AQA A2 Psychology Unit 3 Aggression: The Evolutionary Explanations of Human Aggression Notes

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A2 Psychology Aggression Unit 3: Evolutionary Explanations of Human Aggression Notes

What You Need To Know:

  • Evolutionary Explanations of human aggression, including infidelity and jealousy
  • Explanations of group display in humans.

Evolutionary Explanations of Human Aggression:

From an evolutionary perspective, humans are most likely to survive if they have access to resources; they can defend their resources and protect their families; and if they can attract and gain access to mates.

Aggression in Males:

  • Males are motivated to acquire status since high status males have access to mates and resources for survival.
  • High status males are more likely to be selected by females since such males will be better able to guarantee the survival of her and her offspring.
  • Low status males have to engage in high risk strategies to enhance their chances of reproduction.

Research evidence

  • Daly and Wilson (1985) - a review of murders found that the motive behind most conflicts was status. The victims and offenders were most likely to be men of low status and without a mate (unemployed and unmarried). Most victims/offenders knew each other so understood the status of their rival. Those of equal status were more likely to resort to aggression to a bid to move their status above their opponent.
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Aggression in Females:

  • Females are generally viewed as less aggressive since the costs of such behaviour outweigh the benefits.
  • It is more important for the mother to survive because her presence is more critical to the survival of offspring than the faster.

Research evidence

  • Hill and Hurtado (1996) - among the Ache of Paraguay, children are 5 times more likely to die if the mother dies, and 100% likely if this happens before the child is one year old.
  • Griskevicius et al (2009) have shown that sex differences in aggression exist for both direct physical aggression ...

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