Models of risk-taking as used in the social sciences may be improved by including concepts from life history theory, particularly environmental unpredictability and life expectancy. Community college students completed self-report questionnaires measuring these constructs along with several well-known correlates. The frequency of risk-taking was higher for those with higher future unpredictability beliefs and shorter lifespan estimates (as measured by the Future Lifespan Assessment developed for this study), and unpredictability beliefs remained significant after accounting for standard predictors, such as sex and (...) temperament. The results demonstrate the usefulness of applying concepts from life history theory to enhance our understanding of human behavior. (shrink)
Gangestad & Simpson present an evolutionary functional analysis of mating strategies. This commentary interprets their argument using a central concept from life history theory, return from investment. Incorporating return from investment allows further specification of costs and benefits from short-term mating in women as well as men and in ecological settings of high environmental variation in mortality and resource availability.