The origins of sex differences in human behavior: Evolved dispositions versus social roles

Alice H. Eagly*, Wendy Wood

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

876 Scopus citations

Abstract

The origins of sex differences in human behavior can lie mainly in evolved dispositions that differ by sex or mainly in the differing placement of women and men in the social structure. The present article contrasts these 2 origin theories of sex differences and illustrates the explanatory power of each to account for the overall differences between the mate selection preferences of men and women. Although this research area often has been interpreted as providing evidence for evolved dispositions, a reanalysis of D. M. Buss's (1989a) study of sex differences in the attributes valued in potential mates in 37 cultures yielded cross-cultural variation that supports the social structural account of sex differences in mate preferences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)408-423
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Volume54
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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