A mind of her own: The evolutionary psychology of women

Paperback | July 20, 2013

byAnne Campbell

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When Darwin proposed that females shape evolution by being choosy in their choice of male suitors, his Victorian contemporaries were shocked that he accorded so much importance to women. But this early view of the female role was far from revolutionary: They were simply allowed to be passive'quality controllers' of male genes.Recent years have shown that the inert 'coy female' is a myth. For a male, a high sex drive and a taste for variety may improve his fitness. But for a female, successful reproduction goes far beyond copulation. She bears the brunt of parental investment with each child represents years ofcommitment from pregnancy and breast-feeding to provisioning and guarding. For her genetic lineage to survive, she must do this better than her rivals. Each of us comes from a line of winning mothers. Women are, after all, the first and default sex. It is women who bear children. A child born witha single X chromosome can survive, but not one with a single Y. In a population crash, a female-biased population will survive far better than a male-heavy one. In this book, Anne Campbell redresses the balance of evolutionary theory in favour of women. She examines how selection pressures have shaped the female mind over thousands of generations: Their emotions, friendship, competition, aggression and mate choice. She brings together data fromneuroscience, endocrinology, anthropology, primatology as well as psychology to address fundamental questions about sex differences.... Why are women less aggressive than men? Were women designed for monogamy or promiscuity? What do women compete for? Why is conflict between males and femalesinevitable? What makes each woman unique? Have contraception and IVF subverted the process of natural selection?

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When Darwin proposed that females shape evolution by being choosy in their choice of male suitors, his Victorian contemporaries were shocked that he accorded so much importance to women. But this early view of the female role was far from revolutionary: They were simply allowed to be passive'quality controllers' of male genes.Recent y...

Anne Campbell is a Professor of Psychology at Durham University. After completing her D.Phil. on female delinquency at Oxford University, she worked in the United States for eleven years studying girl gang members and violent crime. Since then, she has taken an evolutionary approach to understanding sex differences in aggression, focu...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:448 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:July 20, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199609543

ISBN - 13:9780199609543

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Table of Contents

1. The essential woman: Biophobia and the study of sex differences2. Mothers matter most: Women and parental investment3. High stakes and low risks: Women and aggression4. Who does she think she is? Women and status5. Like a sister: Women and friendship6. But she that filches from me my good name: Women and mate competition7. A coincidence of interests: Women and monogamy8. Individual differences: The unique woman9. The flexible phenotype: Women and culture

Editorial Reviews

"A fascinating and intellectually deep tour of the evolutionary psychology of women. Campbell's book provides insights into some of the most profound mysteries of human nature... destined to become a classic" --David M. Buss