Evolutionary Explanations of Human Aggression

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  • Men have evolved different strategies to keep their partners from comitting adultery
  • Cuckoldry and Sexual Jealousy
  • Men can never be certain if they are the fathers of their children; always at risk of cuckoldry.
  • Men might unwillingly invest resources in offspring that is not theirs. They may adapt functions of sexual jealosy to deter a mate from sexual infidelity.
  • Mate Retention and Violence
  • Buss says males have strategies for the purpose of keeping a mate which limits their autonomy.
  • Sexual jealousy is a primary cause of violence against women. 
  • Those at a percieved risk are more likely.
  • Studies of battered women show extreme jealousy n behalf of their partners.
  • Sexual Jealousy and Extreme Violence
  • Sexual jealousy is the single most common motivation for killings in domestic disputes in the US.
  • Sexual jealousy accounted for 17% of murders in the UK


  • Research Support
  • Study shows a clear relationship between sexual jealousy, mate retention strategies by ,ales and violence towards women.
  • Buss found that men who suspected their wives may be unfaithful over the next year exacted greater punishment for a known or suspected infidelity than men.
  • Finding is consistent with the claim that evolutionary psychology that mate retention strategies are evoken only when a particular adaptive problem is faced.
  • Practical Applications
  • Particular tactics of mate retention used by males can be an early indicator of violence against the female partner.
  • Indicators can be used to alert family and friends.
  • A Physiological Basis for Jealousy Based Aggression
  • Takahashi supported male sexual jealousy being linked to aggression
  • Neural response to imagined scenes depicted infidelity and emotional jealousy was different for men


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