Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

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

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  • Denise D. CumminsEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_2969-1



Opportunity to acquire food, shelter, mates, and other necessities for survival and reproductive success.


Natural selection is a straightforward process: Variation exists among individuals, and some of this variation is heritable. Some heritable attributes allow individuals to better cope with survival pressures such as predation or climactic changes and to enjoy greater success when competing for resources or mates. These individuals will leave more copies of their genes in the gene pool than individuals with less successful traits. The genetic contribution of an individual to the next generation’s gene pool (relative to the average for that population) is referred to as fitness.

From an evolutionary standpoint, therefore, the fundamental problem that an organism must solve is maximizing reproductive success which in turn reduces to maximizing access to fertile mates and resources.

An individual’s access to mates and resources...


Reproductive Success Dominance Hierarchy Reciprocal Altruism Status Hierarchy Fertile Female 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology/Department of PhilosophyUniversity of IllinoisChampaignUSA