Unpacking sex differences: inbestigating the role of indirect aggression in young adults

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Simmon, Hannah
Phillips, Robert
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Thesis (B.?)
Honors College
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This project examines the use of indirect aggression in college-aged students to determine if there are sex-related differences associated with its use in modern-day societies, while also investigating whether these dif ferences are a result of biological evolution or a product of cultural conditioning. Using evolutionary theory, this paper explores the historical adaptive problems that led to the development of direct and indirect aggression. While past evidence suggests that females continue to use indirect aggression more frequently than males, newer evidence suggests that males have adapted to using it as well. After analyzing preliminary results from a questionnaire, data indicates that while females are still more likely to engage in indirect aggression due to the lower costs associated with it and the reproductive benefits it has provided in human evolution, the use of indirect aggression by males is also prevalent. The paper also explores the cultural perceptions of sex differences in the use of indirect aggression using informal interview results to determine how they may perpetuate them. Ultimately, the research determines that sex differences in the use of indirect aggression are not only rooted in biology but also in societal standards.