Sociobiology

Sociobiology is what type of study of social behaviour?
Biological study of social behaviour. though typically such studies are informed by evolutionary theory.
What are the 5 most important evolutionary theories?
Kin selection, inclusive fitness, parental investment theory, parental- offspring conflict and reciprocal altruism.
Sociolobiology is a branch of?
ethology and behavioural ecology
Ethology is what type of study?
biological study of behaviour
Behavioural ecology is what type of study?
the biological study of behaviour that is more focused on ecological and evolutionary influences on behaviour.
ethology tends to be used in reference to research that focuses on more ________explanations.
proximate
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behavioural ecology tends to be used in reference to research that focuses on more ______explanations.
ultimate
T/F behavioural ecology is used more to refer to the study of nonsocial behaviours, like foraging )food acquisition)
True
T/F sociobiology refers to social behaviours, like cooperation and mating.
True
T/F Sociobiology in more common usage came o ean the appllication of evolutionary theory to explain human behaviour/ any human behaviour
True
“pop sociobiology” was brought on by what person?
Phillip Kitcher (1985) in vaulting Ambition
Philip Kitcher groups three different research programs under pop sociobiology, what are they?
The Early Wilson program, the Gene-culture coevolution program, and the Alexander program.
Who is Edward O. Wilson?
Wilson refers to Edward who first popularized sociobiology with his book sociobiology in 1975
Who is Richard Alexander
published an influential paper “The Evolution of social behaviour” in 1974, had a bigger influence on academics
What type of biologist is Edward O. Wilson?
ant biologist
Wilson was well informed about the new developments in evolutionary biology and he summarized these in sociobiology although what was the problem with this?
It was only in the last chapter of Sociobiology that he turned to the question of how these theories might explain human behaviour.
Kitcher characterizes wilson’s early program as 1) Evolutionary theory:
(an optimality model) predicts that all members of a group would maximize their fitness by exhibiting a form of behaviour B in typical environments encountered by members of the group.
Kitcher characterizes wilson’s early program as 2) natural selection:
When we find B in virtually all members of the group (and in other species), we can conclude that B became prevalent and remains prevalent through natural selection, because of #1.
Kitcher characterizes wilson’s early program as 3) genetic differences
Because selection can only act where there are genetic differences, we can conclude that there are genetic differences between the current members of the group and their ancestors (and any occasional recent mutations) who failed to exhibit B
Kitcher characterizes wilson’s early program as 4) social environment
Because there are these genetic differences and because the behaviour is adaptive, we can show that it will be difficult to modify the behaviour by altering the social environment.
WHat is culture?
Culture is another means by which traits spread through the population.
Why did E.O. Wilson in collaboration with CharlesLumsden (in addition to others) broadened the Early Wilson program by factoring in culture as an alternate transmitter of information.
In order to account for the Ronald McDonald phenomenon
This program is more complicated mathematically, but the general outlines are somewhat the same what are they?
Devise an optimality model that predicts certain behaviours will evolve.

Test the theory by seeing whether the predicted behaviours are indeed found in the population at large (or whether they vary from culture to culture) as the theory predicts

In neither the Early Wilson program nor Gene-Culture Coevolution is there any reference to what?
reference to special design – Williams’ criterion for demonstrating adaptation.
One final concern, more with the Early Wilson program, is that it ?
isn’t simply explanatory, it is also prescriptive – it tends to suggest what interventions should and should not be attempted – hence it goes beyond disinterested science.
Is universality sufficient to demonstrate that a behaviour can’t be changed?
No, phenotypic traits are the product of gene-environment interactions, so change the environment and the trait could very well change.
Alexander Program
The program of research initiated by Richard Alexander has been far more influential amongst social scientists.
It was the Alexander program that initially motivated serious ?
sociobiological research into human behavioural evolution and there are still researchers who continue working within this framework (i.e. human behavioural ecologists, such as Eric Alden Smith).
According to Kitcher, Alexander’s program consists of the following features:
Human social behaviour is to be understood in terms of inclusive fitness.

Rather than making claims about the impossibility of altering human behaviour, the Alexander program seeks to understand the ways in which our social behaviour adjusts to different ecological conditions so that people who encounter those conditions maximize their inclusive fitness.

So where Wilson emphasized genetic constraints on behaviour, Alexander stresses the adaptive flexibility of human behaviour:
If there is one thing that natural selection has given to every species, it is the ability to adjust in different fashions to different developmental environments. This is what phenotypes are all about, and all organisms have phenotypes. If there is an organism most endowed with flexibility in the face of environmental variation, it is the human organism.
Crook and Crook’s paper they first establish the particular ecological circumstances of the Tibetans. What do they suggest?
They suggest that polyandry (one wife with multiple husbands) is an adaptive, fitness maximizing solution to the local ecological circumstances.

They then test their hypothesis by comparing the reproductive success of polyandrous marriages with monogamous marriages.

Ceook and Crooks,When they seek to test their predictions, it is not special design that they are testing, but
differential reproductive success.