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What concerns men? Women or other men?: A critical appraisal of the evolutionary theory of sex differences in aggression

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This paper critically evaluates the evolutionary proposition that men's greater aggressiveness is the result of male intra-sexual competition. For this purpose we review and discuss experimental psychological and survey studies, as well as sociological and cultural anthropological work on gender differences in anger and aggression. The reviewed studies do not support the idea that men's concern for women, reflected in the salience of intra-sexual competition, is the major cause for male's supremacy in violence. On the contrary, we argue that the fear of losing status and respect in the eyes of fellow men is the major concern that evokes male anger and aggression. The implications of our argument for the evolutionary theory are discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 20 June 2001

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