AQA A2 Psychology Unit 3 Aggression: Evolutionary Explanations of Human Aggression Notes


A2 Psychology Aggression Unit 3: Evolutionary Explanations of Human Aggression Notes

What You Need To Know:

  • Evolutionary Explanations of human aggression, including infidelity and jealousy
  • Explanations of group display in humans.

Evolutionary Explanations of Human Aggression:

From an evolutionary perspective, humans are most likely to survive if they have access to resources; they can defend their resources and protect their families; and if they can attract and gain access to mates.

Aggression in Males:

  • Males are motivated to acquire status since high status males have access to mates and resources for survival.
  • High status males are more likely to be selected by females since such males will be better able to guarantee the survival of her and her offspring.
  • Low status males have to engage in high risk strategies to enhance their chances of reproduction.

Research evidence

  • Daly and Wilson (1985) - a review of murders found that the motive behind most conflicts was status. The victims and offenders were most likely to be men of low status and without a mate (unemployed and unmarried). Most victims/offenders knew each other so understood the status of their rival. Those of equal status were more likely to resort to aggression to a bid to move their status above their opponent.

Aggression in Females:

  • Females are generally viewed as less aggressive since the costs of such behaviour outweigh the benefits.
  • It is more important for the mother to survive because her presence is more critical to the survival of offspring than the faster.

Research evidence

  • Hill and Hurtado (1996) - among the Ache of Paraguay, children are 5 times more likely to die if the mother dies, and 100% likely if this happens before the child is one year old.
  • Griskevicius et al (2009) have shown that sex differences in aggression exist for both direct physical aggression (men exhibit more) and for indirect, verbal and psychological aggression (which females make more use of).

Infidelity and jealousy:

  • A woman can be


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