Chapter

The Evolution of Altruism through Sexual Selection

Dennis L. Krebs

in The Origins of Morality

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199778232
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897261 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199778232.003.0019
The Evolution of Altruism through Sexual Selection

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The basic idea underlying the evolution of altruism through sexual selection is that altruistic traits that are a burden to survival can evolve if they increase animals’ reproductive success. It is in the reproductive interest of members of both sexes to mate with those who are disposed to sacrifice their interests to help them and their offspring, and there is a great deal of evidence that humans are attracted to mates who possess altruistic traits. Altruistic traits signal “good genes,” and constitute costly signals that indicate that those who posses them have been strong and vital enough to survive in spite of them. Although issues pertaining to sex are closely associated with morality in the minds of most people, psychological accounts of morality tend to neglect them.

Keywords: sexual selection; altruism; mate selection; costly signals; good genes; sex

Chapter.  5375 words. 

Subjects: Psychology

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