Evolutionary Psychology – Violence

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This is an evolutionary, psychological summary on violence, homicide, and war. The summary intends to help understand these behaviors. Violence is an act intended to hurt, injure, or kill. Both people and animals display violent behaviors. Violence is a present characteristic of every human society. Examples of violent crimes include rape, war, homicide and physical injuries. In the 20th century, roughly 87,500,000 people have lost their lives as a result of violent wars (Liddle 24). Drug abuse and mental disorders contribute to violent behavior. However, serious crimes like homicide and war get triggered by factors other than substance abuse and mental illness. Evolutionary psychologists have come up with an approach to psychology, Evolution Psychological Mechanism (Liddle 25). This approach explains that human brains have domain-specific mechanisms, which help in developing survival responses to their problems. The mechanism registers stimuli which processes the information and generates an action.

Violence in animals is inevitable as predators rely on their prey for food. Scramble to feeding territories and scarce resources attribute to violence in animals (Liddle 26). There are two theoretical theories that explain violence in animals, sexual selection and parental investment theory. Sexual selection theory holds that selection affects not only the traits of survival but will also determine the reproduction potential. The theory operates on intrasexual competition and intersexual selection. The competition occurs when two males of the same species fight for an opportunity to mate. Parental theory occurs when resources get allocated to an offspring when there are other potential sources of resource. This theory predicts that sex displays a significant parental obligation mainly in the females who should be prevented from violence. This is because their death or injury will be costly to the society. The males should be involved in the risky competition as they do not have a significant, parental role. This risky competition brings about violence. Sexual selection and parental investment theories suggest that potential costs and benefits cause violence in animals. Violence among animals comes out as being functional and serves a purpose to solve adaptive challenges (Liddle 27).

The violent behavior in human beings is historical with archaeological evidence of human skeletons killed by weapons. The skeleton bones had arrow head and barbs. Ancient paintings and writing also give evidence of early human violence. Mating is the leading cause for violence among humans (Liddle 28-29). Male species face stiff competition for mating opportunities, and this explains why men are more violent physically compared to women. Violence in human is not on men only. Women also compete for men who they consider being important in terms of genes and power within the society. However, women do not indulge in physical violence but use other forms of violence like gossip and spreading rumors. Unfaithfulness has also contributed to increase in violence among humans. Family members even if they share the same genes differ in opinions resulting to conflict of interest, bringing about violence. Siblings tend to fight over parental resources and attention. This is likely to happen to siblings who are almost of the same age groups as their demands are similar. Everyone is unique and displays different characteristic traits. Everyone has a different violent behavior as some are naturally violent while others get it from substance abuse and other factors. Some individuals will display suicidal behavior while others inflict injuries on themselves. Cultural values contribute a crucial point in societal differences regarding violence. In most cultures, men become violent in defense of their status and reputation (Liddle 31-32).

Statistics indicate that violence causes death to more than one million lives annually and many more get physical and emotional injuries. This is as a result of suicide, homicide and war. The major causes of violence include poverty, gender inequality, drug abuse and unhealthy relationships between children and parents. Children who are victims of violence may grow to be violent or become drug abusers. They may engage in high risk violent behaviors like robbery and rape. A country with rampant violence cases has poor economic progress and investors shy away from them, thus increasing unemployment and poverty levels among its citizens. Violence can be reduced by mending the child parent relationship. Parents should avoid mistreating their children and should encourage positive behaviors as they grow. They should give them quality education that will guarantee them employment and a secure future. The community at large should advocate for gender equality and discourage violence against women among society.  Limiting access to fire arms and other items of destruction will help in eliminating violence.  Reducing the accessibility and availability of drugs and alcohol will limit intake and violence will reduce (Liddle 33). In conclusion, identifying violent people within the society and providing them with the required support will aid in stopping violent behaviors within the society.

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  1. James R. Liddle, Todd K. Shackelford, and Viviana A. Weekes–Shackelford. “Why Can’t We All Just Get Along? Evolutionary Perspectives on Violence, Homicide, and War.” Review of General Psychology 16.1 (2012): 24-36. Print.
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