• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss the relationship between human reproductive behaviour and sexual selection.

Extracts from this document...


Psychology Essay. Discuss the relationship between human reproductive behaviour and sexual selection. An important feature of most sexually reproducing species is that males are more brightly coloured than females. Darwin believed the reason for this lay in female choice. If a particular characteristic becomes a universal preference among females then those males possessing the best examples of it will be picked. This pressure encourages competition. This is a basic sexual selection that any trait that increases reproductive success will become more exaggerated over time. The nature of sexual selection can be found in gender-speciifc criteria. In our evolutionary past, men who selected mates low in reproductive capacity (older, less healthy females) enjoyed a lower reproductive success than those who chose females with high reproductive capacity and vice versa. Also those females who selected males who were unable or unwilling to invest resources in them and their offspring enjoyed lower reproductive success. But since women have to make greater investment in offspring they are more choosy about a mate. This female choosiness (intersexual selection) means males have to compete with eachother (intrasexual competition) ...read more.


As a result the males evolve larger testicles, ejaculate more and have faster swimming sperm. An example of this is chimpanzees. But gorrillas are monogamus, as they have only one partner. There is reduced competition and have small testicles in relation to their body size. Male humans have medium sized testicles suggesting there was some competition so females must have had multiple partners. Sexual selection is often related to physical charateristics. Sexual dimorphism (physical differences between the sexes) can help bring about a female's choice. The size differences between males and females suggests our species evolved under a polygynous competition (one male and many females), with more intense male competition, Martin. In relation to facial characteristics, the more neotenous (child-like) a females face is universally the more attractive they are perceived. Males faces with such features as string jaws and larger noses comes across more attractive. Facial symmetry is important as it is associated with the absence of harmful mutations. Sexual selection has also been linked to mental evolution. In many species neophilia (love of novelty) is linked to sexual selection. ...read more.


This further conforms the reproductive success hypothesis. The view that human behaviour can be explained in terms of selective pressures is by no means universally accepted. We know very little about the EEA. It is likely human nature has continued to evolve in the intervening 10 000 years, given huge changes is our social and physical environment. Indicators are a good genetic quality, but can be faked easily. Red lipstick and collagen to make lips look fuller and therefore female to look younger can be seen to deceive males. In the animal world, the best indicators are those that are "handicaps" because only a characteristic that is costly can be reliable. If it is not costly it can be easily faked, and offspring of such matings will not increase fitness. In humans faial symmetry is a good indicator as it is diffecult to fake. Support that humans are more promiscuous than monogamus from Baker and Bellis suggested a worldwide median rate that 9% of fathers are not actually genetically related. It was also indicated that 29% of people admitted to cheating. But we should not overlook the majority of people did know who their father was and majority of people have not cheated challenges the idea. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Social Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Social Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Sexual Selection

    3 star(s)

    Again, in humans, this system if physical signals of the ability to provide resources, be healthy and have good genes are not all that reliable * We are capable of hiding the truth and giving off dishonest signals about our wealth, health and physical appearance - we have our hair

  2. Pro and Anti Social Behaviour

    There are however differences. Most importantly the arousal component of the arousal cost-reward model which makes this the motivating factor of helping behaviour. In the decision model, beahaviour is motivated recognition of an emergency and knowledge that help is the appropriate response. Cultural Differences in Pro-social behaviour Most of the research carried out into pro-social behaviour was conducted in the United States.

  1. Free essay

    ESSAY PLAN - Discuss the relationship between sexual selection and human reproductive behaviour

    On the other hand men valued physical attractiveness and women who were younger than them more than women did. This suggests that they were looking for qualities associated with fertility in line with evolutionary predictions. THIS WAS A LARGE SCALE STUDY WITH OVER 10,000 PARTICIPANTS WHICH GIVES IT CREDIBILITY, HOWEVER

  2. Discuss the relationship between sexual selection and human reproductive behaviour

    Another supporting study for the role of sexual selection in human reproductive behaviour comes from research carried out by Miller et al (2007) who found that the number of tips significantly increased when women where ovulating than went woman weren?t.

  1. Discuss the relationship between sexual selection and human reproductive behaviour (24)

    Both genders engage in behaviours that increase reproductive success. Evidence for sex differences in short term mating preferences comes from a study by Clarke and Hatfield. Men and women experimenters approached strangers on a college campus and told them they found them attractive.

  2. AQA A2 Psychology Unit 3 Relationships: The Relationship between Sexual Selection and Human Reproductive ...

    demanded wealth 4.5 times more often than men did. Supported by Campos et al (2002) who found as women aged their adverts became less demanding in their mate selection, whilst males became more demanding. However, Strassberg and Holly (2003) placed `female seeking male` adverts, differing slightly in wording, on personal bulletin boards on the internet.

  1. Discuss the relationship between sexual selection and human reproductive behaviour (24marks)

    It?s suggested that the older women are perceived to be more fertile than the younger, and therefore evolutionary theories would suggest that this makes them more attractive. However, as this study used surveys, like Buss? study, it is likely the individuals used may have answered false, because of social desirability bias; this once again reduces the reliability of the study.

  2. Discuss the relationship between sexual selection and human reproduction

    This assumption was also supported by further research who found that those who have symmetrical faces have 2 to 3 times more reproductive partners. This gives further weight to the idea that sexual selection and in particular symmetry in human reproduction.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work