Sample Anthropology Essays on Evolutionary Psychology

Evolutionary psychology

It is human nature to quest constantly for explanations as to the existence of sentient beings and their transformation through growth and development. Such ideologies have contributed to the modelling of human behaviour to suit particular theories, most of which tend to correlate with evidence derived from animals. The assumption being that they belong to the class of mammals and they share a commonality in their psychology. The sexual division of labour contributes to the correlation between human beings and other mammals, especially concerning behaviour.

The sexual division of labour recognises that duties and tasks are predominantly linked with an individual’s sex. Therefore, there are roles meant for men while others are reserved for women. The duties shape the men and determine the behavioural patterns. In most cases, the roles are akin to those found in the animal kingdom (Miller and Kanazawa 45). For instance, a lion will hunt while the lioness catches and shares the prey.

Predominantly, the lion’s duty is to propagate the species. Such a simple duty observed by animals is replicated among sentient beings because; the role of males in society is to propagate (Buss 178). For instance, men are viewed as hunters while women are considered gatherers. However, with the overarching intelligence of humans, the response extends beyond mere propagation of species.

However, this does not critically imply that division of labour based on sex can determine a person’s behaviour. Ideally, the women in the society will target resources that are not in conflict with reproduction and childcare. On the contrast, men will target resources that females cannot retrieve with ease.

The logical aim for such an approach is the creation of a pair of resources with whose availability both man and woman can survive. The predominantly male and female roles end up defining the behaviour and character of an individual. For instance, the role of provision for the household initiates a responsible behaviour because of the obligation to the family.

However, with varying economic conditions and the need for sustenance especially among children, different eras prompted men and women to overlap their roles. A striking exemplary is the case of the Victorian era where women were required to carry out double roles. They would execute activities traditionally left for the men.

Nonetheless, the women did not acquire behavioural patterns similar to those of men. The ultimate implication is that division of labour based on sexes influenced the daily activities of a person, but it did not determine their behavioural pattern. While people can adopt some behaviours based on routine and repetitive roles, their inherent behaviour and character are not linked to the labour division.

However, ancient scholars and contemporary persons almost share equal behavioural traits. For instance, in a strong capitalist society, men and women both have white-collar jobs with equal or demanding responsibilities. Their behaviour is shaped and defined by their job descriptions as opposed to personal choice. For instance, a gentle man and lady who work in the real estate will have similar behaviours and hobbies. Their duties will define the secondary behaviours and traits.

The division of labour regarding sexes overrides the inherent cognitive ability of human beings which plays a primary role in the determination of individual behaviour (Buss 183). Ideally, human beings are rationale entities that base their decision regarding logic. The logical approach is controlled by their subconscious self and cognitive ability. For instance, a utilitarian approach to life will control the behaviour of a person because they will be aligned to demonstrate character based on the gains they acquire from it. Thus, despite a decision being logical, the utility it brings to an individual will also determine their character.

Infant resemblance also attempts to justify evolution based on evidence from animals. The underlying assumption is that genetic composition of an individual will determine the behaviour of the offspring. For instance, a young elephant or ape will behave in a similar manner, as is the case with the parent. Infant resemblance precludes to the assumption that an offspring cannot have different traits or behaviour from the mother. While the morphological and physiological approach will always remain similar among parent and the offspring, there is no guarantee that the behavioural traits will remain unchanged.

Albert Bandura postulated the theory of social learning in which he indicated that human beings are in constant interaction with the environment. Therefore, they tend to draw their behavioural traits from the interaction within the environment. The social learning theory credits human behaviour to the immediate society.

Ideally, a young elephant born and raised among antelopes will behave like the latter and not the biological mother. The social learning theory falsifies the assumption that infant resemblance plays a role in the determination of behavioural traits. Similarly, the young elephant though with a pure physiological resemblance to the mother will only adopt similar behaviour because of living within the same environment with other elephants.

Therefore, the static approach is the fact that there exists a constant and steady interaction with the society, which influences individual behaviour. Similarly, a child raised in a violent neighbourhood is bound to display delinquent behaviour.

There are several aspects that determine and control the behaviour of an individual. However, sentient beings appreciate the influence of cognitive ability and social environment in sharing their behaviour. The question revolves around the magnitude of influence of either cognitive ability or the environment in shaping and determination of behaviour.

Cognitive behavioural theory advocates for character based on a logical basis as is deemed relevant to the person in question. Since intellectual levels will vary from person to the other, cognitive ability is not standard; hence, human behaviour cannot be similar. Aspects that will appear logical to one person may prove fallacious to another. However, an infant’s intellectual capacity is not fully developed to discern between morally correct and incorrect behaviour.

This does not mean that they are devoid of character. The question is what drives them to behave in a particular manner. Is it infant resemblance, the sexual division of labour or external elements? The answer seems to validate the use of the social learning theory because children learn through imitation and copying those within their immediate environment; hence, their behaviour is a replica of the society.

As such, the society determines what makes their persona. Ideally, the genetic composition does not guarantee similarity in behaviour between infant and parent. Otherwise, perennial honest people would always bring forth children with similar traits, but each being comes out unique in their right. The uniqueness is an indication of the influence of the society and the cognitive ability to play among the children.

In conclusion, the sexual division of labour is a false analogy of determining individual behaviour, especially linking it to evidence derived from animals. Predominantly male chores are executed with men because of their difficult, design, and expectations derived from the society.

In fact, a division of labour based on sexes is a reflection of the roles bestowed upon men and women by the society. Ideally, no chore is exclusively labelled for men and women, unless controlled with physiological or morphological requirements. For instance, men cannot bear forth children, because their morphology does not allow them. However, either female or males can execute all duties that are devoid of such constraints. The differentiating criterion is the perception and expectation of the society.

For instance, the society will criticise a woman with loose behaviour and uphold a man with the capability to acquire several women. The action is not considered in isolation but with correlation to the sex of the individual; hence, the labels placed upon chores.

Consequently, infant resemblance is an account of genetic similarity and does not share behavioural transfer from parent to the child. Instead, children learn from the immediate society through repetitive copying and observation. It is false to assume that evidence-based approach to understanding human behaviour would solely be controlled with infant resemblance. While the physiological and morphological appearance will be similar, individual character traits will differ. A striking example is the case of identical twins with extremely different behaviour. The extremes of behaviour are a result of exposure to different societies or environment. Therefore, cognitive ability and social learning play a crucial role in the determination of individual behaviour as opposed to the sexual division of labour and infant resemblance.



Works Cited

Buss, David M. The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating. New York: Basic Books, 2003. Print.

Miller, Alan and Satoshi Kanazawa. Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters: From Dating, Shopping, and Praying to Going to War and Becoming a Billionaire. New York: Perigee Book, 2008. Web.