Sorry for the late post I completely forgot we had to do a conclusion, but anyway…

Finishing my research and paper I found the theory of sexual selection was heavily criticized from its origin due to misunderstandings of its mechanisms (especially mate choice) that stemmed sexism (male biologists didn’t like the suggestion that females chose their mate by judging the males). Due to this sexual selection was never considered as an explanation for behaviors that seemed counterproductive for survival. Behaviors such as sports, art, and large-game hunting (seem during prehistoric times as an altruistic activity as the meat was shared among the tribe) can generally be best described as sexually selected behaviors (hunting is kinda both) as they benefit reproductive efforts more than they benefit survival efforts. What is confusing is that these behaviors begin to appear before sexual maturity and continue even after mating occurs. Why?  There is plenty of correlational evidence that shows happiness is derived by engaging in these activities.  I argue that happiness works to motivate individuals to engage in these behaviors which leads them to become talented enough to draw in a mate. I admit causational studies, which is hard to design and enact for this question, are needed to solidify this argument. Another possible reason for early and continued engagement in these activities could be Zahavi’s concept of “social prestige” where animals engage in actions that seem unnecessary or detrimental in order to earn themselves respect within their group which also brings about the respect of the potential mates in the group.

[Read more…]

Progress Post #3: A Very Rough Draft

Hello again,

So I have finished my rough draft. Just to reiterate my focus was whether happiness and enjoyment reinforce engagement in sexually selected behaviors. The behaviors I used as my examples were sports, art creation and viewing, and large-game hunting. Since these behaviors are not usually considered to be related to sexual selection I spent a substantial amount of my paper explaining how they can be viewed as sexually selected behaviors.  While I feel that my explanation on why these behaviors are sexually selected are solid, establishing causality between the behaviors and happiness seems to be impossible as I could only find correlational studies. This is understandable as I feel that a causational study that could cement my thesis would be hard to formulate due to the nature of my question.  Currently, I am debating whether or not to add a  paragraph about the lack of causational evidence available. I also feel like my focus is a bit unclear in my paper because I spend so much time talking about purely sexual selection and how the behaviors are sexual selection so I will be working on that. Under is an outline of my paper so far.

[Read more…]

Progress Post #2: Finishing the Research

At this point, I have finished all my research and formulated a thesis for my paper. I will argue that making and viewing art, participating in sports, and large-game hunting are all sexually selected behaviors in humans and that happiness increases when humans engage in these behaviors to ensure that reproduction occurs and genetic information is passed on. My next post will be during my paper writing process. I explained how I would establish that these actions are sexually selected in my last post. In this post, I will explain my research which will help me establish that these behaviors increase happiness.

[Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]