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Discuss Sex Differences In Parental Investment

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Discuss sex differences in Parental Investment (24 marks)   The biggest and most apparent different in parental investment is that it is much easier for males to pot out o parental investment, than it is for women. Parental investment theory suggests that the sex that makes the larger investment (females) will be more sexually discriminating when choosing a partner. It also says that males, who are the sex that makes the smallest investment, have to compete for the highest investing females.   The investment made by females is considerably greater than the investment made by males. This may be because women produce much fewer eggs than males do sperm, therefor females have much fewer opportunities to reproduce than males. It may also be due to parental certainty, females definitely know that the child is theirs whereas males cannot be certain that a child is theirs. The higher investment by females may also be due to the act that the cost of childcare is far higher to women. ...read more.


  Having a child that is a product of an extra marital affair is also referred to as cuckoldry. There are benefits to cuckoldry, however there are also many risks. Benefits of cuckoldry include having a child that have good genes, but also having a partner that is both emotionally and financially supportive of, what they believe to be, their child. One disadvantage of cuckoldry is the possibility of abandonment if the women's partner was to find out. Daly and Wilson (1988) also said that there is a high risk of violence by the current partner towards the woman and the other male.   Commonly parental investment is significantly less than maternal investment. It is suggested that this is due to the act that males have to protect themselves from the risk of cuckoldry, investing in a child that isn't theirs. As a result of this they try to ensure that they do not misplace their investments into non-relative through things such as adultery laws. Sexual infidelity proposes different adaptive problems for males and females. ...read more.


This shows that evolutionary explanations of paternal investment are reductionist as they do not consider the number of different factors that may affect paternal investment. It also shows that overall the explanation on paternal investment is deterministic as it assumes that all men typically invest very little in their children because they are male and ignores the possibility that in some cases a father may be more investing in a child than their mother.   Parental certainty is used to explain paternal investment. However research has indicated that parental certainty is not always an issue for human males. Parental investment theory suggest that investment by fathers would always be greater if they knew that they child was biologically theirs. However some studies have contradicted this suggestion. Anderson (1999) measured the resources (time spent with child and financial support) invested by fathers and stepfathers. From his study he found that there was little difference in the investment men made in their step children and their own biological children. This shows that the parental investment explanation of paternal investment may not be credible as its main explanation, parental certainty, may not be a determining factor to the paternal investment made by males.     ...read more.

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