Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Male Warrior Hypothesis

  • Ashton C. SouthardEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_645-1



The male warrior hypothesis is an evolutionary theory that refers to the idea that men’s behaviors and cognitions are more strongly intergroup-oriented than women’s, such that men likely evolved psychological mechanisms that enable the formation of coalitions that are capable of carrying out acts of aggression and violence on members of outgroups as a means to acquire or protect reproductive resources. These mechanisms are purported to have developed as the result of an ancestral history that was largely influenced by frequent and violent intergroup conflict among males, in which success increased their reproductive fitness.


Due to reproductive and survival benefits, humans (and other species) tend to come together in groups (Baumeister and Leary 1995). Although costly, intergroup conflict is, and has been, pervasive among humans (Bowles 2009). When these conflicts involve acts of aggression and violence, research finds...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oakland UniversityRochesterUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Doug P. VanderLaan
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Toronto MississaugaMississaugaCanada
  2. 2.Child, Youth and Family DivisionCentre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada