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Why are most murders, rapes and violent crimes committed by men? © Getty

Why are most murders, rapes and violent crimes committed by men?

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Ting ting ting, in one corner we have the sociologists’ argument and in the other we have the evolutionary psychologists’. Aaaand fight.

Asked by: Phoebe, London


The answer depends somewhat on who you ask. Sociologists will tell you that the tendency for men to be more violent than women is a result of traditional gender roles, such that in many cultures boys are raised to believe it’s important for them to be dominant and competitive, while girls are raised to be more nurturing and gentle.

Evolutionary psychologists, however, would say that it has more to do with our evolved sex differences and the fact that males have historically competed for status and access to females.

A recent cross-cultural study using data from 63 countries around the world showed that male teenagers were nearly three times more likely to have engaged in fighting over the previous year than female teenagers. This difference was actually greater in cultures with more gender equality (ie, where traditional gender roles are not such an influence), so this provides support for the evolutionary explanation.

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luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.


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