Evolutionary explanations of human aggression

  • Created by: EloiseMay
  • Created on: 22-03-18 22:28


Sexual jealousy: Males are never sure an offspring is theirs. This paternity uncertainty is caused by cuckoldry - having to raise an offspring that isn't their own. Investing into this offspring is a waste of resources, it increases the survival chances of the genes of tha actual father and means the male has less resources to spend on their future offspring. Males that avoided cuckoldry were more reproductively successful. Psychological mechanisms like sexual jealousy increase anti-cuckoldry behaviours. E.g. aggression to retain partner - this was adaptive in our evolutionary history.

Mate retention strategies: Wilson and Daly. Direct guarding e.g. checking whereabouts, it involves male watchfulness over partner. Negative inducements e.g. issuing threats of consequences for infidelity. Wilson found that women who reported mate retention strategies in their partne were twice as likely to have been physically abused by them. 73% seeked medical attention and 53% said they feared for their lives.

IPV: Shackleford - 107 married couples married for under a year. Males completed Mate Retention Inventory and females completed Spouse Influence Report. There was a strong positive correlation between men's reports of mate retention strategy use and women's reports of IPV. Men who used guarding were more likely to use physical violence against partner.

Bullying: It is caused by a power imbalance - the more powerful person uses aggression against the less powerful person. Our ancestors may have used it as a strategy to increase survival chances. Volk argues that characteristics associated with bullying are attractive to




Very clear layout, so helpful! Thank you :)

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