Toward a better understanding of prosocial behavior: The role of evolution and directed attention

Behavioral and Brain Sciences (Impact Factor: 20.77). 03/2002; 25(02):263 - 264. DOI: 10.1017/S0140525X02360059


Rachlin's thought-provoking analysis could be strengthened by greater openness to evolutionary interpretation and the use of the directed attention concept as a component of self-control. His contribution to the understanding of prosocial behavior would also benefit from abandoning the traditional (and excessively restrictive) definition of altruism.

Download full-text


Available from: Raymond K De Young, Oct 03, 2015
183 Reads
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Song repertoires may be a product of sexual selection and several studies have reported correlations of repertoire size and reproductive success in male songbirds. This hypothesis and the reported correlations, however, are not sufficient to explain the observation that most species have small song repertoire sizes (usually fewer than 10, often fewer than five song types). We examined a second important aspect of a male's song repertoire, the extent to which he shares songs with his neighbours. Song sharing has not been measured in previous studies and it may be partially confounded with repertoire size. We hypothesized that in song sparrows, Melospiza melodia, song sharing rather than repertoire size per se is crucial for male territorial success. Our longitudinal study of 45 song sparrows followed from their first year on territory showed that the number of songs a bird shares with his neighbourhood group is a better predictor of lifetime territory tenure than is his repertoire size. We also found that song sharing increases with repertoire size up to but not beyond eight to nine song types, which are the most common repertoire sizes in the population (range in our sample 5-13). This partial confound of song sharing and repertoire size may account for some earlier findings of territory tenure-repertoire size correlations in this species and other species having small- or medium-sized repertoires. Copyright 2000 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.
    Animal Behaviour 02/2000; 59(1):29-37. DOI:10.1006/anbe.1999.1304 · 3.14 Impact Factor
  • Source
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Theorists have only recently shown that cooperation through indirect reciprocity can evolve. The first modelling approach favoured a mechanism called image scoring. Helping someone increases ones image score, whereas refusing to help reduces it. The evolutionary outcome vv as a discriminator image scoring strategy that helps everybody who has, for example, a positive image score. Two experimental studies with humans found results that were compatible with discriminator image scoring. However, a new analysis of other theorists, leased on another population structure, has cast doubts on the evolutionary stability of strategies using the recipient's score as a sole basis for decision. The new theoretical study confirmed that a strategy aiming at 'good standing' has superior properties and easily beats image scoring. :fin individual loses good standing by failing to help a recipient in good standing, whereas failing to help recipients who lack good standing does not damage the standing of a potential donor (but would reduce his image score). The present empirical study with 23 groups of seven human subjects each was designed for distinguishing between the two proposed mechanisms experimentally. The results differed strongly from standing strategies, which might demand too much working memory capacity; but were compatible with image scoring or a similar strategy to a large extent. Furthermore, donors of constant 'NO players' compensated for their refusing to help these players by being snore generous to others
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 01/2002; 268(1484). DOI:10.1098/rspb.2001.1809 · 5.05 Impact Factor
Show more