Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 26 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Life history theory (LHT) and sexual selection are two prominent and active areas of research in evolutionary biology and psychology. LHT attempts to explain how between- and within-species variation in maturational and reproductive patterns are structured by ecological conditions, whereas sexual selection attempts to explain between- and within-sex differences in intersexual mate choice and intrasexual competition for members of the opposite sex. These two expansive evolutionary theories have been used by developmental scientists and social-personality psychologists to explain the variation observed in human reproduction, including the timing of reproductive events across development as well as individual differences in psychological and behavioral orientation toward mating and parenting. Herein we propose that synthesizing these two approaches could lead to a more complete understanding of the development and expression of human reproductive strategies. To facilitate this synthesis, we review theory and research related to LHT and sexual selection in humans. We then show how integrating the principles of sexual selection with life history models of human reproductive strategies can address the major limitations of each perspective. Finally, we discuss unique propositions that emerge from this synthesis and review preliminary supporting evidence. This synthesis is needed to move the field toward a coherent "big picture" understanding of variation in human reproductive strategies.

Keywords: reproductive strategies, life history theory, sexual selection, intersexual mate choice, intrasexual competition, human reproduction

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.