Discuss the relationship between sexual selection and human reproductive behaviour in relation to the evolutionary theory (24 marks)

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Differences exist between the male and female reproductive behaviours and according to evolutionary theory, these are due to different selective pressures. Characteristics that indicate reproductive success are selected for our mates.

Dunbar and Waynforth found men valued physical attractiveness and youth in females, supporting the concept that males seek fertility and reproductive success in females. Females on the other hand value financial security in males to ensure they can support and provide for a family. These findings have cross-cultural strengths as Buss collected data from 33 countries. This suggests that these traits are genetically determined with an evolutionary value rather than a nurtured preference.

However, Bereczkel et al found that women actually want males that are more family orientated therefore are less concerned about resources therefore contradicting this theory of choosiness and human reproductive behaviour.

In addition, it has been argued that men prefer a youthful female because of social power. Younger women are easier to control and are therefore preferable as mates. But Kenrick et al found that that teenage males are attracted to females who were 5 years older. This therefore goes against the evolutionary explanation.

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Buss’s study also may not provide strong support for the relationship between sexual selection and human reproductive behaviour because answers they gained may be what they preferred but not what they had because they may have compromised.

However, another study conducted by Buss of actual married couples supported the original results that men do marry women that are younger than them, thus increasing the validity of this explanation.

According to Darwin selection processes shape are reproductive behaviours. Intersexual selection (competition between genders) is dominant within females, whilst Intrasexual selection (completion within the same gender) is more dominant in ...

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