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Peter J. Richerson [43]Peter Richerson [28]Peter I. Richerson [1]
  1.  32
    Cultural Group Selection Plays an Essential Role in Explaining Human Cooperation: A Sketch of the Evidence.Peter Richerson, Ryan Baldini, Adrian V. Bell, Kathryn Demps, Karl Frost, Vicken Hillis, Sarah Mathew, Emily K. Newton, Nicole Naar, Lesley Newson, Cody Ross, Paul E. Smaldino, Timothy M. Waring & Matthew Zefferman - 2016 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 39:1-71.
    Human cooperation is highly unusual. We live in large groups composed mostly of non-relatives. Evolutionists have proposed a number of explanations for this pattern, including cultural group selection and extensions of more general processes such as reciprocity, kin selection, and multi-level selection acting on genes. Evolutionary processes are consilient; they affect several different empirical domains, such as patterns of behavior and the proximal drivers of that behavior. In this target article, we sketch the evidence from five domains that bear on (...)
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  2. Five Misunderstandings About Cultural Evolution.Peter Richerson - 2008 - Human Nature 19 (2):119-137.
    Recent debates about memetics have revealed some widespread misunderstandings about Darwinian approaches to cultural evolution. Drawing from these debates, this paper disputes five common claims: (1) mental representations are rarely discrete, and therefore models that assume discrete, gene-like particles (i.e., replicators) are useless; (2) replicators are necessary for cumulative, adaptive evolution; (3) content-dependent psychological biases are the only important processes that affect the spread of cultural representations; (4) the “cultural fitness” of a mental representation can be inferred from its successful (...)
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  3.  46
    Culture and the Evolution of Human Cooperation.Robert Boyd & Peter J. Richerson - unknown
    Receive free email alerts when new articles cite this article - sign up in the box at the top here right-hand corner of the article or click..
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  4.  37
    The Evolution of Altruistic Punishment.Peter Richerson - manuscript
    Robert Boyd*†, Herbert Gintis‡, Samuel Bowles§, and Peter J. Richerson¶.
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  5.  58
    Group Beneficial Norms Can Spread Rapidly in a Structured Population.Robert Boyd & Peter J. Richerson - unknown
    Group beneficial norms are common in human societies. The persistence of such norms is consistent with evolutionary game theory, but existing models do not provide a plausible explanation for why they are common. We show that when a model of imitation used to derive replicator dynamics in isolated populations is generalized to allow for population structure, group beneficial norms can spread rapidly under plausible conditions. We also show that this mechanism allows recombination of different group beneficial norms arising in..
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  6.  70
    Why Culture is Common, but Cultural Evolution is Rare.Peter Richerson - manuscript
    If culture is defined as variation acquired and maintained by social learning, then culture is common in nature. However, cumulative cultural evolution resulting in behaviors that no individual could invent on their own is limited to humans, song birds, and perhaps chimpanzees. Circumstantial evidence suggests that cumulative cultural evolution requires the capacity for observational learning. Here, we analyze two models the evolution of psychological capacities that allow cumulative cultural evolution. Both models suggest that the conditions which allow the evolution of (...)
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  7. .Peter J. Richerson & Lesley Newson - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
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  8.  50
    Why Does Culture Increase Human Adaptability?Robert Boyd & Peter J. Richerson - unknown
    It is often argued that culture is adaptive because it allows people to acquire useful information without costly learning. In a recent paper Rogers analyzed a simple mathematical model that showed that this argument is wrong. Here we show that Rogers ' result is robust. As long as the only benefit of social learning is that imitators avoid learning costs, social learning does not increase average fitness. However, we also show that social learning can be adaptive if it makes individual (...)
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  9.  43
    Tribal S Ocial Instin Cts a Nd the Cultural Evolution O F Institutions to Solv E Col Lecti Ve Action Problems.Peter Richerson - unknown
    Human social life is uniquely complex and diverse. Much of that complexity consists of culturally transmitted ideas and skills that underpin the operation of institutions that structure our social life. Considerable theoretical and empirical work has been devoted to the role of cultural evolutionary processes in the evolution of institutions. The most persistent controversy has been over the role of cultural group selection and gene-culture coevolution in early human populations the Pleistocene. We argue that cultural group selection and related cultural (...)
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  10.  39
    Memes: Universal Acid or a Better Mouse Trap?Peter Richerson - manuscript
    Among the many vivid metaphors in Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, one stands out. The understanding of how cumulative natural selection gives rise to adaptations is, Dennett says, like a “universal acid”—an idea so powerful and corrosive of conventional wisdom that it dissolves all attempts to contain it within biology. Like most good ideas, this one is very simple: Once replicators (material objects that are faithfully copied) come to exist, some will replicate more rapidly than others, leading to adaptation by natural selection. (...)
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  11.  18
    Complex Societies.Peter J. Richerson & Robert Boyd - 1999 - Human Nature 10 (3):253-289.
    The complexity of human societies of the past few thousand years rivals that of social insect societies. We hypothesize that two sets of social “instincts” underpin and constrain the evolution of complex societies. One set is ancient and shared with other social primate species, and one is derived and unique to our lineage. The latter evolved by the late Pleistocene, and led to the evolution of institutions of intermediate complexity in acephalous societies. The institutions of complex societies often conflict with (...)
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  12.  76
    Cultural Evolution of Human Cooperation.Peter Richerson - manuscript
    Evolutionary theory relevant to the question of human cooperation is reviewed and compared to other theoretical perspectives. A compound explanation is distilled as a plausible account of human cooperation and selfishness. This account leans heavily on group selection on cultural variation but also includes lower-level forces driven by both micro-scale cooperation and purely selfish motives. It is proposed that innate aspects of human social psychology coevolved with group-selected cultural institutions to produce just the kinds of social and moral faculties originally (...)
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  13. The Evolution of Indirect Reciprocity.Robert Boyd & Peter J. Richerson - unknown
    Human societies are based on cooperation among large numbers of genetically unrelated individuals. This behavior is puzzling from an evolutionary perspective. Because cooperators are..
     
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  14.  50
    The Evolution of Human Ultra-Sociality.Peter Richerson - manuscript
    E.O. Wilson (1975) described humans as one of the four pinnacles of social evolution. The other pinnacles are the colonial invertebrates, the social insects, and the non-human mammals. Wilson separated human sociality from that of the rest of the mammals because, with the exception of the social insect like Naked Mole Rats, only humans have generated societies of a grade of complexity that approaches that of the social insects and colonial invertebrates. In the last few millennia, human societies have even (...)
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  15.  33
    Shared Norms Can Lead to the Evolution of Ethnic Markers.Robert Boyd & Peter J. Richerson - unknown
    Most human populations are subdivided into ethnic groups which have self-ascribed membership and are marked by seemingly arbitrary traits such as distinctive styles of dress or speech. Existing explanations of ethnicity do not adequately explain the origin and maintenance of group marking. Here we develop a mathematical model which shows that groups distinguished by both differences in social norms and in arbitrary markers can emerge and remain stable despite significant mixing between them, if (1) people preferentially interact in mutually beneficial (...)
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  16.  53
    Complex Societies.Peter J. Richerson & Robert Boyd - 1999 - Human Nature 10 (3):253-289.
    The complexity of human societies of the past few thousand years rivals that of social insect societies. We hypothesize that two sets of social “instincts” underpin and constrain the evolution of complex societies. One set is ancient and shared with other social primate species, and one is derived and unique to our lineage. The latter evolved by the late Pleistocene, and led to the evolution of institutions of intermediate complexity in acephalous societies. The institutions of complex societies often conflict with (...)
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  17.  25
    Cultural Innovations and Demographic Change.Peter J. Richerson - unknown
    Demography plays a large role in cultural evolution through its effects on the effective rate of innovation. If we assume that useful inventions are rare, then small isolated societies will have low rates of invention. In small populations, complex technology will tend to be lost as a result of random loss or incomplete transmission (the Tasmanian effect). Large populations have more inventors and are more resistant to loss by chance. If human populations can grow freely, then a population-technology-population positive feedback (...)
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  18.  38
    Cultural Evolution in Laboratory Microsocieties Including Traditions of Rule Giving and Rule Following.William M. Baum & Peter J. Richerson - unknown
    Experiments may contribute to understanding the basic processes of cultural evolution. We drew features from previous laboratory research with small groups in which traditions arose during several generations. Groups of four participants chose by consensus between solving anagrams printed on red cards and on blue cards. Payoffs for the choices differed. After 12 min, the participant who had been in the experiment the longest was removed and replaced with a naı¨ve person. These replacements, each of which marked the end of (...)
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  19. Rapid Cultural Adaptation Can Facilitate the Evolution of Large-Scale Cooperation.Robert Boyd & Peter J. Richerson - unknown
    Over the past several decades, we have argued that cultural evolution can facilitate the evolution of largescale cooperation because it often leads to more rapid adaptation than genetic evolution, and, when multiple stable equilibria exist, rapid adaptation leads to variation among groups. Recently, Lehmann, Feldman, and colleagues have published several papers questioning this argument. They analyze models showing that cultural evolution can actually reduce the range of conditions under which cooperation can evolve and interpret these models as indicating that we (...)
     
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  20.  34
    The Evolution of Subjective Commitment to Groups: A Tribal Instincts Hypothesis.Peter Richerson - manuscript
    Version 3.0 12/02/00. Submitted to R.M. Nesse The Evolution of Subjective Commitment, Russell Sage Foundation. Please do not cite without author’s permission.  by Peter J. Richerson and Robert Boyd. Comments welcome! Word count 14,487.
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  21.  15
    Cultural Group Selection Follows Darwin's Classic Syllogism for the Operation of Selection.Peter Richerson, Ryan Baldini, Adrian V. Bell, Kathryn Demps, Karl Frost, Vicken Hillis, Sarah Mathew, Emily K. Newton, Nicole Naar, Lesley Newson, Cody Ross, Paul E. Smaldino, Timothy M. Waring & Matthew Zefferman - 2016 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 39.
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  22.  56
    Climate, Culture and the Evolution of Cognition.Peter J. Richerson & Robert Boyd - 2000 - In Celia Heyes & Ludwig Huber (eds.), The Evolution of Cognition. MIT Press. pp. 329--45.
    What are the causes of the evolution of complex cognition? Discussions of the evolution of cognition sometimes seem to assume that more complex cognition is a fundamental advance over less complex cognition, as evidenced by a broad trend toward larger brains in evolutionary history. Evolutionary biologists are suspicious of such explanations since they picture natural selection as a process leading to adaptation to local environments, not to progressive trends. Cognitive adaptations will have costs, and more complex cognition will evolve only (...)
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  23.  15
    The Search for an Alternative to the Sociobiological Hypothesis.Peter J. Richerson & Robert T. Boyd - 1981 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 4 (2):248-249.
  24.  48
    Are Cultural Phylogenies Possible?Robert Boyd, Monique Bogerhoff-Mulder & Peter J. Richerson - unknown
    Biology and the social sciences share an interest in phylogeny. Biologists know that living species are descended from past species, and use the pattern of similarities among living species to reconstruct the history of phylogenetic branching. Social scientists know that the beliefs, values, practices, and artifacts that characterize contemporary societies are descended from past societies, and some social science disciplines, linguistics and cross cultural anthropology for example, have made use of observed similarities to reconstruct cultural histories. Darwin appreciated that his (...)
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  25. Gene–Culture Coevolution and the Evolution of Social Institutions.Robert Boyd & Peter J. Richerson - unknown
    Social institutions are the laws, informal rules, and conventions that give durable structure to social interactions within a population. Such institutions are typically not designed consciously, are heritable at the population level, are frequently but not always group benefi cial, and are often symbolically marked. Conceptualizing social institutions as one of multiple possible stable cultural equilibrium allows a straightforward explanation of their properties. The evolution of institutions is partly driven by both the deliberate and intuitive decisions of individuals and collectivities. (...)
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  26.  72
    Transmission Coupling Mechanisms: Cultural Group Selection.Robert Boyd & Peter J. Richerson - unknown
    The application of phylogenetic methods to cultural variation raises questions about how cultural adaption works and how it is coupled to cultural transmission. Cultural group selection is of particular interest in this context because it depends on the same kinds of mechanisms that lead to tree-like patterns of cultural variation. Here, we review ideas about cultural group selection relevant to cultural phylogenetics. We discuss why group selection among multiple equilibria is not subject to the usual criticisms directed at group selection, (...)
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  27.  46
    Institutional Evolution in the Holocene: The Rise of Complex Societies.Peter Richerson - manuscript
    Summary: The evolution of complex societies began when agricultural subsistence systems raised human population densities to levels that would support large scale cooperation, and division of labor. All agricultural origins sequences postdate 11,500 years ago probably because late Pleistocene climates we extremely variable, dry, and the atmosphere was low in carbon dioxide. Under such conditions, agriculture was likely impossible. However, the tribal scale societies of the Pleistocene did acquire, by geneculture coevolution, tribal social instincts that simultaneously enable and constrain the (...)
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  28.  30
    Beyond Existence and Aiming Outside the Laboratory: Estimating Frequency-Dependent and Payoff-Biased Social Learning Strategies.Peter J. Richerson - unknown
    The existence of social learning has been confirmed in diverse taxa, from apes to guppies. In order to advance our understanding of the consequences of social transmission and evolution of behavior, however, we require statistical tools that can distinguish among diverse social learning strategies. In this paper, we advance two main ideas. First, social learning is diverse, in the sense that individuals can take advantage of different kinds of information and combine them in different ways. Examining learning strategies for different (...)
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  29.  18
    Why Do People Become Modern? A Darwinian Explanation.Peter J. Richerson - unknown
    MOST MODERN PEOPLE think it is obvious why people become modern. For them, a more interesting and important puzzle is why some people fail to embrace modern ideas. Why do people in traditional societies often seem unable or unwilling to aspire to a better life for themselves and their children? Why do they fail to see the benefi ts of education, equal rights, democracy, and a rational approach to decisionmaking? What is the glue that makes them adhere to superstition, religion, (...)
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  30.  17
    Solving the Puzzle of Human Cooperation.Peter Richerson - manuscript
    Is society an organic whole with each of its many components working together like the organs in a body? Like organisms, societies are composed of many parts which seem to work together enhance their survival. Different people fulfill different, necessary role—subsistence, reproduction, coordination, and defense. Regular exchange of matter and energy guarantees that each component has the resources it needs. Norms, laws and customs regulate virtually every aspect of social interaction, who may marry who, how disputes are resolved, and how (...)
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  31.  36
    Built for Speed, Not for Comfort.Peter J. Richerson & Robert Boyd - 2001 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 23:423-463.
  32.  33
    Built for Speed: Pleistocene Climate Variation and the Origin of Human Culture.Peter Richerson - manuscript
    Recently, several authors have argued that the Pleistocene climatic fluctuations are responsible for the evolution of human anatomy and cognition. This hypothesis contrasts with the common idea that human language, tools, and culture represent a revolutionary breakthrough rather than a conventional adaptation to a particular ecological niche. Neither hypothesis is satisfactory. The “Pleistocene hypothesis”, as proposed, does not explain how Pleistocene fluctuations favor the particular adaptations that characterize humans. The alternative hypothesis does not explain what has prevented many animal lineages (...)
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  33.  34
    Rethinking Paleoanthropology.Peter J. Richerson - unknown
    Ongoing advances in paleoclimatology and paleoecology are producing an ever more detailed picture of the environments in which our species evolved. This picture is important to understanding the processes by which our large brain evolved. Our large brain and its productions—toolmaking, complex social institutions, language, art, religion—are our most striking differences from our closest living relatives. Indeed, humans are unique in the animal world for our brain size relative to body mass and in the elaboration of our cultures. We are (...)
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  34.  44
    Was Human Evolution Driven by Pleistocene Climate Change?Lucia C. Neco & Peter J. Richerson - 2014 - Ciência and Ambiente 1 (48):107-117.
    Modern humans are probably a product of social and anatomical preadaptations on the part of our Miocene australopithecine ancestors combined with the increasingly high amplitude, high frequency climate variation of the Pleistocene. The genus Homo first appeared in the early Pleistocene as ice age climates began to grip the earth. We hypothesize that this co-occurrence is causal. The human ability to adapt by cultural means is, in theory, an adaptation to highly variable environments because cultural evolution can better track rapidly (...)
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  35.  77
    Norms and Bounded Rationality.Robert Boyd & Peter J. Richerson - unknown
    Anthropologists believe that human behavior is governed by culturally transmitted norms, and that such norms contain accumulated wisdom that allows people to behave sensibly even though they do not understand why they do what they do. Economists and other rational choice theorists have been skeptical about functionalist claims because anthropologists have not provided any plausible mechanism which could explain why norms have this property. Here, we outline two such mechanisms. We show that occasional learning when coupled with cultural transmission and (...)
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  36.  41
    Evolution on a Restless Planet: Were Environmental Variability and Environmental Change Major Drivers of Human Evolution?Peter J. Richerson & Robert Boyd - unknown
    Two kinds of factors set the tempo and direction of organic and cultural evolution, those external to biotic evolutionary process, such as changes in the earth’s physical and chemical environments, and those internal to it, such as the time required for chance factors to lead lineages across adaptive valleys to a new niche space (Valentine 1985). The relative importance of these two sorts of processes is widely debated. Valentine (1973) argued that marine invertebrate diversity patterns responded to seafloor spreading as (...)
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  37. Darwinian Evolutionary Ethics: Between Patriotism and Sympathy.Peter J. Richerson & Robert Boyd - 2004 - In Phillip Clayton & Jeffrey Schloss (eds.), Evolution and Ethics: Human Morality in Biological and Religious Perspective. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. pp. 50--77.
  38. Simple Models of Complex Phenomena: The Case of Cultural Evolution.Peter J. Richerson & Robert Boyd - 1987 - In John Dupre (ed.), The Latest on the Best: Essays on Evolution and Optimality. MIT Press. pp. 27--52.
     
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  39.  26
    Style, Function, and Cultural Evolutionary Processes.Robert Boyd & Peter Richerson - unknown
    Version 4.4 October, 1994 Introduction When explaining human behavior, anthropologists frequently distinguish the things that people do of their own free will from the things they do because they have to. In much of anthropology, and most American archaeology, this is the difference between style and function. Functional behaviors are the things people are constrained to do; stylistic behaviors are the things people do when unconstrained. Where necessity stops and free choice begins is, of course, a classic problem of social (...)
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  40.  46
    Response to Our Critics.Peter J. Richerson & Robert Boyd - 2008 - Biology and Philosophy 23 (2):301-315.
  41. Why Possibly Language Evolved.Peter J. Richerson & Robert Boyd - unknown
    Human syntactic language has no close parallels in other systems of animal communication. Yet it seems to be an important part of the cultural adaptation that serves to make humans the earth’s dominant organism. Why is language restricted to humans given that communication seems to be so useful? We argue that language is part of human cooperation. We talk because others can normally trust what we say to be useful to them, not just to us. Models of gene-culture coevolution give (...)
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  42.  94
    Is Religion Adaptive? Yes, No, Neutral. But Mostly We Don't Know.Peter J. Richerson & Lesley Newson - 2009 - In . Oxford University Press. pp. 100-117.
    Accession Number: ATLA0001788477; Hosting Book Page Citation: p 100-117.; Language(s): English; Issued by ATLA: 20130825; Publication Type: Essay.
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  43.  28
    Is Religion Adaptive?Peter Richerson - manuscript
    We argue that the question “Is Religion Adaptive?” has no simple answer. We will use evolutionary theory as a tool to outline a theory of adaptation and maladaptations as regards religion. Evolutionary theory gives us access to concepts and theoretical and empirical tools that have been very successful in explaining biological diversity. Of course the tools of evolutionary biology have been mostly developed through the study of non-human living organisms with the assumption that it is genes that are evolving. The (...)
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  44.  33
    Built for Speed, Not for Comfort. Darwinian Theory and Human Culture.Peter J. Richerson & Robert Boyd - 1997 - Philosophica 60 (3/4):425 - 465.
  45.  79
    A Prolegomenon to Nonlinear Empiricism in the Human Behavioral Sciences.Charles Efferson & Peter J. Richerson - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (1):1-33.
    We propose a general framework for integrating theory and empiricism in human evolutionary ecology. We specifically emphasize the joint use of stochastic nonlinear dynamics and information theory. To illustrate critical ideas associated with historical contingency and complex dynamics, we review recent research on social preferences and social learning from behavioral economics. We additionally examine recent work on ecological approaches in history, the modeling of chaotic populations, and statistical application of information theory.
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  46.  93
    Culture, Adaptation, and Innateness.Robert Boyd & Peter Richerson - 2006 - In Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence & Stephen P. Stich (eds.), The Innate Mind: Structure and Contents.
    It is almost 30 years since the sociobiology controversy burst into full bloom. The modern theory of the evolution of animal behavior was born in the mid 1960’s with Bill Hamilton’s seminal papers on inclusive fitness and George William’s book Adaptation and Natural Selection. The following decade saw an avalanche of important ideas on the evolution of sex ratio, animal conflicts, parental investment, and reciprocity, setting off a revolution our understanding of animal societies, a revolution that is still going on (...)
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  47.  20
    The Punishment That Sustains Cooperation is Often Coordinated and Costly.Samuel Bowles, Robert Boyd, Sarah Mathew & Peter J. Richerson - 2012 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 35 (1):20 - 21.
    Experiments are not models of cooperation; instead, they demonstrate the presence of the ethical and other-regarding predispositions that often motivate cooperation and the punishment of free-riders. Experimental behavior predicts subjects' cooperation in the field. Ethnographic studies in small-scale societies without formal coercive institutions demonstrate that disciplining defectors is both essential to cooperation and often costly to the punisher.
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  48.  56
    A Simple Dual Inheritance Model of the Conflict Between Social and Biological Evolution.Robort Boyd & Peter J. Richerson - 1976 - Zygon 11 (3):254-262.
  49.  24
    Culture is Part of Human Biology.Peter J. Richerson & Robert Boyd - unknown
    Rates of violence in the American South have long been much greater than in the North. Accounts of duels, feuds, bushwhackings, and lynchings occur prominently in visitors’ accounts, newspaper articles, and autobiography from the 18th Century onward. According to crime statistics these differences persist today. In their book, Culture of Honor, Richard Nisbett and Dov Cohen argue that the South is more violent than the North because Southerners have different, culturally acquired beliefs about personal honor than Northerners. The South was (...)
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  50.  24
    The Evolution of Free Enterprise Values.Peter J. Richerson & Robert Boyd - unknown
    Free enterprise economic systems evolved in the modern period as culturally transmitted values related to honesty, hard work, and education achievement emerged. One evolutionary puzzle is why most economies for the past 5,000 years have had a limited role for free enterprise given the spectacular success of modern free economies. Another is why if humans became biologically modern 50,000 years ago did it take until 11,000 years ago for agriculture, the economic foundation of states, to begin. Why didn’t free enterprise (...)
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