Sexual selection and Human reporductive behaviour.



Anisogamy: the differences between male and female sex cells (gametes).

Inter-sexual selection:

  • Prefered technique for females.
  • Quality over quanitiy.
  • Females make a greater investment and committment.
  • They opt for the male who can provide the best recources.

Intra-sexual selection:

  • Prefered techniques for males.
  • Quanitiy over quality.
  • Males compete for female attention.
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Eval: Research support

P: Buss's reaearch supports prefernce differences between males and females.

E: He surveyed over 10,000 adults in 33 countries and found that females placed greater value on resources whilst males valued reproductive characteristics such as youth and good looks.

C: However, this study does not take into account the social expectations that influence partner choices.

L: These findings show that males and females do have different prefernces when it comes to pontential mates. This research has good generalisability across cultures whcih suggest that these prefences are innate rather than a cultural influence.

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Eval: Research support

P: Clark and Hatfield (1989) conducted supporting research for female choosieness in comparison to male prefences.

E: They sent both male and female psychology students across a university campus to approach other students and ask them this: "I have been noticing you around campus. I find you to be very attractive. Would you like to go to bed with me tonight?" They found that, whilst 75% of the males approached accepted immediately, none of the females did.

C: However, this may be due to socialisation of girls and boys and the social expectations and influences placed upon them. This study also does not support how people choose longer term partners.

L: This does, however, support the assumptions that females are evolutionarily choosier than their male peers.

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Eval: Social and Cultural influences

P: Critics argue that this theory ignores the social and culural inflluences in partner prefences and norms of sexual behaviour  and how they have been changing.

E: This includes female roles, expectations and independence. Over the past centurys there have been many changes to norms and expectations, especially in terms of equality such as voting laws etc.

E: Bereczkei et al (1997) argue that these social chnages have had a direct and indirect effect on women's mate preferences as they no longer need to rely on men to provide for them. Chang et al (2011) compared preferences in China over the last 25 years and found that some had changes whilst others had not.

L: This is a limitation for this study bacause it suggests that evolution may not be the only thing influencing mating choices meaning it is an incomplete theory.

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