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Discuss evolutionary explanations of gender

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Introduction

Transfer-Encoding: chunked Discuss evolutionary explanations of gender (8+16 marks) (AO1): According to the evolutionary explanations of gender, the reasons behind gender roles and characteristics seen today is due to the passing down of genes through natural selection from our ancestors who were able to successfully survive and reproduce over 500,000 years ago. Natural selection is the process of physical and psychological traits being passed down from one generation to another due to it being advantageous to survival and reproduction. For example humans with a wider hand shape were able to toss spears better when hunting and therefore were able to successfully survive and reproduce resulting in humans today particularly men having larger and wider hands. A stem of natural selection is known as sexual selection. Sexual selection is the process of passing down traits both physical and psychological that are an advantage for attracting mates for reproduction. The evolutionary theory for gender believes that due to sexual selection gender behaviours, such as females being child-rearing and males being workers occur. ...read more.

Middle

Therefore these characteristics were passed down in natural selection and can be used to explain why men today tend to be far more promiscuous than women. In females, during the evolutionary ages woman searched and preferred men with good resources and genes for themselves and their offspring. Evolutionary psychologists and Trivers believe that this is the reason for woman today being less promiscuous and being more careful when selecting a mate. (AO2): Support for Trivers Parental Investment comes from research carried out by Buss (1989) who sampled 10,000 males and females from 33 different countries and asked what they looked for in a partner for marriage. Buss found that women said they look for ?good financial reports? in men and men said they look for ?physical attractiveness? and ?younger females?. This supports Trivers theory as it provides evidence of woman placing an important on resources and men on physical attractiveness and young woman which may be in order for successful reproduction. Buss?s research was highly reliable due to the large sample used and various countries participating. ...read more.

Conclusion

However due to the study being carried on only undergraduates the results cannot be generalised to a wider population of older adults and elderly. This matters because although it provides evidence of the evolutionary approach of gender being seen today, we cannot be sure that the results given in this study was purely down to genetics rather than other factors such as individual differences. This suggests that more research must be carried out focusing on genetics in order to support Trivers theory as an explanation for gender. The evolutionary explanation of gender provides a valid approach to gender behaviours and characteristics which can be clearly seen today and supported in research. However this approach fails to consider other factors in gender such as psychological factors. For example women desiring men with wealth due to economic reasons such as less jobs, rather than the successful rearing of children. Also the evolutionary approach fails to provide an explanation for the promiscuity of women today or the men that do not want to have children. These situations are best explained by social approaches suggesting that a theory considering both genetics and social factors would be best in explaining gender. ...read more.

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