Models of Cooperation. Journal of Evolutionary Biology Social evolution: early production of deadly males by competing queens. Current Biology r To work or not to work News and Views. Nature Foster, K. Trends in Ecology and Evolution Sex ratios and social evolution Primer. Current Biolog y RR Grafen and M. Science Males from Mars News and Views.
Commentary, Journal of Evolutionary Biology, Rank Crime and Punishment News and Views. Kinship is relative News and Views. Current Biology A quick guide to kin selection. Current Biology R Selfish responses by clone invaders. USA Quarterly Review of Biology Hamilton and the evolution of sociality. Behavioral Ecology Bernasconi, G. Strassmann From the laboratory to the field: the advantages of pleometrotic colony founding: reply.
Trends Ecol. Cheaters in bacteria News and Views. Pax Argentinica News and Views Nature Animal Behaviour Cooperators since life began. Although our genetic processes and familial conflicts are more or less predictable, their cultural expression varies across time and space. For example, the universal experience of parent—offspring conflict emerges through widely different cultural manifestations.
The counterculture movement of the s, for instance, may have tapped into the psychological adaptations by which offspring counteract parental manipulation. Likewise, the recent embracement of rap music and urban dress by white, suburban youths may reflect adaptive niche-seeking behaviors by which individuals attract mates of their own choosing. Parents may in turn represent their genetic interests through their own cultural expressions.
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Further research is needed to track the specific design features of various cultural trends and examine the extent to which they reflect the evolutionary products of familial conflict. For example, parallels may be drawn between various youth and revolutionary movements and the adaptive behaviors by which offspring manipulate caregivers. Likewise, personality and familial-context factors can be examined for correlations with individual membership in various groups, religions, and political movements.
Thus, many of our modern rules of conduct may reflect the overextension of normally functional adaptations for enforcing morals and values upon family members to densely populated environments for which they were not selected. Our ancestors did not evolve in environments containing millions of densely packed humans sharing a radius of a few square miles, as in Tokyo and Manhattan. The legal and judicial systems of modern states may reflect the co-optation of naturally or sexually selected moral sentiments to a much wider circle of interacting individuals. Thus, order and stability is achieved via the redirection of ancestral moral sentiments that were originally limited to intrafamilial and reciprocal interactions.
Although governments often aided by state religion can bring about smooth and efficient systems of cooperation and nonviolent competition, they may also enforce rules and ordinances by which the reproductive interests of some individuals may be curbed for the benefit of others—usually those enforcing the particular rules and ordinances.
This may be a result of the overextension of manipulative adaptations by which humans attempt to influence the behavior of family members and unwary reciprocators. This is only to be expected if family members and other interactants possess traits for manipulating the behavior of their reproductive rivals, effectively utilizing their fellow humans as extended phenotypes of their own selfish genes.
Our lives may be saturated with interconnected webs of manipulation by which some individuals or groups influence the behavior of other individuals or groups. Nowadays, these webs have grown to unprecedented complexity p. Even though all humans possess adaptations for benefitting kin and cooperating with reciprocators, the cross-cultural variation in morals, values, and taboos may reflect the wide variety of forms by which humans attempt to manipulate other humans in their environments.
This is not to deny the potential reproductive benefits that individuals may enjoy by sacrificing on behalf of political or religious groups Atran, , but as with any cooperative relationship, there is always a risk of defection. Group-level systems of morality and ethics may reflect cooperative as well as manipulative adaptations, whether cognitive or emotional, by which individuals enforce rules of conduct upon their family members and acquaintances.
Likewise, our adapted systems may be manipulatively subverted into pathways that are detrimental to our survival and reproductive prospects as easily as they can be co-opted for more benign purposes. Finally, evolved defenses against manipulation may be culturally expressed as consumer protection services, government regulations, and media-generated information campaigns. Scholars should not shirk the opportunity to uncover the extent to which societal laws, norms, and morals reflect cooperative, manipulative, and defensive extensions of human biological traits.
Such an investigation can be especially fruitful if conducted with a proper evolutionary perspective. Our discussion of the evolutionary processes that underlie many of our interactions with family, friends, coworkers, strangers, and social structures and institutions, should not be interpreted as value judgments on these relationships. Even if there are manipulative adaptations which humans and nonhumans employ in their dealings with other organisms, we may ultimately accept the manipulative nature of such relationships and continue to engage in them.
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For example, if our pets are ultimately coevolved parasites that take advantage of our propensity to care for anything with infant-like features, should we then abandon our dogs and cats see Chapter 16 , by Archer; but also see Chapter 17 , by Paul and Serpell, for possible health and reproductive benefits of pet-keeping? Likewise, should we not adopt genetically unrelated offspring if adoption results from the misfiring of otherwise functional parental adaptations see Chapter 8 , by Volk?
Such questions are absurd precisely because our evolved nature enables us to circumvent our genetic interests. It does not guarantee that we will always pursue the best way to spread our genes in the here and now, or even spread our genes at all. Such a realization has even eluded some scholars.
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A similar phenomenon, often referred to as the naturalistic fallacy , is the mistaken assumption that explaining our biological nature is tantamount to an endorsement of it. If manipulating family members and friends for our own reproductive benefit is a result of evolved mechanisms and modules, should we then tacitly accept such manipulation as an unavoidable outcome of our evolu-tionary past?
The selections within this volume are, in part, an attempt by researchers and scholars to tear down the veil of ignorance that enshrouds human nature. Overcoming our noxious predispositions may be a Sisyphean task. Our evolved capacities to deceive and manipulate one p. Nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, nationalistic bigotries, religious fundamentalist threats, environmental degradation, and the power that communicative technologies provide for despots and demagogues intent on seducing the minds of millions, all speak to the dangers that our adapted mechanisms pose to our well-being.
What gives us a sense of optimism, however, is the rapid advancement of human knowledge. By understanding evolutionary arms races and the nature of viruses and bacteria, we have been able to devise vaccines and cures for some of the deadliest diseases that have plagued humanity.
Cooperation and conflict in quorum-sensing bacterial populations | Nature
With advancements in genetic engineering, we are able to feed millions of individuals with nutritious, calorie-rich foods. With market economies, we can bring about reciprocal relationships that transcend cultural, ethnic, racial, and national boundaries. With the aid of global communications systems, we can expand our circle of kinship and ingroup favoritism to include nonrelatives and even nonhuman endangered species.
With an increasing awareness of our environmental impact, we have begun to take steps to alleviate our destructive footprints upon this planet. The future, however, is far from certain. As evolutionary scientists, our aim is to uncover the ultimate explanations for the proximate workings of our biological world. We hope that this volume accomplishes this task by stripping away some of the self-deceptive layers with which humanity has been clothed for millions of years. We spend most of our lives interacting with kin.
In understanding the evolutionary dynamics of the family, we believe that individuals can make more informed decisions regarding themselves, their kin, and their societies. Aside from such practical implications, we also hope that this volume instructs and enlightens those interested in the inner workings of human and nonhuman families. There is, however, much that remains undiscovered. It rests upon researches from diverse fields to correct many of our errors, oversights, and misconceptions.
Empirical research is essential in corroborating or refuting the speculative nature of some of our inquiries. As with all of science, the study of human evolution is a work in progress. Apostolou, M. Parent-offspring conflict over mating: The case of short-term mating strategies. Personality and Individual Differences , 47 , — Find this resource:. Sexual selection under parental choice in agropastoral societies. Evolution and Human Behavior , 31 , 39— Atran, S.
In gods we trust: The evolutionary landscape of religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bjorklund, D. The origins of human nature: Evolutionary developmental psychology. Brown, R.
Empirical support for an evolutionary model of self-destructive motivation. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior , 39 , 1— Buss, D.
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