Mating Mechanisms Essay

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A psychological mechanism is defined as an adaptation of human behavior that evolved due to evolutionary pressures. This paper focuses on the psychological mechanism of human mating strategies and the evolution of mate preferences. There are several theories to explain how differences in male and female mating strategies developed. This paper explores the parental investment theory, male mating effort as well as the role of different adaptive problems faced by males and females. The traits that humans find attractive in a partner are the ones that confer a reproductive advantage to the individual (Buss, 1994). Early in the literature there is evidence to support the theory that males and females differ in their mate preferences in such a way that males are unselective while females are choosy (Darwin 1871). However, there are also similarities in what each sex finds attractive. It is important to look at how these mating strategies evolved and why adaptive mate preferences continue to exist. Parental investment is proven to be one of the main causes of gender differences seen in mating strategies (Kenrick et al. 1990). Parental investment is defined as the extent to which a parent sacrifices their own needs to invest in their offspring (Kenrick et al. 1990) and correlates with mating strategies in that the sex with the most invested is choosier. In human populations, because the parental investment for a female is longer than for a male, females tend to be choosier when deciding on a mate (Trivers, 1972). This is evident in the study by Clark and Hatfield who designed an experiment where college students were asked to consent to three questions ranging from a date to having intercourse (Clark & Hatfield, 1989). The results showed... ... middle of paper ... ... effort is also considered because there is still evidence that in certain species the parental investment theory is not fulfilled. Therefore, males that invest more in mating effort develop increased male mate preference. Finally the last key factor is the difference in adaptive problems that each sex has had to overcome. For males, they evolved strategies to ensure their genes effectively get passed on to the next generation as well as behaviours to enhance paternal certainty while females had to develop strategies that select for the males with the most resources. This is evident today through what males and females find attractive in potential mates. While males look for youthfulness and ability to reproduce females look for wealth and strength. However, both sexes also show similarities and find partners that are symmetrical more attractive. It is important to
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