PerspectiveCULTURAL EVOLUTION

Behavioral convergence in humans and animals

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  15 Jan 2021:
Vol. 371, Issue 6526, pp. 235-236
DOI: 10.1126/science.abf7572

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Summary

Over the 20th century, the social sciences developed without taking much notice of humans' nature as products of evolution. In the 1970s this attitude was challenged by behavioral biologists (1, 2) who asserted that general principles concerning the behavior of life forms must also be relevant to understanding human behavior. They argued that because human cognition and emotions had evolved by natural selection, these behavior-generating mechanisms should generally shape behavior so that it maximizes biological fitness. Not all social scientists agreed. Cultural anthropologists, in particular, were mostly aghast at the rigidly scientific and overtly biological nature of this perspective, viewing it as blatantly flawed (3). They claimed that differences between and within human societies were mainly due to variant cultural belief systems. On page 292 of this issue, Barsbai et al. (4) show that adaptation to local ecological conditions is an important determinant of variation in human behavior in traditional societies.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science