Parental Investment - Psychological study of Relationships

Trivers (1972) defined parental investment as anything a parent does for their offspring to increase the chances of that offsprings survival. This is at the expence of being unable to invest in any other offspring at the same time. 

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  • Created by: Marg
  • Created on: 18-04-14 13:56

1. What did psychologist Anderson (1999) discover?

  • 91 childless undergrads reported (no gender differences) they felt ready to become parents but measured their physiological responses males showed significantly increased heart-rate suggesting they're biologically less prepared than females
  • Using the a magazine survey completed by 2700 UK women estimated 14% of children in the UK are the result of extra-marital affairs and cuckoldry
  • Men would not discriminate against paying for their biological children and their step-children's collage education
  • Males are more jealous of physical adultery where as women are more jealous of emotional adultery and concludes that sexual jealousy has evolved over time as a way of preventing cuckoldry
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2. What is the best explanation for Anderson's findings using the parental investment theory?

  • Parental Investment theory is correct
  • The theory has it wrong and in real life men don't have a problem with cuckoldry
  • Investment levels may be due to desire for sexual intimacy with wife and promote own personal reproductive fitness as she would more likely remain and reproduce with him
  • Parental Investment theory only applies to young children

3. What is the Extent of Postnatal Male Investment?

  • Men have an evolved drive for sexual variation and therefore are less likely to commit to postnatal investment
  • Males provide resources for child post-natally
  • Great Extent
  • Equal to female postnatal parental investment

4. Why do Human Mothers Invest More Postnatally?

  • The human brain has evolved to triple its size over the last 2 thousand years
  • So male partners will provide food, security and shelter
  • To increase both their own survival and the survival of their genes in the gene pool as their children will more likely reproduce if alive and therefore they breastfeed etc.
  • Childbirth is very dangerous (only with reccent modern technology women stand a really good chance of survival)

5. Why do Human Mothers Invest More Prenatally?

  • human infants are born relatively immature compared to other animals so they would not survive if left to their own devices
  • Gametes are more costly and less numerous than male sperm so can only have a limited amount of offspring
  • In order to appear more attractive to males
  • Women are biologically less able to hunt and so raise children instead


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