Gender Differences in Cognitive Abilities Essay

timer Asked: Apr 15th, 2019
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According to my essay plan, use the articles and handouts I provided to complete a 5-6 page critical essay to meet the teacher's requirements.

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School: Boston College



Evolutionary Psychology Critique

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Evolutionary Psychology Critique
Although the evolutionary psychological theory has received acclaim from many
scholars, it still faces many criticisms. The evolutionary psychological theory indicates that men
and women developed specific adaptations for mating and selection of a partner depending with
the physical and as well as the environmental pressures. Other theorists refute this standpoint,
especially social structural theorists who argue that the human mating and partner selection is
influenced by social phenomena. This paper presents a critique of the evolutionary psychology
theory as it relates to mating and partner selection in humans.
Main ideas of the standard evolutionary psychology theory
The evolutionary theory of psychology asserts that the psychological reasoning and
behavior witnessed among mates today is inherited from the past genetically, just as the
Darwinian theory of evolution indicates. It presents a similar argument indicating that both men
and women experienced different environmental, societal, and internal pressures that shaped
their attitudes and preferences for roles in the society as well as when looking for mates. As
such, the current social structures and mating behavior among men and women has been passed
on from ancient ancestors.
One major argument in this theory is that there is optimal reproductive strategy for
females, who become choosy to look for one partner and stick to that partner (class notes,
2/18/2019). The theory puts forth that men and women have evolved over time to have distinct
behavior in choosing partners such that men are promiscuous while women are choosy to stay
loyal to one partner. On the other hand, evolutionary theorists believe that males should have
optimal reproductive strategy to look for partners who are fertile (class notes, 2/18/2019).



According to the theory, men invest more in the development of the family lineage and thus seek
to marry women that look healthy and fertile. Another core argument put forward by this theory
is that the paleo life promotes social evolution (class notes, 2/18/2019). The paleo life refers to
the culture and lifestyle of communities in medieval ages. The theory argues that the communal
life of the ancient ancestors led to a scenario where culture was easily passed on to the children.
According to the evolutionary psychology theory, men and women have experienced
different pressures from both internal thoughts and external influences since the start of the
world, which then influenced these genders to adapt or develop certain mechanisms to survive
(Waal, 2002). The theory argues that the differing reproductive capabilities and status of men
and women is the core factor that determined how mating and partner selection was done
(Begley, 2009). The different social roles of both men and women also influenced their
adaptations to survive. The theory indicates that women have naturally developed to invest more
in the reproduction and caring of offspring, whereas men have developed to care less about
caring for offspring but rather provide for their families. According to the theory, this hard-wired
understanding from medieval times has challenged men and women to device mechanisms to
survive in the competitive mating world (Begley, 2009). Men look out for women that have
behaviors and skills of taking care of the young ones, whereas women tend to look for
financially stable men who can provide for their offspring.
The theory presents the evolution account of human behavior and preferences when it
comes to mating and partner-selection for both men and women (Waal, 2002). The theory takes a
Darwinian approach to explain human behavior. The author puts forward that the theory
emphasizes how genetics plays a role in human behavior and it is probable that the genetic code
related with partner selection and mating evolved over time to give a consistent trend in these



behavior among both gender (Waal, 2002). The theorist however admits that there is no known
correlation between the success rate of transferability of the behavior genes and the expression of
the genes in the offspring. Hrdy (1998) gives the example of the Hamadryas baboons, whose
males had to compete for females leading to only big and well-built males accessing the females.
This scenario led to a situation where females also preferred larger males. This genetic makeup is
then enshrined in the behavior of the members of the baboon family, just like it is the case with
Criticism of the evolutionary psychology theory
Traits being assumed adaptive
This section of the paper will criticize the evolutionary psychological theory based on the
element of traits being assumed adaptive. Behavior and traits being adaptive means that any
individual in the society is capable of showing certain behavior and is thus guided by genetics.
Both men and women have adapted differently such that there are equally many promiscuous
women as there are men, and the trait of choosing a partner is not genetically wired as in the past
(class notes, 2/18/2019). The class notes also indicate that, largely, being faithful among men
could be stated as a sign of being genetically enabled as opposed to promiscuity. This is mainly
because more men today remain faithful to their spouses and only few men continue to exhibit
Many female individuals tend to select a mating partner based on the external factors
pushing them rather than the genetic...

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Good stuff. Would use again.

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