It takes two: sexual strategies and game theory

David Buss’s Sexual Strategies Theory is one of the major evolutionary psychological research programmes, but, as I try to show in this paper, its theoretical and empirical foundations cannot yet be seen to be fully compelling. This lack of cogency comes about due to Buss’s failure to attend to the interactive nature of his subject matter, which leads him to overlook two classic and well known issues of game theoretic and evolutionary biological analysis. Firstly, Buss pays insufficient attention to the fact that, since mate choice is a cooperative decision, what is adaptive for the two sexes individually is irrelevant to the evolutionary explanation of our sexual strategies; instead, all that matters is what is adaptive given the choices made by the other sex. Secondly, Buss does not pay enough attention to the difference between polymorphic and monomorphic evolutionarily stable states in his attempt to empirically confirm his theory. Because of this, the data he presents and analyses are unable to show that natural selection is the most important element in the explanation of the origins of our sexual strategies. In this way, I try to make clear that, at least as things stand now, Buss has failed to provide compelling grounds for thinking that Sexual Strategies Theory can make a major contribution to human psychology
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1016/j.shpsc.2009.12.004
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
David M. Buss & Martie Haselton (2005). The Evolution of Jealousy. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 9 (11):506-507.

View all 6 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Daniel M. Hausman (2005). 'Testing' Game Theory. Journal of Economic Methodology 12 (2):211-223.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

21 ( #137,372 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #369,877 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.