Discuss and evaluate evolutionary explanations of human aggression (including sexual jealousy and infidelity) (24 marks)

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  • Created by: Marco
  • Created on: 18-03-14 23:12

Discuss and evaluate evolutionary explanations of human aggression (including sexual jealousy and infidelity) (8+16)

Evolutionary explanations can be seen in sexual jealousy as an adaptive response to enhance the survival of their genes by passing onto their offspring. Males are prone to sexual jealousy as they experience paternal uncertainty and therefore do not want to invest resources into somebody else’s lineage; as a result male aggression has evolved to deter women from cuckoldry.

Daly and Wilson (1985) found a relationship between sexual jealousy and aggression. In an investigation of 214 murders, 58 of them had sexual jealousy as an underlying factor with 2 males usually competing over a female in a ‘love triangle’. 27% were motivated by sexual jealousy which indicates its prominence in aggression. Daly and Wilson’s study fits in with an evolutionary explanation because men use aggression to constrain females and result in greater confidence in their paternity, and a deterrent for possible rivals.

To highlight the success of this explanation, support comes from Bertram’s research into animals (1975) who stated that in some species, such as lions, kill the offspring of other males to ensure a higher likelihood of his own lineage with less rivalry from other lions.

Sexual jealousy as an evolutionary response has led to notable implications upon society and applications within the legal system. Men are often supported as the injured party in case of sexual jealousy and cuckoldry, and in various countries sex outside marriage is illegal & immoral. Males wish to ensure the survival of the fittest but can’t be certain that his children are his, so use any measures to protect his lineage. Bellis and Baker provide supporting evidence (1990) for this claim by finding only 7-14% of children are not fathered


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