Evolutionary explanation of aggression (EEA (Environment of Evolutionary…
Evolutionary explanation of aggression
Identifying which human psychological traits are evolutionary - the functional products of human selection/sexual selection in human evolution.
When organisms better adapted to their environment are healthier, live longer, and reproduce more frequently passing on the genes that made them reproductively fit, to their offspring.
A form of natural selection; individuals that are successful in attracting a mate out-reproduce others in the population.
EEA (Environment of Evolutionary Adaptation)
The conditions that prevailed in the environment at the time that species was adapting in response to.
Successful humans were best suited to their environment.
Evolutionary psychologists look at fossil records to try and the EEA and the type of behaviour that would be adaptive.
Try to match that behaviour to modern-day behaviours to argue it is determined through our brain structure.
How does this explain aggression?
Success is measured by the production of offspring that survive to reproductive maturity.
The EEA shows successful males were physically stronger and would be most capable of providing food, protecting their mates and offspring.
Naturally aggressive males who has their resources threatened would have had an adaptive advantage.
This gave the advantage in terms of mate choice, in which strong men were favoured by women for having good genes, and would be considered more successful for displaying aggressive traits --> competition for mates drives masculine aggression.
Female aggression --> an evolutionary disadvantage - spending time looking after vulnerable young children to ensure their survival - putting themselves and their children at risk of conflict. Female aggression led to being less physical and more verbal/emotional.
Infidelity and jealousy
to deter their partner from committing adultery, as the chance of passing their genes is reduced without a mate. This strategy enhances reproductive fitness, and is the result of male jealousy and paternal uncertainty.
: restricting freedom to prevent males from gaining access
: through personal belongings to find signs of infidelity
Different cultures use
(e.g chastity belts, infibulation, coming home unexpectedly)
occurs when a woman deceives her partner into investing another man's offspring. Females can be certain when a child is their own, males cannot. Therefore males are more concerned about the fidelity of their mates.
Sexual jealousy is supported by studies of battered women, where victims cite extreme sexual jealousy of partners as the major cause of violence against them.
Supports adaptive explanation as men are at risk of cuckoldry, not women.
Practical applications: use of male-retention strategies can be an early indicator of violence against females
Majority of studies focus on male-retention strategies but women also engage in tactics to retain their mate --> limited view of what actually happens outside the stereotypical image.
Real world application - mate-retention strategies seen as an
early indicator of potential partner violence
, value in alerting others to intervene before actual violence can occur.
Great deal of research support, for example Shackelford's survey of 461 men and 560 women found women who reported their partners frequently used mate-retention tactics were more likely to have suffered violent abuse from the partner.
Most studies of infidelity are
focused solely on men's retention strategies
and violence against women, but women practice retention strategies as much as men do. Our understanding of mate-retention strategies is
limited due to gender bias.
Social environment is constantly changing
, having flexible behaviour that is responsive to these changes would be more adaptive than having a fixed set of behaviours.
- this doesn't explain why some men react differently to the same stimulus.
Violence is not a universal response to sexual jealousy
, thus not completely evolutionary.