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Psychology-Parental Investment

'Discuss sex differences in parental investment'

Kate Saunders

on 19 November 2012

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Transcript of Psychology-Parental Investment

'Discuss sex differences in parental investment'
(8+16) Parental Investment Maternal Investment Greater investment for females may be because females produce far less eggs in her lifetime than a male produces sperm.
Greater investment for females can be explained in terms of parental certainty. Females are certain that they are the mother of their child, males cannot always be certain this may cause them to invest less. The costs of maternal investment For females the costs of offspring are particularly high. For our ancestors, investment for the female involved a 9 month pregnancy and years of carrying and feeding.
For males it was moments of copulation and a teaspoonful of semen (Symons)

This is an enormous difference in the potential maximum reproductive success of the sexes, random mating is therefore costly for females Main Assumption The sex that makes the larger investment will be more sexually discriminating in their choice of partner.
The sex that invests less will compete with other members for the higher investing sex. (Links to intra-sexual selection)
Human males can opt out of parental investment, females cannot.
Females will sexually discriminate and males will compete in our species (as in most) Joint parental care is desirable because if the high costs of successful reproduction, where men can increase the success of childbearing it will pay them to do so this means they restrict reproductive opportunities to invest more in each individual offspring.
Research has supported the claim that males contribute to parenting by providing resources. Thus the family can live in a healthier environment
This results in a decrease in child mortality Sex differences in jealousy Buss found that male students indicated more concern about sexual fidelity whereas female students expressed more concern about emotional infidelity. This is consistent with PI theory
This is further supported by physiological responses when students were asked to imagine scenes of emotional or sexual infidelity.
Harris found that men tend to respond physiologically to any sexual imagery which challenges Buss's research because the results achieved by Buss could be redundant. It also challenges the view that sex differences in jealousy are an adaptive response. Extramarital affairs Females want to ensure good quality offspring. So efforts are not wasted.
So they marry a man with resources and is caring but conduct affairs with men with desirable genetic traits.
There is evidence for this. From 2700 women in the UK. From this survey Barker and Bellis estimated that 14% of the population were products of extramarital affairs. This shows that women do try to achieve the best offspring possible. Parental Investment Why do males invest less?
A male can produce as many offspring as he chooses.
The male is not biologically obligated to carry the child he can simply walk away having fulfilled the task of fertilization.
Time and resources are much less costly for a man than a woman in terms of parental investment. Why do females invest more?
Human infants are born relative immature due to evolutionary adaptations of childbirth.
Females breastfeed their young and so are more burdened by this period of childcare that results from this prolonged immaturity Therefore females invest throughout pregnancy and through the post-natal period. Making a greater contribution to the offspring. When males do invest parentally and put their resources into the child, they are under the pressure of possible cuckoldry (investing in offspring that are not their own)
When a large investment is at stake
males will worry about their partners fidelity.
As a result they try to direct their care toward non-relatives, though adultery laws and such Sexual and Emotional Jealousy A man who's mate was unfaithful risks investing in offspring that is not his own.
And a woman who's mate was unfaithful risks the diversion of resources away from the family.

Evolutions solution to this is sexual jealousy and emotional jealousy.
Men are jealous of the sexual act to avoid cuckoldry and females are jealous of the emotional shift onto the other woman to avoid loss of resources. Poses different adaptive problems for males and females. Cuckoldry MAIDS Some have argued that the theory of mixed mating to ensure the best offspring is deterministic, as in real life cheating on a caring partner would induce remorse and compassion and would prevent us from carrying out the action.
Furthermore the theory doesn't take into account other non-adaptive reasons for someone to cheat, i.e- boredom, unhappiness etc
Also the study suggesting that woman do this was conducted in a western culture where it is considered more acceptable to cheat. In collectivist cultures it is much more punishable Some have suggested that the evolutionary perspective of parental investment is limited. And that males parental investment is purely situational.
Quality of mother-father relationship
Traits of the child
Some have found a correlation between the divorce of parents and the degree to which men invest in their offspring. MAIDS Are male attitudes to parenting more shaped by biological forces? Gether studied 91 undergraduates (non-parents) who completed a parental investment perception scale. There were no sex differences in the reports but their were clear differences in the ANS arousal to different parenting scenarios. Males showed increased heart rate when presented with the emphasized costs of parenting. This shows that perhaps males are less biologically prepared for parenting than females. MAIDS Conducting research into this sensitive area may be considered unethical. Questioning students about infidelity may bring back painful past experiences and cause psychological distress which is a major eithical issue with this research.
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