Progress Post #1: Defining Sexual Selection and Establishing its Importance in Human Development

At this stage in my project, I have finished most of my biological research. I’m currently researching the psychological side of my literature review. I will post my second post after I have finished all the research and have an outline set in stone. Finding scientific articles online has been difficult but having books like the Mating Mind by Geoffery Miller has not only given me basic background on the subject but helped me narrow my search topics to find better results. It has also given me the names of people working in my area of interest.  For this post, I will include a rough outline based on the information I am currently working with.

Outline for the Paper

Initially, for my project, I wanted to write a review paper on the effect of sexually selected behaviors on happiness. While reading about the subject, I’ve decided to reword my question to ask if happiness reinforces or discourages sexually selected behaviors.   The behaviors I have chosen to put my main focus on are sports as a display of physical superiority, art as a display of manual skill and ornamentation, and charitable works. I will begin my paper by describing sexual selection in broad terms, initially using animal behaviors as an example because they are easier for readers to understand and accept. David J. Hosken and Clarissa M. House have an article that clearly explains sexual selection and how it is different from natural selection and I will be using their article in conjunction with The Mating Mind and Darwin’s The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. Then I will present the evidence that sexual selection is also present in human behaviors, including a counterargument using The Mating Mind. Finally, I will defend my argument that the emotion of happiness in humans either motivates or discourages sexually selective behaviors, also offering a counterargument. Then I will talk about the specific behaviors listed above. I will describe them and explain how they are sexually selected using The Mating Mind as my backbone and various other articles to support the claims present in the book. Then I will offer evidence on whether the behaviors lead to higher or lower satisfaction of life evidenced by an increase or decrease in “happy” hormones such as Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin, and Endorphins.