Buss: aims and context
Current mate preferences are of particular interest to Evolutionary Psychologists as they are thought to demonstrate what types of characteristics were preferred by our ancestors. They also demonstrate the current direction of sexual selection, by indicating who is likely to be selected as a mate. These mate characteristics that are heritable will appear more readily in subsequent generations, whereas individuals lacking preferred characteristics will not be selected to mate and therefore their genes will not be passed on. Buss believed that is is important to investigate which characteristics are valued by females and males to investigate the possible arguments for the differences in male and female preferences. According to Trivers, sexual selection is partly driven by different levels of investment males and females make in their offspring. In mammals, males make less investment as the female carries the baby;therefore females are likely to be choosier when selecting a partner. In particular, they would more than likely look for a mate who could offer resources. According the Symons and WIlliams, although mammalian females contribute more in terms of parental investment than males, females have greater limitations in their fertility; it is heavily affected by the age of the female. Therefore, the pressure on males to be able to identify a potentially fertile female is significantly attached to external cues which relate to the age and general health of the female. Males who fail to select females with these characteristics, would on average, leave fewer offspring than those who select females with these characteristics. In males, fertility and reproduction are less clearly associated, therefore it suggests that males more than females value youthfulness. Daly et al cite that sexual jealousy in males functions to 'guard' their mate from male competitors, even going as far to state that in humans many murders and much violence stems from...
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