Evolutionary explanations of human aggression (Sexual jealousy (Paternal…
Evolutionary explanations of human aggression
Focus on the adaptive nature of behaviour. E.G. Modern behaviours are believed to have evolved because they solve challenges faced by our distant ancestors and so become more widespread in the gene pool.
Those who used aggression successfully against competitors would have been more successful and getting mates so therefore passed on the genes
Puts (2010) believes that male traits imply that competition with other males did take place among ancestral males.
For example men have 75% more muscle mass than women ( Lassek and Gaulin,2009), are far more aggressive than women and are more likely to die violently (Buss,2005).
Anthropological evidence shows that, males have thicker jawbones, which Puts believes may have come from men hitting eachother, with the thickest bone men surviving and passing on their genes.
Paternal uncertainty: Men are hardwired to seek as many sexual partners as they can as women look for those with the strongest genetics
Male aggression can be the result of sexual jealousy or paternal uncertainty (Archer, 2013), unlike women men are never completely sure that their children are actually their own- so they are at risk of
The risk of cuckoldry is that a man might unknowingly invest his resources into a child that isnt his own, the adaptive function of sexual jealousy is to prevent their mate from sexual infidelity
and Dobash (1984) studied
women and concluded that sexual jealousy is the result of 17% of all cases of murder in the UK, men are usually the perpetrators and victims
Aggression in warfare
An evolutionary explanation leads us to expect that any behaviour linked to warfare would have evolved because of the benefits to the individual and their offspring
Livingstone Smith (2007)- Claims that human warfare originated to obtain valuable resources and attract mates and form bonds within groups
Women find displays of aggressive behaviour attractive so therefore if there is an absence of this aggressive behaviour then the individual is less likely to attract a mate as it shows they can't protect the female and her offspring
Support for the link between aggression and status
Anthropological evidence shows that many tribal societies give increased status and honour to men who have committed murder (Daly and Wilson, 1988)
Campbell, 1993 found that this is also evident in the US where the most violent gang members have higher status
This shows that male aggression is not only the result of gaining status but it is also directed to those who challenge or threaten someones status
Gender differences in aggression may be better explained by socialisation
Prinz (2012) argues that differences in aggressive behaviour may have evolved from socialisation differences. For example parents were more likely to physically punish boys if they did something wrong whereas for girls they would explain why they are in trouble. (Smetana, 1989)
This may be why females use other forms of aggression through destroying someones self esteem or social status, suggesting that aggressive behaviour hasn't evolved to deal with rivals, but that females have developed a different form of aggression
Aggressive behaviour may not always be adaptive
Violent behaviour can result in social ostracism, injury or death, for example violent males may be rejected as mates and warriors may die in battle
So therefore it may be considered more
adaptive than adaptive in some cases
Gender bias in evolutionary explanations of aggression
Evol expl for physical aggression in warfare demonstrates a gender bias as they don't reflect women. Adams (1983) claimed that the idea of women warrior is unheard of in some societies
Women face a higher risk of loss (fertility) if they die in warfare and also are unable to get as physically fit as men