Questions and essay plans



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QUESTIONS AND ESSAY PLANS

1. Describe and evaluate the evolutionary explanation for aggressive behaviour. (25 marks)


Paragraph 1 Introduction
Outline the main evolutionary forces that shape behaviour—principally, perpetuating one’s genes but also survival in order to live long enough to reproduce.

Paragraph 2
Outline the different parental investment that is made by males and females (i.e. much greater for females), and the consequent behaviours that offer the best chances of passing on genes—females fussy; males promiscuous. Also outline the issue of parental certainty—women are sure they are the parent of any child they rear, men are not. Don’t labour these points (cover them briefly) because you need to move on to aggressive and other behaviours.

Paragraph 3
Outline the jealous behaviour of women (may be aggressive towards other women who threaten their relationship) and the jealous behaviour of men (may be aggressive towards other men if they attempt sex with their partner).

Paragraph 4
Now evaluate these explanations. Don’t attempt to do this in one paragraph—organise the evaluation so it covers the next three paragraphs. In this one, discuss the lack of scientific validity: The explanations are post hoc and lack empirical evidence and predictive power.

Paragraph 5
Move on to the reductionist and deterministic nature of the explanation and describe each of these.

Paragraph 6
Alternative explanations—consider the issue of social norms offering a better explanation.

Paragraph 7
Consider the plausibility of the explanation. In this paragraph you can cover positive as well as negative points since some of the arguments are plausible whilst others are less so.

Paragraph 8
If, and only if, you have time you can consider the evolutionary explanations for rape and evaluate them. It doesn’t matter, however, if you don’t have time—you can afford to omit this. What you should NOT do is describe explanations for rape before you have evaluated the previous explanations or you will have too much AO1 and not enough AO2.

Paragraph 9
Conclude by saying that however plausible the evolutionary explanations for aggressive behaviour, they do not fit the scientific model; they do not fulfil Popper’s criteria for what constitutes a science. Although evolution is a fact, the evolutionary explanations for specific social behaviour of humans remain speculative. Many other approaches, such as social learning theory, offer explanations based on more empirical evidence.

2(a). Outline one biological and one social psychological explanation of aggression. (9 marks)





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