Daily Archives: April 11, 2014

A Cooperative Species: Human Reciprocity and Its Evolution

Why do humans, uniquely among animals, cooperate in large numbers to advance projects for the common good? Contrary to the conventional wisdom in biology and economics, this generous and civic-minded behavior is widespread and cannot be explained simply by far-sighted … Continue reading

Posted in Cooperation, Evolution, Humans, Social emotions | Tagged , , ,

Culture and the Evolution of Human Cooperation

The scale of human cooperation is an evolutionary puzzle. All of the available evidence suggests that the societies of our Pliocene ancestors were like those of other social primates, and this means that human psychology has changed in ways that … Continue reading

Posted in Cooperation, Cultural cognition, Culture, Evolution | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

The Social Function of Intellect

Nature is surely at least as careful an economist as Henry Ford. It is not her habit to tolerate needless extravagance in the animals on her production lines: superfluous capacity is trimmed back, new capacity added only as and when … Continue reading

Posted in Intellect, Social | Tagged ,

Natural Pedagogy as Evolutionary Adaptation

We propose that the cognitive mechanisms that enable the transmission of cultural knowledge by communication between individuals constitute a system of ‘natural pedagogy’ in humans, and represent an evolutionary adaptation along the hominin lineage. We discuss three kinds of arguments … Continue reading

Posted in Evolution, Humans, Natural pedagogy | Tagged , ,