What is the relationship between sexual selection and human reproductive behaviour?
Sexual selection is the complementary force in which humans (and animals) compete with each other in order to mate with the partner of their choice (the ones which poses the most adaptive traits) in order to pass on their genes, producing healthy offspring. There are two types of sexual selection: Intersexual selection is where there is competition between the sexes; females are choosey because they have more to loose: Intra-sexual selection, this is competition within males as females are scarce resource for which males compete.
Buss (1989) conducted a cross-cultural study (37 different cultures) and 9000 adults. The study was in the form of a questionnaire/survey. The findings were: females more than male’s valued earning potential (significant in 36/37 cultures), males more than females valued physical attributes (significant in 34/37 cultures), females more than males valued industriousness and ambition (which are clue to gain resources), males more than females value chastity, males prefer younger females than themselves, females prefer older males- they will be able to provide care for themselves and their off-spring. What this study shows is that it agrees with what the evolutionary theory says; males look for physical attractiveness as it is the sign of fertility (the female partner will produce healthy off-spring equalling to a higher reproductive value), whereas females look for resources because resources are signs that the male partner will be able to sustain the needs and requirements. However, caution must be taken when applying these results because although they support the theory and link the evolutionary approach with the human reproductive behaviour, the results were obtained via a questionnaire. The problems with questionnaires are that there is always going to be social desirable answers as every individual wishes to comply with the social norms....
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