Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

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

Life History Strategies

  • Iris M. Wang
  • Nicholas M. Michalak
  • Joshua M. Ackerman
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_1926-1



Life history theory posits organisms face tradeoffs in how they allocate resources to reproduction, parenting, and growth. These patterns of resource allocation can be classified more broadly into life history strategies, which vary on a continuum from fast to slow. These distinctions can be applied to describe within species and between species differences. Slow strategies are marked by increased investment in growth, a delay in reproductive investment, and increased investment in parenting. In contrast, fast strategies are marked by early investment in reproduction at a cost of growth and a reduced investment in parenting in favor of further reproduction.


Life History Strategies

Life history theory (LHT) is grounded in a simple premise – resources are limited and thus organisms face tradeoffs in how they “decide” to allocate those resources to growth, health maintenance, and various...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Gary L Brase
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychological SciencesKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA