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Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective

Raymond Hames
There is a well-entrenched schism on the frequency (how often), intensity (deaths per 100,000/year), and evolutionary significance of warfare among hunter-gatherers compared with large-scale societies. To simplify, Rousseauians argue that warfare among prehistoric and contemporary hunter-gatherers was nearly absent and, if present, was a late cultural invention. In contrast, so-called Hobbesians argue that violence was relatively common but variable among hunter-gatherers. To defend their views, Rousseauians resort to a variety of tactics to diminish the apparent frequency and intensity of hunter-gatherer warfare...
April 5, 2019: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Bilinda Straight, Belinda L Needham, Georgiana Onicescu, Puntipa Wanitjirattikal, Todd Barkman, Cecilia Root, Jen Farman, Amy Naugle, Claudia Lalancette, Charles Olungah, Stephen Lekalgitele
Examining the costs and motivations of warfare is key to conundrums concerning the relevance of this troubling phenomenon to the evolution of social attachment and cooperation, particularly during adolescence and young adulthood-the developmental time period during which many participants are first recruited for warfare. The study focuses on Samburu, a pastoralist society of approximately 200,000 people occupying northern Kenya's semi-arid and arid lands, asking what role the emotionally sensitized, peer-driven adolescent life stage may have played in the cultural and genetic coevolution of coalitional lethal aggression...
April 2, 2019: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Richard J Chacon, Yamilette Chacon
This special issue of Human Nature presents selected works from the 2015 and 2017 "Warfare, Environment, Social Inequality, and Pro-Sociability" (WESIPS) conferences held at the Center for Cross-Cultural Study in Seville, Spain. These investigations explore the manifestations of indigenous warfare and violence from a host of theoretical perspectives. Topics range from the origins of warfare to the psychological repercussions of combat, the relationship between warfare and status, as well as the documentation of peace processes among warring groups...
March 19, 2019: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Robert K Hitchcock
There has been a long-standing debate about the roles of San in the militaries of southern Africa and the prevalence of violence among the Ju/'hoansi and other San people. The evolutionary anthropology and social anthropological debates over the contexts in which violence and warfare occurs among hunters and gatherers are considered, as is the "tribal zone theory" of warfare between states and indigenous people. This paper assesses the issues that arise from these discussions, drawing on data from San in Angola, Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe...
March 19, 2019: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Paul Roscoe, Richard J Chacon, Douglas Hayward, Yamilette Chacon
We employ the Social Signaling Model (SSM) and life history of a Western Dani big-man, Tibenuk, to analyze a neglected curiosity in the career of the big-man type. The big-man is renowned as an economic entrepreneur, the master of material displays. In New Guinea, however, big-men had invariably first gained fame and some influence as eminent warriors. The SSM accounts for this two-part career path by proposing that small-scale social organization rests on honest, competitive signaling of individual and collective fighting strength, with leaders being those who excel in these contests...
March 13, 2019: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Azar Gat
The Seville Statement on Violence rejected the view that violence and war were in any way rooted in human nature and proclaimed that they were merely a cultural artifact. This paper points out both the valid and invalid parts of the statement. It concludes that the potential for both war and peace is embedded in us. The human behavioral toolkit comprises a number of major tools, respectively geared for violent conflict, peaceful competition, or cooperation, depending on people's assessment of what will serve them best in any given circumstance...
March 8, 2019: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
William Buckner
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
March 7, 2019: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Zachary H Garfield, Robert L Hubbard, Edward H Hagen
This study tested four theoretical models of leadership with data from the ethnographic record. The first was a game-theoretical model of leadership in collective actions, in which followers prefer and reward a leader who monitors and sanctions free-riders as group size increases. The second was the dominance model, in which dominant leaders threaten followers with physical or social harm. The third, the prestige model, suggests leaders with valued skills and expertise are chosen by followers who strive to emulate them...
February 19, 2019: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Benjamin C Campbell
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
February 9, 2019: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Janko Međedović
Previous theoretical accounts have predicted that warfare and intergroup conflict are environmental factors that contribute to the emergence of a fast life-history strategy. However, this assumption has never been directly empirically tested. We examined youth who grew up in a territory that experienced violent intergroup conflict and compared them with a control group (N = 215) on various life-history measures: age of first sexual intercourse, mating behavior, desired timing of marriage and first reproduction and desired number of children...
January 24, 2019: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Caitlyn D Placek, Holly Nishimura, Natalie Hudanick, Dionne Stephens, Purnima Madhivanan
HIV stigma and fears surrounding the disease pose a challenge for public health interventions, particularly those that target pregnant women. In order to reduce stigma and improve the lives of vulnerable populations, researchers have recognized a need to integrate different types of support at various levels. To better inform HIV interventions, the current study draws on social-ecological and evolutionary theories of reproduction to predict stigma and fear of contracting HIV among pregnant women in South India...
January 19, 2019: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Kristen L Syme, Edward H Hagen
Lethal and nonlethal suicidal behaviors are major global public health problems. Much suicidal behavior (SB) occurs after the suicide victim committed a murder or other serious transgression. The present study tested a novel evolutionary model termed the Costly Apology Model (CAM) against the ethnographic record. The bargaining model (BRM) sees nonlethal suicidal behavior as an evolved costly signal of need in the wake of adversity. Relying on this same theoretical framework, the CAM posits that nonlethal suicidal behavior can sometimes serve as an honest signal of apology in the wake of committing a severe transgression, thereby repairing valuable social relationships...
December 14, 2018: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Thomas S Kraft, Vivek V Venkataraman, Ivan Tacey, Nathaniel J Dominy, Kirk M Endicott
Identifying the determinants of reproductive success in small-scale societies is critical for understanding how natural selection has shaped human evolution and behavior. The available evidence suggests that status-accruing behaviors such as hunting and prosociality are pathways to reproductive success, but social egalitarianism may diminish this pathway. Here we introduce a mixed longitudinal/cross-sectional dataset based on 45 years of research with the Batek, a population of egalitarian rain forest hunter-gatherers in Peninsular Malaysia, and use it to test the effects of four predictors of lifetime reproductive success: (i) foraging return rate, (ii) sharing proclivity, (iii) cooperative foraging tendency, and (iv) kin presence...
December 14, 2018: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Davide Ponzi, Melissa Dandy
The endogenous opioid system has received attention and extensive research for its effects on reward, pleasure, and pain. However, relative to other neurochemicals, such as oxytocin, vasopressin and dopamine, the function of opioids in regulating human attachment, sociosexuality, and other aspects of human sociality has not received much consideration. For example, nonapeptides (oxytocin and vasopressin) have been extensively studied in animals and humans for their possible roles in mother-offspring attachment, romantic attachment, fatherhood, and social cognition...
December 5, 2018: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Sandrine Gallois, Miranda J Lubbers, Barry Hewlett, Victoria Reyes-García
The dynamics of knowledge transmission and acquisition, or how different aspects of culture are passed from one individual to another and how they are acquired and embodied by individuals, are central to understanding cultural evolution. In small-scale societies, cultural knowledge is largely acquired early in life through observation, imitation, and other forms of social learning embedded in daily experiences. However, little is known about the pathways through which such knowledge is transmitted, especially during middle childhood and adolescence...
December 2018: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Caroline Kelsey, Amrisha Vaish, Tobias Grossmann
Humans often behave more prosocially when being observed in person and even in response to subtle eye cues, purportedly to manage their reputation. Previous research on this phenomenon has employed the "watching eyes paradigm," in which adults displayed greater prosocial behavior in the presence of images of eyes versus inanimate objects. However, the robustness of the effect of eyes on prosocial behavior has recently been called into question. Therefore, the first goal of the present study was to attempt to replicate this effect...
December 2018: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Johannes Alfons Karl, Ronald Fischer
A central hypothesis to account for the ubiquity of rituals across cultures is their supposed anxiolytic effects: rituals being maintained because they reduce existential anxiety and uncertainty. We aimed to test the anxiolytic effects of rituals by investigating two possible underlying mechanisms for it: cognitive load and repetitive movement. In our pre-registered experiment (, 180 undergraduates took part in either a stress or a control condition and were subsequently assigned to either control, cognitive load, undirected movement, a combination of undirected movement and cognitive load, or a ritualistic intervention...
December 2018: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Nancy L Segal, Brittney A Hernandez, Jamie L Graham, Ulrich Ettinger
Relationships of physical resemblance to personality similarity and social affiliation have generated considerable discussion among behavioral science researchers. A "twin-like" experimental design (involving genetically unrelated look-alikes, U-LAs) explores associations among resemblance in appearance, the Big Five personality traits, self-esteem, and social attraction within an evolutionary framework. The Personality for Professionals Inventory (PfPI), NEO/NEO-FFI-3, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and a Social Relationship Survey were variously completed by 45 U-LA pairs, identified from the "I'm Not a Look-Alike" project, Mentorn Media, and personal referrals...
December 2018: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
John Thrasher, Toby Handfield
We present a theory of honor violence as a form of costly signaling. Two types of honor violence are identified: revenge and purification. Both types are amenable to a signaling analysis whereby the violent behavior is a signal that can be used by out-groups to draw inferences about the nature of the signaling group, thereby helping to solve perennial problems of social cooperation: deterrence and assurance. The analysis shows that apparently gratuitous acts of violence can be part of a system of norms that are Pareto superior to alternatives without such signals...
December 2018: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Caroline Kelsey, Amrisha Vaish, Tobias Grossmann
In Fig. 2 of the aforementioned article the mean value of the "chair" condition is incorrectly displayed as 0.011 when it should be 0.008. All statistics in the text are correct, and the conclusions remain the same.
November 15, 2018: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
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