Advertisement

Sex Roles

, Volume 66, Issue 5–6, pp 311–327 | Cite as

The Evolution of Stalking

  • Joshua D. Duntley
  • David M. BussEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

We propose that stalking tactics have been shaped by evolutionary processes to help solve mating problems. These include: (1) acquiring new mates, (2) guarding existing mates to prevent defection, (3) fending off mate poachers, (4) poaching someone else’s mate, (5) interfering with intrasexual competitors, (6) reacquiring ex-mates, (7) sexual exploitation and predation, and (8) guarding kin from sexual exploitation. We hypothesize several, gender-differentiated design features of psychological adaptations, including sensitivity to adaptive problems for which stalking was an ancestral solution and cognitive biases that function to motivate and perpetuate stalking behaviors. Although often abhorrent, cost-inflicting, and illegal, stalking sometimes enables successful adaptive solutions to problems of mating and within-gender competition faced by both men and women.

Keywords

Stalking Mating Gender Evolution 

References

  1. Archer, J. (2009). Does sexual selection explain human sex differences in aggression? The Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 32, 249–311.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arnqvist, G., & Rowe, L. (2005). Sexual conflict. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bates, A. (1942). Parental roles in courtship. Social Forces, 20, 483–486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baum, K., Catalano, S., Rand, M., & Rose, K. (2009). Stalking victimization in the United States (NCJ 224527). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice.Google Scholar
  5. Boon, J., & Sheridan, L. (2002). Stalking and psychosexual obsession: Psychological perspectives for prevention, policing, and treatment. West Sussex: Wiley.Google Scholar
  6. Brüne, M. (2001). DeClerambault’s syndrome (erotomania) in an evolutionary perspective. Evolution and Human Behavior, 22, 409–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Budd, T., & Mattinson, J. (2000). The extent and nature of stalking: Findings from the 1998 British Crime Survey. Home Office Research Study No. 210. London: Home Office.Google Scholar
  8. Buss, D. M. (1988). From vigilance to violence: Tactics of mate retention in American undergraduates. Ethology and Sociobiology, 9, 291–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Buss, D. M. (1989). Conflict between the sexes: Strategic interference and the evocation of anger and upset. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56, 735–747.Google Scholar
  10. Buss, D. M. (2000). The dangerous passion. New York: Free.Google Scholar
  11. Buss, D. M. (2002). Human mate guarding. Neuroendocrinology Letters, 23, 23–29.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Buss, D. M. (2003a). The evolution of desire. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  13. Buss, D. M. (2003b). Sexual conflict. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society. Lincoln, NE: The University of Nebraska.Google Scholar
  14. Buss, D. M. (2005). The murderer next door. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
  15. Buss, D. M., & Duntley, J. D. (2008). Adaptations for exploitation. Group Dynamics, 12, 53–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Buss, D. M., & Haselton, M. G. (2005). The evolution of jealousy. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9, 506–507.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Buss, D. M., & Schmitt, D. P. (1993). Sexual strategies theory: An evolutionary perspective on human mating. Psychological Review, 100, 204–232.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Buss, D. M., & Shackelford, T. K. (1997a). From vigilance to violence: Mate retention tactics in married couples. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72, 346–361.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Buss, D. M., & Shackelford, T. K. (1997b). Human aggression in evolutionary psychological perspective. Clinical Psychology Review, 17, 605–619.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Buss, D. M., Larsen, R. J., Westen, D., & Semmelroth, J. (1992). Sex differences in jealousy: Evolution, physiology, and psychology. Psychological Science, 3, 251–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Buss, D. M., Haselton, M. G., Shackelford, T. K., Bleske, A., & Wakefield, J. C. (1998). Adaptations, exaptations, and spandrels. The American Psychologist, 53, 533–548.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Caryl, P. G. (1979). Communication by agonistic displays: What can games theory contributed to ethology?. Behaviour, 67, 136–169.Google Scholar
  23. Chagnon, N. (1983). Yanomamo: The fierce people (3rd ed.). New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston.Google Scholar
  24. Chavanne, T. J., & Gallup, G. G., Jr. (1998). Variation in risk taking behavior among female college students as a function of the menstrual cycle. Evolution and Human Behavior, 19, 27–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Confer, J. C., Easton, J. A., Fleischman, D. S., Goetz, C. D., Lewis, D. M., Perilloux, C., & Buss, D. M. (2010). Evolutionary psychology: Controversies, questions, prospects, and limitations. American Psychologist. Google Scholar
  26. Cupach, W. R., & Spitzberg, B. H. (1998). Obsessive relational intrusion and stalking. In B. H. Spitzberg & W. R. Cupach (Eds.), The dark side of close relationships (pp. 233–263). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  27. Cupach, W. R., & Spitzberg, B. H. (2004). The dark side of relational pursuit: From attraction to obsession and stalking. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  28. Daly, M., & Wilson, M. (1988). Homicide. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  29. Davis, K. E., Ace, A., & Andra, M. (2000). Stalking perpetrators: Gender, attachment insecurity, need for control, and relationship context as correlates. Violence and Victims, 15, 407–426.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Davis, K. E., Frieze, I. H., & Maiuro, R. D. (2002). Stalking: Perspectives on victims and perpetrators. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  31. Dawkins, R., & Krebs, J. (1978). Animal signals: Information or manipulation. In J. Krebs & N. Davies (Eds.), Behavioural ecology: An evolutionary approach (pp. 282–309). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  32. Dennison, S. M. (2007). Interpersonal relationships and stalking: Identifying when to intervene. Law and Human Behavior, 31, 353–367.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Dressing, H., Gass, P., & Juehner, C. (2007). What can we learn from the first community-based epidemiological study on stalking in Germany? International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 30, 10–17.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Dressing, H., Kuehner, C., & Gass, P. (2005). Lifetime prevalence and impact of stalking in a European population: Epidemiological data from a middle-sized German city. British Journal of Psychiatry, 187, 168–172.Google Scholar
  35. Driscoll, R., Davis, K. E., & Lipetz, M. E. (1972). Parental interference and romantic love: The Romeo and Juliet effect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1, 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Duntley, J. D. (2005). Adaptations to dangers from other humans. In D. Buss (Ed.), The handbook of evolutionary psychology (pp. 224–249). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  37. Duntley, J. D., & Buss, D. M. (2002). Stalking as a strategy of human mating. Paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society. New Brunswick: Rutgers University.Google Scholar
  38. Dutton, M. A., & Goodman, L. A. (2005). Coercion in intimate partner violence: Toward a new conceptualization. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 52, 743–756.Google Scholar
  39. Dutton, L. B., & Winstead, B. A. (2006a). Predicting unwanted pursuit: Attachment, relationship satisfaction, relationship alternatives, and break-up distress. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 23, 565–586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Dutton, L. B., & Winstead, B. A. (2006b). Predicting unwanted pursuit: Attachment, relationship satisfaction, relationship alternatives, and break-up distress. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 23, 565–586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Edlund, J., & Sagarin, B. (2009). Sex differences in jealousy: Misinterpretation of nonsignificant results as refuting the theory. Personal Relationships, 16, 67–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Emerson, R., Ferris, K., & Gardner, C. (1998). On being stalked. Social Problems, 45, 289–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Gadagkar, R. (2003). Is the peacock merely beautiful or also honest? Current Science, 85, 1012–1020.Google Scholar
  44. Ghiglieri, M. (2000). The dark side of man. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  45. Greiling, H., & Buss, D. M. (2000). Women’s Sexual Strategies: The hidden dimension of extra pair mating. Personality and Individual Differences, 28, 929–963.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Hall, D. M. (1997). Outside looking in: stalkers and their victims. PhD dissertation, Claremont Graduate School, Claremont, CA.Google Scholar
  47. Hamilton, W. D. (1964). The genetical evolution of social behavior. I and II. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 7, 1–52.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Haselton, M. G., & Buss, D. M. (2000). Error management theory: A new perspective on biases in cross-sex mind reading. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 81–91.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Hill, K., & Hurtado, A. M. (1996). Ache life history. New York: Aldine De Gruyter.Google Scholar
  50. Jones, O. D., & Goldsmith, T. H. (2005). Law and behavioral biology. Columbia Law Review, 105, 405–502.Google Scholar
  51. Kan, M. L., McHale, S. M., & Crouter, A. C. (2008). Parental involvement in adolescent romantic relationships: Patterns and correlates. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 37, 168–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Keeley, L. H. (1997). War before civilization: The myth of the peaceful savage. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Kienlen, K. K. (1998). Developmental and social antecedents of stalking. In J. R. Meloy (Ed.), The psychology of stalking: Clinical and forensic perspectives (pp. 51–67). New York: Academic.Google Scholar
  54. Kinkade, B., Burns, R., & Fuentes, A. I. (2005). Criminalizing attractions: Perceptions of stalking and the stalker. Crime & Delinquency, 51, 3–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Krebs, J. R., & Dawkins, R. (1984). Animal signals: Mind-reading and manipulation. In J. R. Krebs & N. B. Davies (Eds.), Behavioural ecology: An evolutionary approach (2nd ed., pp. 380–402). Sunderland: Sinauer.Google Scholar
  56. Kruger, D. J. (2008). Young adults attempt exchanges in reproductively relevant currencies. Evolutionary Psychology, 6, 204–212.Google Scholar
  57. Kruger, D. J., & Nesse, R. M. (2004). Sexual selection and the male: female mortality ratio. Evolutionary Psychology, 2, 66–77.Google Scholar
  58. Lalumiére, M. L., Harris, G. T., Quinsey, V. L., & Rice, M. E. (2005). The causes of rape. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Press.Google Scholar
  59. Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J. (2006). An examination of sheltered battered women’s perpetration of stalking and other unwanted pursuit behaviors. Violence and Victims, 21, 579–595.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J., Palarea, R. E., Cohen, J., & Rohling, M. L. (2000). Breaking up is hard to do: Unwanted pursuit behaviors following the dissolution of a romantic relationship. Violence and Victims, 15, 73–90.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. Lewis, S. F., Fremouw, W. J., Del Ben, K., & Farr, C. (2001). An investigation of the psychological characteristics of stalkers: Empathy, problem-solving, attachment and borderline personality features. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 46, 80–84.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  62. Marks, I. (1987). Fears, phobias, and rituals: Panic, anxiety, and their disorders. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  63. Maynard Smith, J. (1994). Must reliable signals always be costly? Animal Behaviour, 47, 1115–1120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Meloy, J. R. (1992). Violent attachments. Northvale: Aronson.Google Scholar
  65. Meloy, J. R. (1998). The psychology of stalking: Clinical and forensic perspectives. San Diego: Academic.Google Scholar
  66. Meloy, J. R. (2001). Communicated threats and violence toward public and private targets: Discerning differences among those who stalk and attack. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 46, 1211–1213.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  67. Meloy, J. R., & Fisher, H. (2005). Some thoughts on the neurobiology of stalking. Journal of Forensic Science, 50, 1472–1480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Meston, C. M., & Buss, D. M. (2009). Why women have sex: Understanding sexual motivations from adventure to revenge (and everything in between). New York: Times Books.Google Scholar
  69. Mullen, P. E., Pathé, M., Purcell, R., & Stuart, G. W. (1999). Study of stalkers. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 156, 1244–1249.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  70. Mullen, P. E., Pathé, M., & Purcell, R. (2000). Stalkers and their victims. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  71. Palarea, R. E. (2004). An empirical analysis of stalking as a risk factor in domestic violence (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from http://proquest.umi.com/pqdlink?Ver=1&Exp=01-03-2015&FMT=7&DID=795961791&RQT=309&attempt=1&cfc=1
  72. Palarea, R. E., Zona, M. A., Lane, J. C., & Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J. (1999). The dangerous nature of intimate relationship stalking: Threats, violence, and associated risk factors. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 17, 269–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Pathé, M. (2002). Surviving stalking. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Pathé, M., & Mullen, P. E. (1997). The impact of stalkers on their victims. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 170, 12–17.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Perilloux, C., & Buss, D. M. (2008). Breaking up romantic relationships: Costs experienced and coping strategies deployed. Evolutionary Psychology, 6, 164–181.Google Scholar
  76. Perilloux, C., Fleischman, D. S., & Buss, D. M. (2008). The Daughter-Guarding Hypothesis: Parental influence on children’s mating behavior. Evolutionary Psychology, 6, 217–233.Google Scholar
  77. Phillips, B., Brown, G. P., & Shine, R. (2004). Assessing the potential for an evolutionary response to rapid environmental change: Invasive toads and an Australian snake. Evolutionary Ecology Research, 6, 799–811.Google Scholar
  78. Ravensburg, V., & Miller, C. (2003). Stalking among young adults: A review of the preliminary research. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 8, 455–469.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Resnick, P. J. (2007). Stalking risk assessment. In D. A. Pinals (Ed.), Stalking: Psychiatric perspectives and practical approaches (pp. 61–84). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  80. Schmitt, D. P., & Buss, D. M. (2001). Human mate poaching: Tactics and temptations for infiltrating existing relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, 894–917.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Schmitt, D. P., Shackelford, T. K., Duntley, J. D., Tooke, W., & Buss, D. M. (2001). The desire for sexual variety as a tool for understanding basic human mating strategies. Personal Relationships, 8, 425–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Schmitt, D. P., Alcalay, L., Allik, J., Angleiter, A., Ault, L., Austers, I., et al. (2004). Patterns and universals of mate poaching across 53 nations: The effects of sex, culture, and personality on romantically attracting another person’s partner. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86, 560–584.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Sheridan, L. P., & Grant, T. (2007). Is cyberstalking different? Psychology, Crime & Law, 13, 627–640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Sheridan, L., Davies, G. M., & Boon, J. C. W. (2001). Stalking: Perceptions and prevalence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 16, 151–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Sheridan, L., Gillett, R., Davies, G. M., Blaauw, E., & Patel, D. (2003). There’s no smoke without fire: Are male ex-partners perceived as more entitled to stalk than acquaintance or stranger stalkers? British Journal of Psychology, 94, 87–98.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Sinclair, H. C., & Frieze, I. H. (2005). When courtship persistence becomes intrusive pursuit: A comparison of rejecter and pursuer perspectives of unrequited attraction. Sex Roles, 52, 839–852.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Smuts, B. B. (1992). Men’s aggression against women. Human Nature, 6, 1–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Spitzberg, B. H. (2002). The tactical topography of stalking victimization and management. Trauma, Violence & Abuse, 3, 261–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Spitzberg, B. H., & Cupach, W. R. (2003). What mad pursuit? Obsessive relational intrusion and stalking related phenomena. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 8, 345–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Spitzberg, B. H., & Cupach, W. R. (2007). The state of the art of stalking: Taking stock of the emerging literature. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 12, 64–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Symons, D. (1981). The evolution of human sexuality. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  92. Tjaden, P., & Thoennes, N. (1998). Stalking in America: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, NCJ 169592.U.S.Google Scholar
  93. Tonin, E. (2004). The attachment styles of stalkers. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 15, 584–590.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Tooby, J. & Cosmides, L. (1988). The evolution of war and its cognitive foundations. Institute for Evolutionary Studies Technical Report #88-1.Google Scholar
  95. Tooby, J., & DeVore, I. (1987). The reconstruction of hominid behavioral evolution through strategic modeling. In W. G. Kinzey (Ed.), The evolution of human behavior (pp. 183–238). Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  96. Trivers, R. L. (1972). Parental investment and sexual selection. In B. Campbell (Ed.), Sexual selection and the descent of man: 1871–1971 (pp. 136–179). Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  97. Updegraff, K. A., McHale, S. M., Crouter, A. C., & Kupanoff, K. (2004). Parents’ involvement in adolescents’ peer relationships: A comparison of mothers’ and fathers’ roles. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 63, 655–668.Google Scholar
  98. Van den Hoek, C., Mann, D. G., & Jahns, H. M. (1995). Algae: An introduction to phycology. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  99. van der Dennen, J. M. G. (1995). The origin of war: The evolution of a male-coalitional reproductive strategy. Groningen, Netherlands: Origin Press.Google Scholar
  100. Wakefield, J. C. (2005). Biological function and dysfunction. In D. Buss (Ed.), Handbook of evolutionary psychology (pp. 878–902). New York: Oxford Press.Google Scholar
  101. Williams, S., Frieze, I. H., & Sinclair, H. C. (2006). Stalking and intimate violence. In J. Hamel & T. Nicholls (Eds.), Family therapy for domestic violence: A practitioner’s guide to gender-inclusive research and treatment (pp. 109–123). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  102. Werner-Wilson, R. J. (1998). Gender differences in adolescent sexual attitudes: The influence of individual and family factors. Adolescence, 33, 519–531.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  103. White, J., Kowalski, R. M., Lyndon, A., & Valentine, S. (2000). Integrative contextual developmental model of male stalking. Violence and Victims, 15, 373–388.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  104. Williams, S. L., & Frieze, I. H. (2005). Courtship behaviors, relationship violence, and breakup persistence in college men and women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 29, 248–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  105. Wilson, M., & Daly, M. (1985). Competitiveness, risk taking, and violence: The young male syndrome. Ethology and Sociobiology, 6, 59–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  106. Wilson, M., & Mesnick, S. L. (1997). An empirical test of the bodyguard hypothesis. In P. A. Gowaty (Ed.), Feminism and evolutionary biology (pp. 505–512). New York: Chapman & Hall.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  107. Zahavi, A. (1975). Mate selection—a selection for a handicap. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 53, 205–214.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Criminal Justice & PsychologyThe Richard Stockton College of New JerseyPomonaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

Personalised recommendations