A Sociobiological Perspective on the Development of Human Reproductive Strategies

In terms of the original goals that we discussed, we propose that certain classes of reproductive behavior are the result of interaction between learning biases and particular experiential and institutional configurations experienced by individuals

Patricia Draper; Henry Harpending


Scholarcy highlights

  • Sociobiology has had a difficult time becoming established in the social sciences because of entrenched ideas that human adaptation is primar­ily by means of culture and that culture is learned
  • Reciprocity is the foundation of human social life: we expect that there will be a rich array of learning biases and manipulative abili­ties in our species in this domain
  • The “cheating model of sociopathy and hysteria” is a good model of the potential for evolutionary reasoning to broaden our under­standing of behavioral diversity in our own species, and we believe it worth covering in some detail even in the absence of good information about mechanisms
  • The new viewpoint emphasizes the power of our past and stresses the need to comprehend our evolved abilities, propen­sities, and biases in social and psychological theory
  • At the level of the individual the new viewpoint emphasizes evolved characteristics of the organism, while at the level of society it emphasizes the synthesis of social forms from the interactions of individuals as opposed to the older idea that social forms have to be analyzed on their own level
  • In particu­lar, the new viewpoint accommodates individual selfishness, inequality among individuals, and institutionalized deceit and manipulation

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