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22 Cards in this Set

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Definition Of Sexual Selection(SS):

Sexual Selection: Process of natural selection & key factor underpinning human reproductive behaviour(HRB). Suggests evolution is driven by competition for mates.

NS & Key Factor

Sexual Selection (SS) Suggests...

-Evolution driven by compet. for mates & develop. of characteristics → reproductive success

-Evolution of character. give reproductive advant. rather than survival advant.

-Individs. survival not at stake but instead ability to leave more descend.

Evolution driven by ...

Evolution of characteristics

Reproductive Success

Reproductive advantage/ Survival adnvantage

Reproductive Success:

-Production of healthy offspring, survive maturity

-Have characteristics required to attract a mate & reproduce themselves

-healthy offspring

-with passed on characteristics

Theory of Sexual Selection(SS)


-Random mating is not adaptive

-Low quality mate

(unattractive/unhealthy) → poor quality offspring & reduces chance of successful mating

-"Joining Forces" with an attractive, high quality mate, individs. genes more likely to be passed on

Sexual Selection (SS) Continued...

-Individs. able to outcompete rivals→ pass on genes to future genera.

-Those outcompeted/undesirable charact. are unable to mate die out

This shows the powerful influence SS has on human reproductive behaviour

Intrasexual Selection:

-Same sex contest

-Individs try to outcompete each other → gain access to mates

-Charact. enable them to do this e.g. greater strength & cunning genetically passed on to future genera.

-Male Strategy- aggression

-Females are passive in this proccess

Intersexual Selection:

-One sex is competing for the attention of opposite sex

-Individs. evolve preferences for desira. quali. in opposite sex

-Those possess qualities (resources, attractiveness, status) have a mating advant. over...

- Females are active in this process

Sexual Selection & Long Term Mate Preference

Anisogamy :

Differences between male & female sex cells (gametes).

Differences lead to partic. character. being sought that indicate:

-good genes

-ability to produce healthy offspring

-successful reproduction by males & females in the mate selection process


Male gametes; sperm:


-highly mobile


-no shortage of fertile males

Female gametes; Ova:




-fertile females are rare resources

Sexual Selection of Long Term Mate Preferences Females:

Maximise chance of genes surviving by :

-choosing mate carefully

-lower reproductive capacity

-higher parental investment

-fixed number of eggs

-reproductive window 25-30yrs

-brief fertility window 1 a month, preg. for 9 months

Higher Reproductive Value

Females Continued

-Rely on external resources

-Need a mate willing to provide resources for her & offspring

Attracted to males with characteristics that show social and economic advantages → valuable resources

Prefer men:

-humorous & kind→ willingness to share & good parenting

- stay around & raise human infants easier with 2 parents

Sexual Selection and Long Term Mates Preference


maximise chance of genes surviving by:

- choosing an appropriate mate

-higher reproductive capacity

-lower parental investment (sperm replenished)

- no monthly fertility window & fertile for more years than...

Males Continued

Paternity uncertainty ( males nt sure infant is theirs)

- look for cues of sexual faithfulness in partners

-to avoid being cuckolded (cheated on)

Male seek indicators that the potential mate is fertile & and has a high reproductive value

Strng indicators:



-physical appeareance

E.G Singh found good :


-health & avoidance of serious health conditions

strong correlates with hip-2-waist ratio of 0.7

Sexual Selection and Long Term Mate Preferences

Male and Female:

Seek sexual partners that will produce healthy children

health & robust genetics:



-good teeth

-clear complexion

Research Studies:

Buss (1989)



-10,000 partici.

-37 cultures

-rate each /18 characteristics e.g (physical attractiveness, good financial prospects)

How important it would be choosing a along term mate

-Four point scale...

0 → Irrelevant 3→ Indispensable

Research Studies:

Buss (1989)

Findings & Conclusions

-Women preferred mates with good financial prospects (more than men)

reflects desire for men wth resources

-Men importance on physical attractiveness & universally younger mate than

emphasis on signals of health & fertility

-Both wanted

~ intelligence (parenting skills)

~ kindness (interest in long term relationship & willingness to share)

in potential mates

Research Studies:

Dunbar & Waynforth (1995)



-900 Lonely Hearts ads from 4 USA newspapers

- Sorted→Age bands & scored on how frequently talk about

~Physical attract.

~Wealth & status

~Family commit.

~Tolera. of children

~ Age requirem.

Research Studies:

Dunbar and Waynforth (1995)

Findings & Conclusions

42% men - 25% women ( sought younger mate)

44% men - 22% women (sought physical attract.)


-Men place importance on seeking characteristics that indicate health & fertility

-Women know these ae main charact. e.g advertise themselves in terms of physical attractiveness

- Men highlight economic status & hw much earned suggests men are aware women seek other characteristics


Nature / Nurture in Partner Preference


-Argued gender differences not due to sexual selection ( nature) ~but due to socialisation and culture (nurture)

- Bernstein argues

in many societies women denied economic & political power = tendency to rely on security & resources from men

- Supported by Kasser & Sharma found women in cultures where status & educational opportunities are low...

- valued resources in potent. mate> women with greater educational & financial freedoms

- However Chang et al (25 yr study - partner pref in China)

~ huge social change

Some pref. changed others remained

-Indicates mate pref. is mixture of evolutionary and cultural influences & any theory fails to account for integration of nature & nurture is limited

sexual selection / socialisation and culture

Bernstein - women denied...

→ tendency to rely on security & resources

Kasser & Sharma - women in low status & econom. power valued resources more

Chang (China huge social change→ Nature & Nurture)


Research Support for Anisogamy


- Evidence anisogamy may underpin mate selection in mod. day weste. society in comparative educ. & and financial equality from Clarke & Hatfield.

- Found when male / female approached by strange of opp. sex with invitation to go to bed them that night, 75% men said agreed, 0 women did.

- Even in society female can access own resources & contraception → sexual permissiveness, females still choosy & males less selective showing human reproductive behaviour driven by instinctive evolutionary pressures


Issues with Population Validity


- Evolutionary psychologists are mistaken & draw incorrect conclu. from research.

-E.g Buller claims major. of studies to determine female mate prefere. carried use female undergrads.

Expect status themselves through educat &income = prefer high satus & resourced men ∴instead of evolution seek male with simila. interests, educ, & prospects.

Claims evidence for universal female mate prefer for high-status men is weak/non existent

Studies on female undergrads

Expect to be...

Not evolution, seek male with similar...

Universal female mating prefer. weak/ non existeny

Mate Choice & Menstrual Cycle


mate preference varies during menstr. cycle

-found ovulating women were attracted to masculine face however preferred more feminised version of male face rest of time

-use mixed mating strategy

-female choose main male partner (feminised appearance) = kindness & parent. care but may copulate (sex) with more masculine (testosterone & strong immune) when likely to get pregnant.