I love being a psychology major because when I go to class I learn about life. On any given day in a psych class, I’m learning things that I can apply to my own life, and this has never been more true than this semester in my Science of Happiness class. If you come to USC, this class HAS to be on your bucket list. Just as an example, here’s what we learned today:
Why, in many cultures, is it acceptable for males to lose their virginity at an early age, while females are expected to remain virgins until marriage? Why do over 80% of cultures allow polygamy (one man having many wives) but almost none allow polyandry (the opposite)? Why do males exhibit so much more jealousy than females in a romantic or sexual relationship, and why are males so much more willing to take risks and have sex with a stranger than females are?
The answer to all these questions: science! Natural selection, to be exact. Check it out: while males can produce millions of tiny sperm each day, females only produce 270 [relatively] huge eggs in a lifetime. If a male contributes to conception, he can contribute again in a couple hours. On the other hand, a female can’t contribute again for about another year. If you look at it in terms of natural selection, it’s no wonder why females tend to be so choosy and males tend to be much less so. And because of the way we reproduce, females are always certain about who their children are, while males can never be sure. This is where that male jealousy comes from.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about this like it’s black and white. I’m not saying that all guys are jealous and all females are super choosy, or anything like that. What I am saying is that it’s pretty interesting that these trends exist across cultures, and that we can trace their roots back to hard, provable science.
And that’s why I love psychology. It’s an invigorating mix between science, culture, and real life application. We can ask tricky questions and approach them from so many different angles. There’s never one absolute right answer, but that’s why we learn to think critically not only when approaching science but also when approaching real life. My psychology studies have helped me to understand more about my life and will help me in the future to think about all aspects of life in a variety of ways — and that is invaluable.