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Chapter 2

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Psychology 2075
Corey Isaacs

Psychology 2075 Chapter 2 Notes (Pg.23-45) Theoretical Perspectives on Sexuality Introduction Sigmund Freud creator of psychoanalytic theory E.O. Wilson leading sociobiologist Albert Bandura prominent social learning theorist John Gagnon proponent of script theory Evolutionary Perspectives Idea that some behaviours are a result of evolution is called sociobiology o Sexual behaviour is a form of social behaviour so sociobiologists argue that certain sexual behaviours evolved because they gave our ancestors evolutionary advantage o Sociobiologists argue that many of the characteristics we evaluate in judging attractiveness (ex. Physique) is indicative of the health and vigor of an individual which is in turn probably related to the persons reproductive potential o Natural selection would favour individuals preferring mates with maximum reproductive success so perhaps our concern with physical attractiveness is a product of evolution and natural selection o Sociobiologists may view dating, getting engaged as similar to courtship rituals of other species (an opportunity for each member of the prospective couple to assess the others fitness) o Parental Investment refers to the behaviour and resources invested in offspring to achieve survival and reproductive success of genetic offspring o It is said that natural selection is the reason why women can be sexually aroused in partners whom they dont find attractive (to avoid vaginal injury during unwilling intercourse to prevent sterility or death) o Darwin proposed mechanism of sexual selection selection that results from differences in two processes: Competition among members of one gender Preferential choice by members of one gender (usually females) for certain members of the other gender Males compete while females choose Criticism of Sociobiology Some critics object to the biological determinism that it implies It has been criticized for resting on an outmoded version of evolutionary theory that modern biologists consider nave Ex. It focuses mainly on individuals struggle for survival and efforts to reproduce; modern biologists focus on more complex issues such as the survival of the group and the species Sociobiologists believe that central function of sex is reproduction; may not have been true in past - probably not true today Sociobiology has a hard time explaining homosexuality Critics say if men look for women with high reproductive success, why are we attracted to females such as playboy models whose waist to hip ratio are much smaller than the average, the preference for a ratio of 0.7 which sociobiologists claim was hard-wired by evolution thousands of years ago Evolutionary Psychology Evolutionary psychology focuses on how natural selection has shaped psychological mechanisms and processes rather than on how it has shaped sexual behaviour directly If behaviours evolved in response to selection pressures then it can be argued that cognitive or emotional structures evolved in the same way so a man who accurately judges whether a woman was healthy and fertile would be more successful in reproducing, and if his offspring exhibited the same accuracy in judgment they would have a competitive advantage Sexual Strategies is a theory that females and males face different adaptive problems in short-term, or causal mating and in long term mating and reproduction (Buss) Short term: o Females want immediate resources (food, money) o Male wants sexually available female Long Term o Females want a partner who appears able and willing to provide resources for the indefinite future o Male avoids looking for such females when looking for a long term mate Buss also agues that men generally relax their standards when seeking a short-term partner (less education, honesty, emotional stability) while womens preferences change less than mens do when looking for a short term mate Buss and others have reported data that support a number of specific predictions based on this theory but other research using the same measures found that men and women were very similar in thei mating preferences (both prefer long-term mating strategies and few or no short- term partners) Another criticism of evolutionary psychology is that some of the characteristics we observe may be simply design flaws or side effects of other adaptions Research suggests that male sexual strategies change in response to personal characteristics and environmental contingenciesPsychological Theories Four major theories in psychology relevant to sexuality: psychoanalytic theory, learning theory, social exchange theory and cognitive theory. Psychoanalytic Theory Sigmund Freuds psychoanalytic theory sees sex as one of the key forces in human life so his theory gives full treatment to human sexuality He termed the sex drive or energy libidio, which he saw as one of the two major forces motivating human behaviour (the other being death instinct) Id, Ego and Superego Human personality divided into three major parts id basic part of personality present at birth, reservoir of psychic energy (and libidio), operates on the pleasure principle and therefore can be irrational ego operates on the reality principle and tries to keep the id in line, functions to make person have realistic, rational interactions with others superego is the conscience, contains the values and ideals of society that we learn and operates on idealism, its aim is to inhibit the impulses of the id and to persuade the ego to strive for moral goals rather than realistic ones These three p
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