Ancestral War and the Evolutionary Origins of Heroism
State University of New York (SUNY) - Department of Political Science
University of Oregon - Department of Psychology
affiliation not provided to SSRN
University of Oregon - Institute of Cognitive and Decision Sciences
Journal of Politics, Vol. 69, Issue 4, pp. 927-940, November 2007
Primatological and archaeological evidence along with anthropological accounts of hunter-gatherer societies indicate that lethal between-group violence may have been sufficiently frequent during our ancestral past to have shaped our evolved behavioral repertoire. Two simulations explore the possibility that heroism (risking one's life fighting for the group) evolved as a specialized form of altruism in response to war. We show that war selects strongly for heroism but only weakly for a domain-general altruistic propensity that promotes both heroism and other privately costly, group-benefiting behaviors. A complementary analytical model shows that domain-specific heroism should evolve more readily when groups are small and mortality in defeated groups is high, features that are plausibly characteristic of our collective ancestral past.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 14Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: December 11, 2007
© 2013 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This page was processed by apollo3 in 0.579 seconds