Effects of male power and status on polygyny, extramarital sex, and parental investment

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Vrishica Raj


male power, extramarital sex, polygyny, male parental-investment


Previous research has found, with the support of biolgical theories, that males who are high-status or dominant in a society have more sexual partners available to them and, therefore, are more likely to engage in extramarital sex (EMS) and polygyny, and are likely to be less invested in child rearing. The current research used the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample to test two hypotheses: first, that high-status males would engage in more EMS and polygyny, and second, that in societies with higher rates of EMS, males would be the less-invested parent. Cross-tabulations were run on the SPSS statistics software for each hypothesis. The findings showed a greater occurrence of EMS and polygyny in male-dominated societies, supporting the first hypothesis. Findings relating to the second hypothesis were inconclusive –there did not appear to be a correlation between freqeuncy of EMS and male parental-investment. The results of the present study are consistent with previous findings regarding male status, EMS, and polygyny and also demonstrates the need for further research investigating the relationship between male parental-investment and EMS.

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