Presentation on theme: "Sociobiology & Evolutionary Psychology. Sociobiology Sociobiology was founded by E.O. Wilson (1929 - ) in his book: Sociobiology: The New Synthesis (1975)"— Presentation transcript:
Sociobiology & Evolutionary Psychology
Sociobiology Sociobiology was founded by E.O. Wilson ( ) in his book: Sociobiology: The New Synthesis (1975)
Sociobiology According to Wilson, Sociobiology is the “scientific study of the biological basis of all social behaviour” (Wilson, 1975).
Sociobiology Thus Sociobiology assumes that social behaviour (including human social behaviour) is based on biology and genetics. By favouring certain genes controlling behaviour and eliminating others, evolution by natural selection has created human social behaviour that we see in all cultures.
Sociobiology This means that many of the behaviors we believed were a result of the influence of parents, peers, society, etc… (the social environment), Wilson claims may really be the product of biology. Nature Nurture Sociobiology is definitely on the nature side of the nature- nurture continuum.
Sociobiology By “social behavior” is meant many of the key behaviours dealing with an organism’s interaction with other members of its social group. This includes behaviours like:
Even religious belief
Sociobiology By “biological basis,” Wilson is saying that these behaviours are caused by genes. This is somewhat like saying that many behaviours are “instinctual” rather than learned. For example, the sex instinct is really the same as saying there are genes that make us like sex (as well as genes that have created the appropriate body parts for it).
Sociobiology For Wilson, some genes are like biological programs (biograms) that are “executed” when provided with the right trigger (stimuli).
Sociobiology Wilson began as an entymologist – a scientist who studies insects. Specifically, he studied the social insects (ants, termites and bees), especially ants.
Sociobiology Partly because of controversy, sociobiology became less fashionable in the 1980s. However, a very similar “science” (?) developed in the 1980s called…
Evolutionary Psychology (ep)
One key name in evolutionary psychology (ep) is Richard Dawkins
Evolutionary Psychology Dawkins’ book, The Selfish Gene (1976) made quite a splash. In it, Dawkins argues that we are all just temporary, mortal “lumbering robots” or “survival machines” built by genes for their own protection and reproduction.
Evolutionary Psychology After all, we are all products of our parents’ genes. And they are all products of their parents’ genes and so on… Also, our genes guide the whole process of growth from fertilized egg to adult and even up to death. In short, they build our bodies and, says Dawkins, they build our minds. Finally, our lives are dedicated to finding mates who will produce children who themselves will inherit… guess what? Our genes!
Evolutionary Psychology Unlike our mortal bodies, genes, Dawkins says, are potentially immortal since they can be passed on from one generation to the other, theoretically, forever!
Evolutionary Psychology For Dawkins genes are not just the blueprint of all living things, they are the raison d’etre of all living things. The Selfish Gene made quite a splash
Evolutionary Psychology Like sociobiology, ep argues that human behaviour is shaped by genes and evolution.
Evolutionary Psychology Thus, despite our modern civilization, we still have within us inherited behaviours that date back to paleolithic times!
Evolutionary Psychology For ep this explains many things: –Why humans are still aggressive and warlike –Why humans also sometimes co-operate and help each other (altruism) –Why males and females differ in their sexual behaviour –Why religion exists –Why some people are shy and others extroverted –Why males are better at some intellectual skills and females better at others –Etc…
Evolutionary Psychology All these behaviours can be explained by the genes “desire” to survive and maximize their own reproduction.
Evolutionary Psychology One way to understand their thinking is to examine the behaviour of “altruism” Altruism, Wilson said, was the “central problem of sociobiology” (and ep too!). (next class!)