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Masculinity and Evolutionary Psychology

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When attempting to explain something as intangible and complex as human behavior it is difficult to devise experiments that lead to conclusive results. Sometimes complex problems are easier to solve when they are broken down into smaller pieces or into simpler problems that are more approachable. Using human evolution to explain human behavior is such an example. Evolutionary psychology reaches for the roots of human development when they were in their most basic stages to explain why people behave the way they do. Specifically, explaining human masculinity through science has been a major focus of evolutionary psychology. This paper seeks to explain why masculinity cannot be explained by sociology alone and will present evidence that certain male behavior such as aggression can be explained through evolutionary psychology and sexual selection.

When considering the source of human behavior people often argue about how much human behavior is encoded genetically and how much is learned through interaction with society and the environment. This “nature versus nurture” debate arises frequently when discussing many aspects of human behavior. In an essay entitled “The Gender Blur: Where Does Biology End and Society Take Over,” Pulitzer Prize-winning professor of journalism Deborah Blum draws the conclusion that both nature and nurture must be taken into account to explain human behavior. Her conclusions are drawn principally from childhood behavior and her discussions with noted scientists. As a parent she observed that her son loved dinosaurs from the early age of two-and-a-half years old. However, she noticed that “he loved dinosaurs, but only the blood-swilling carnivores. Plant-eaters were wimps and lose...

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...odern male behavior.

Works Cited

Blum, Deborah. “The Gender Blur: Where Does Biology End and Society Take Over?” Signs of Life In the USA: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers. Ed. Sonia Maasik. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2000.

Crawford, Charles and Dennis L. Krebs. Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology: Ideas, Issues, and Applications. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1998.

Daly, Martin and Margo Wilson. “Darwinism and the Roots of Machismo.” Scientific American (2002).

Kenyon, Paul. “Overview of Evolutionary Psychology and Mating Strategies.” Human Behavior and Evolution Society. 2000. University of Plymouth. 4 Apr. 2000 .

Peterson, Dale, and Richard Wrangham. Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence. Mariner Books, 1997.
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