O+E Relationship between Sexual Selection and Human Reproductive Behaviour

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  • Created by: EClou
  • Created on: 25-05-16 11:12

AO1 - sexual selection and human reproductive beha

  • Sexual selection =  any physical/behavioural trait that increases the reproductive success of an individual becomes more common in the population over time whereas one that doesn't becomes rarer
  • to extrapolate this onto HRB these behaviours must be genetically determined
  • due to different selection pressures on men + women they carry out different beh
  • E.g. of HRB effected by Sexual selection = mate choice - intersexual selection - one sex's preference for certain qualities of the other sex e.g. female preference for tall men results in a taller population. 
  • according to this men should mate w/ as many young/fertile/attractive women as possible to maximise their reproductive success + continuation of genes through many offspring. - little biological cost as millions of sperm made/day. women should be more choosy + pick men who can invest resources as women have greater biological cost/investment + resources promote lower pregnancy + child mortality - gene survival 
  • E.g 2 - intrasexual selection/mate competition males compete for mates - victors can pass on genes + losers can't - traits leading to competition success are passed on 
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AO2 - sexual selection and human reproductive beha

  • Strength:- Buss 1989 - found after studying 37 diff cultures including diversity of ethnic/religious/political/economic groups - women desired mates w/ good financial prospects more than men + men prioritise youth +physical attractivness (linked to fertility) - shows there are sex diffs - and that women want resources but men want fertile women  - no cultural bias + good sample size but lacks historical validity
  • Strength:- study showing women selecting sperm donors similalry value resources most
  • Strength:- Dunbar shows that homosexual beh. (a weakness) can be a strength - heterosexual women = 3x more likely to seek resources in partner than lesbians - lesbain Rs unrelated to reproductive success so sexual selection not a factor. but homosexual Rs = weakness of ev. theory as they aren't geared towards goal of reproductive success
  • Weakness: - other reasearching focusing on 'nature' side of 'nature-nurture' debate also explains HRB - e.g. may learn through cultural/social norms what's attractive - behaviourism - operant conditioning e.g. choose a partner your family/friends don't mock/hate = negative reinforcement - we won't repeat - equally good explanation for HRB as evolutionary theory
  • Weakness:- supported by real life- western cultures males value very slim women, e.g. african cultures value plumper women. in history - 1920s skinny women valued in 1950s hourglass women valued - not innate preferences from EEA - 
  • even Buss' findings could be explained by media influence + SLT
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AO3 - sexual selection and human reproductive beha

  • Gender Bias: - mate choice is apparently biologically inherent but in many societies women are punished for choosing more/younder sexual partners and therefore may choose not to be seen to have the same sexual preferences as men - 
  • due to gender inequality in most of the world women tend to have less fincanial/power resources + therefore mate selction = easiest way to achieve this - may be forced into this
  • if there were equal oppourtunites for women accross the world would mate selection be more similar/the same? - this may explain sex differences more than evolutionary theory
  • Speculative about the EEA - + we are no longer as controlled by selection pressures - + we now have free will due to larger brains + higher intelligence - more able to base decisions on morality/consequences/context of modern world - evolved preferences may no longer be relevant to actual behaviour
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