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Venus and Darwin on a date

  • Jul 18, 1997
For the individualist, it's not easy to think of human behavior as largely a mass of strategies selected by evolution. Yet the evidence from several directions is impressive, if not entirely convincing in all respects. _The Evolution of Desire_ should play an important role in the popular science writing of our age, illustrating both the influence and the boundaries of evolutionary selection on human behavior. Both readable and well documented, _Evolution_ goes beyond simply interpreting modern behavior in terms of evolutionary stories. Buss also synthesizes massive amounts of data from far reaching and extensive cross-cultural studies to reveal the patterns in our attraction, mating, and separation behaviors. Notably, exceptions to the patterns are discussed at length. This aspect leaves the reader with a slightly better understanding of the limitations of strict evolutionary thinking than we find with the similar and also excellent "Anatomy of Love" by Helen Fisher. Human behavioral flexibility is emphasized, and our potential freedom from the patterns of evolutuionary selection, through knowledge of those patterns. Much of _Evolution_ will seem consistent with common experience, while some will be remarkable new food for thought. There is virtually no aspect of intimate human relationships that does not have some light, or at least a new and intriguing viewing angle, cast by the broad strokes of evolutionary psychology in David Buss' absorbing web of sexual strategies and counter-strategies

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In the pursuit of a mate, women prefer men who possess money, resources, power and high social status, while men tend to seek attractive, youthful women who will remain sexually faithful. This finding emerged from a global survey by Buss and colleagues of 10,047 persons in 37 cultures, from Australia to Zambia. Women and men are often at cross-purposes in mate selection, sexual relations and affairs. In a provocative study, Buss, a University of Michigan psychology professor, attributes these differences to ingrained psychological mechanisms which he argues are universal across cultures and rooted in each gender's adaptive responses over millennia of human evolution. One area, however, where Buss finds common ground between men and women is in their ruthless use of deception, sexual display and denigration of rivals in the pursuit of a partner.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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ISBN-10: 0465021433
ISBN-13: 978-0465021437
Author: David M. Buss
Publisher: Basic Books

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