Relationships Full A01


Describe evolutionary explanations of partner preferences (6)

Sexual selection (Darwin, 1871) refers to the process through which males and females attempt to maximise their chances of reproductive success. As part of their reproductive behaviours, males and females will use different mating strategies (intra-sexual and inter-sexual selection) to secure a mate and also pass on desirable attributes to future offspring.
Intra-sexual selection refers to mate competition and is the favoured mating strategy of males across most species. It involves members of one sex, competing against each other to attract members of the opposite sex. The focus of this mating strategy is very much on a quantity over quality approach that can further be explained through anisogamy - the differences in the availability of sex gametes. Males have unlimited sperm available and so are more likely to compete with other males for fertile women to enhance their reproductive success. Dimorphism occurs as a consequence of this since the traits which have allowed the males to be victorious are then passed onto their offspring also.
Inter-sexual selection on the other hand refers to mate choice and is the favoured mating strategy amongst females. It proposes that both sexes have evolved to prefer certain traits in one another and so will seek out these characteristics when selecting a mate. Since females only have limited reproductive opportunities they are more selective in their partner choices and will seek genetically fit partners who are able and willing to provide resources for both her and the offspring. Anisogamy can also explain this strategy since women only produce one sex cell each month they would stand to lose a lot more than a male if the relationship were to breakdown. Trivers (1972) explains that women invest more time and commitment before, during and after birth and therefore chooses to use a long term matins strategy in hope that that her partner choice will shows potential to be a good parent.
Males also show distinct mating preferences that would involve casual sex. As part of a short term mating strategy sex would be sought as early as possible in the relationship to minimise the length of time between getting together and intercourse. This can explain why males are more likely to lower their standards prior to sex than lose interest quickly after sex. Men have therefore evolved to prefer females who display signals of fertility, such as an optimum waist to hip ration, youthfulness, such as clear complexion, bright eyes & hair and attractiveness, such as baby faced features, facial symmetry and large breasts.

Describe self disclosure as a factor affecting attraction (6)

Psychologists have identified several factors that influence whether or not ( and how much) we are attracted to a potential partner. One of them is self-disclosure. Self-disclosure is the revealing of personal information about yourself. Romantic partners reveal more about their true selves as their relationship develops. These self-disclosures about one’s deepest thoughts and feelings can strengthen a romantic bond when used appropriately. In the early…


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