Outline Lecture 17 Conflict 1
1. Introduction to Conflict & basic concepts
- Beware the naturalistic fallacy
- Acquisition of resources: aggression as risky Hawk strategy
- Violence as deterrent
2. Sexual selection & reproductive variance: more variance in male reproduction
– Evolution of risk-taking: nothing to lose (e.g. some males, especially under polygyny)
– men more acceptable to have polygynous marriages.
– More adult men unreproductive. Men have both more winners (people with many
kids) and more losers (no kids).
– Variance is greater in males, more males failing to reproduce
– Choosing Risky Options:
– risky behaviour: of options with equal expected payoff, the riskier behaviour is
the one with greater variance in outcome
– e.g. Would you rather..
– a) receive 10 fitness units?
– b) flip a coin to receive either 5 or 15 units
-if individuals are likely to survive/reproduce without taking risks:
(e.g.) if need a minimum of 9 units to survive/reproduce
if risk succeeds, it may increase fitness
if risk unsuccessful, risk-takers lose what it would have gotten without
taking the risk
-if they are unlikely to survive/reproduce without taking risks:
(e.g.) if need a minimum of 14 units to survive/reproduce)
if the risk succeeds, risk-taker gets some fitness
if the risk is unsuccessful, nothing is lost because the risk-taker was unlikely to
3. Violence by those with less to lose
– Sex differences in violent conflict (males more physically violent)
– males are more violent, former english colonies affect this
– researchers have long sought such a society where women are more violent than men
– there are none.
– Close analysis reveals a male bias in violence alleged examples of sex-role
– there are cultural differences in violence, but males are more violent than women
within each society
– the age distribution appears to be universal also
– Universality of these sex differences
What are they fighting for?
-most homicides occur over “altercations of relatively trivial origin”
-these are social competitions between strangers or acquaintances
-status challenge, public insult or disrespect -rivalry over women
– Effects of unemployment and marriage
– men who are unemployed are much more likely to be violent.
– men who have currently succeeded in attracting a partner (married) commit fewer
homicides than men who have not succeeded in reproducing.
– Killers and victims are less likely to be married than other members of the population
– could this be because violent men are less likely to get married?
– Divorced men are just as aggressive (violent) as single men
– widowed men are pretty damn aggressive
– situation of being married is a predictor of not being aggressive
– Proximate mechanism: testosterone
– unmarried men have highest testosterone, married with no children have less, and
married with children have the lowest levels of testosterone.
– More time spent with spouse was associated with lower T levels
– Social & economic inequality
– Inequality: less to Lose, More to Gain.
– War in non-humans