Learning mechanisms 1.) An intriguing way in which evolved systems may influence fertility is via interaction with social learning mechanisms. One proposal is that people's fertility decisions are influenced by their perceptions of acceptable living standards and social class status during childhood. From an evolutionary perspective, this suggests a mechanism in which there are learning biases that are activated during a 'sensitive period' of development. This hypothesis fits with data showing that people whose living standards exceed their childhood standards are prone to higher fertility. Those who haven't yet achieved the living standard of childhood delay fertility. This is a learning mechanism, but clearly one that depends on an evolved sensitive period for learning certain information. 2.) Another social learning mechanism was proposed by Surbey (1990) who suggested that the presence of an unrelated male, typically a step-father, during a developmentally sensitive period triggers a low-investment style of reproduction in children. Some animal species show this
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