Prejudice against people from groups different than their own is linked to aggression for men and fear for women, suggests new research led by Michigan State University scholars.
Their "male warrior hypothesis" explains how a deep evolutionary history of group conflict may have provided the backdrop for natural selection to shape the social psychologies and behaviors of men and women in fundamentally distinct ways. Essentially, men are more likely to start wars and to defend their own group,...
Women, meanwhile, live under the threat of sexual coercion by foreign aggressors, and are apt to display a "tend-and-befriend response" toward members of their own group, while maintaining a fear of strangers in order to protect themselves and their offspring.
"Although these sex-specific responses may have been adaptive in ancestral times," said McDonald, the lead author of the study, "they have likely lost this adaptive value in our modern society, and now act only to needlessly perpetuate discrimination and conflict among groups. [emphasis mine]