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

Authors Avatar by ehremhhotmailcouk (student)

Discuss the Relationship between Sexual Selection and Human Reproductive Behaviour (24)

Intrasexual selection, also known as mate competition is when members of one sex compete for each other. The victors have their genes passed on as they are able to mate. The trait that lead to the success is passed on. This is mainly seen between males as it enables them to secure the best female.

On the other hand, intersexual selection is mate choice. It involves the preference of certain qualities. For example, if females prefer tall males, over time, there would be an increase in tall males. This preference determines the area of competition. Females must choose a male who will have high parental investment.

According to the parental investment theory, men evolved a greater desire for casual sex and seek sex earlier in the relationship, these are also characteristics of short term dating. A man is more likely to impregnate a large number of women as he has an unlimited amount of gametes. This then further results in the male being able to pass on his genes more. Therefore, in terms of choice, the male will look for a female who is fertile, this shows her reproductive value. Fertility is indicated by youthfulness, symmetry and waist to hip ratio.

Dunbar et al conducted a study looking at four American newspapers with over 900 personal ads reviewing mate preference. Women offered youth and physical attraction, while men offered financial status and resources. Each sought what the other wanted supporting the sexual selection theory. The issue is, this study is only based on Americans, which means it suffers from cultural bias. In addition, kindness and intelligence was rated in higher importance from both sexes, this does not fit with the sexual selection theory.

Join now!

Furthermore, Singh et al found men preferred waist to hip ratio of 0.7 across cultures. This is a typical hourglass figure and a sign of fertility which further supports the sexual selection theory.

In addition to this, Thornhill et al found that symmetrical faces were sought by both genders and that symmetry was a sign of strong genetic fitness and strong resistance supporting the sexual selection theory. Women also sought men with masculine features while men preferred women with childlike features such as large eyes, small nose, good teeth and full lips – these are all indicators of good ...

This is a preview of the whole essay