Evolutionary Roots of the Sex Difference in the Prevalence of Severe Anti-Social Behavior: A Literature Review.
It has been well-established that males exceed females in the most severe manifestations of
anti-social behavior. The biological and environmental causes of this sex difference has received considerable attention. However, the evolutionary roots of this behavior has received
far less attention. This review presented the evolutionary perspective on the reasons for the sex difference in severe anti-social behavior utilizing a life-history framework approach which is a branch of evolutionary theory that addresses the way organisms allocate time and resources to the various activities that comprise their life cycle.
Until recently this evolutionary perspective has received relatively little attention. Therefore there is a need to look beyond the proximal biologically-based mechanisms explanations for the massive sex difference in the severest forms of anti-social behavior, which was recently and comprehensively reviewed, and to consider their distal ultimate mechanisms.
Importantly, all adaptations have costs as well as benefits. Hence for a trait to be adaptive it does not have to be cost free, but it only needs to have an overall positive result for enhancing fitness. Also, although specific adaptations have proven successful in the past, they may not be as successful in the current environment.
As previously indicated, all life-history strategies involve tradeoffs. Thus, in the fast-slow continuum of life-history variation, there is the slow strategy of slow growth and late reproduction
that correlates with long life span, low juvenile mortality, higher parental investment but with fewer offspring of higher quality.
In contrast, the fast strategy of fast growth and early reproduction correlates with larger numbers of offspring, reduced parental investment in each but shorter life-span and increased juvenile
mortality. In short, for a child “the consequences of losing a mother very early in life are catastrophic”.
Psychol Cogn Sci Open J. 2016; 2(2): 49-53. doi: 10.17140/PCSOJ-2-114