created on: 22-05-16 11:33

AO1 Cuckoldry

  • Aggression in men has an adaptive value
    • experience sexual jealousy
    • invest their time, energy and resources on a child that is not their own
    • paternal uncertainty
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AO1 2 Mate retention techniques

Daly and Wilson

  • men have evolved different strategies to deter their partner from committing infidelity
  • Vigilence - checking partners phone
  • violence

Buss et al

  • developed strategies
    • direct guarding
    • negative inducements - control and prevent her from straying
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AO2 1 Shackelford

  • 460 men and 560 women in committed heterosexual relationshis
  • questionnaire 
  • women - partners use of retention techniques and how violent they are
    • Pos. correlation between men who use male retention techniques and their use of violence.
    • supports the link between the detection or suspicion of infidelity of a partner and jealousy and partner violence
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IDA Partner violence

Early predictor of partner violence

  • findings from studies can be used to alert friends and families of the danger signs
  • programmes delivered by probation services now tackle domestic abuse based on research findings
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AO1 Uxorocide

  • men who can give partners pos. reasons to stay are less likely to be violent
  • men who cannot provide such benefits are more likely to become jealous and violent
    • leading to unitended killing - uxorocide

Daly and Wilson - unintended outcome of an adaption intended to control rather than death

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AO1 4 Sexual jealousy

  • possible reason for homicide - link between infidelity and cuckoldry with men being biggest victims and perpetrators of murders.

Daly and Wilson - 

  • murders concerning love triangles 
  • 92% were male - male 
  • result of male jealousy
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AO2 individual differences

Buss and Shackelford 

  • cannot explain why males react differently when faced with the same adaptive problem
  • others may simply avoid the issue - leaving relationship or getting drunk 
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AO2 Gender bias

  • focus on males mate retention techniques and violence
  • Women have also been found to engage in mate retention techniques


  • women initiate and carry out physical assaults on their partner as often as men 

Family conflict studies - equal rates of assaults between male and females

Great deal of gender bias with this theory as they suggest most of the violence is caused by men when evidence suggests differently

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AO2 Reductionist

  • suggest aggression is due to evolved behaviours and responses - reductionist and oversimplifying
  • ignores the role of cognitive and evironmental factors
  • theory is flawed
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IDA Questionnaires

  • issue - use of surveys
  • Shackelfords data was gathered using questionnaires - social desirability bias
  • sensitive topic - may not admit using violence against partners
  • data unreliable
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