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Production, social controls, and ideology: Toward a sociobiology of the phenotype

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... Unfor- tunately, the mantra still echoes through the numerous accounts of evolutionary theory that are written for the human sciences and popular audiences today (e.g., Alexander 1987;Archer 1991;Cronin 1991;Daly & Wilson 1988;R. H. Frank 1988;Krebs 1987;MacDonald 1988b;Noonan 1987;Sagan & Druyan 1992)., ...
... Even the most recent accounts of evolution for the human sciences treat inclusive fitness and group selection as separate mechanisms (e.g., Alexander 1987;Archer 1991;Daly & Wilson 1988;R. H. Frank 1988;Krebs 1987;MacDonald 1988b;Noonan 1987). We will consider one of these treatments in detail because it allows us to make a number of important points throughout the rest of our paper. ...
... The implication of W & S's work however, is that social con- trols and ideologies acting within the group may serve to struc- ture reproductive opportunities, with the result that there is no theoretical reason to suppose that wealthy and powerful individ- uals will always maximize their individual fitness. This is in fact what empirical investigation reveals in the case of prototypical Western societies, including Republican Rome and Western European societies since approximately the 12th century (MacDonald 1983;. Socially imposed monogamy in stratified societies is the result of a variety of internal political processes whose outcome is underdetermined by evolutionary/ecological theory or human nature/nurture. ...
... No historical data are provided which indicate that SIM developed as a result of bargaining processes centering around the need for specialized, irreplaceable labor or that SIM originated with the recent rise of industrialization. In the following, data will be presented indicating that SIM developed far earlier than the industrial revolution and has been maintained by several different processes (see also MacDonald, 1983MacDonald, , 1990). ...
... However, the variables emphasized here posit a role for coercive processes in which wealthy males are prevented by social controls from optimizing their reproductive success. These social controls can range from the subtle effects of group pressure for conformity to laws or social practices prohibiting polygyny or penalizing the offspring of non-monogamous relationships (MacDonald, 1983;. Stratified societies are characterized by the possibility of very stringent controls on human behavior, and Betzig (1986) presents many examples in which high levels of centralized political control (i. ...
... 16 I suggest that as a result of institutionalized controls on reproduction, non-monogamous Western sexuality has been directed at obtaining psychological rewards deriving from evolved motivational systems (e. g., sexual pleasure, excitement, feelings of dominance, status, or intimacy) but that this non-monogamous sexuality has not typically been a major source of increased reproductive success (See also Fox, 1986). The main exception to this is the early-to mid-Medieval period when the West was confronted with tribal cultures characterized by resource polygyny, and there have been a few religious heresies which have practiced genuine polygyny (e. g., 19th-century Mormonism [see MacDonald, 1983] and several radical Protestant sects, such as the 16th-century German anabaptists who were ruthlessly suppressed by the authorities [Cairncross, 1974]). As a result, sexual behavior and attitudes have ranged between the extremes of Puritanism and libertinism, but have never approached the systems of legitimate intensive polygyny characteristic of other traditional stratified societies. ...
Article
Although stratified societies have typically been characterized by intensive polygyny, socially imposed monogamy has developed in the stratified societies of Western Europe. Following a critical review of other theories of socially imposed monogamy, a multivariate, non-deterministic theory is developed. Within this theory a variety of internal political processes can result in socially imposed monogamy, but socially imposed monogamy, while consistent with evolutionary theory, is underdetermined with respect to 1.) evolutionary theory; 2.) human nature/nurture (i. e., the characteristics of humans); or 3.) external ecological variables. Data on the origins and maintenance of socially imposed monogamy in Western Europe are reviewed indicating that post-antiquity socially imposed monogamy originated in the late Middle Ages and has been maintained by a variety of social controls and ideologies since that period, including political activities of the Christian Church, and, in later periods, women and lower and middle status males. As a result of institutionalized controls on reproduction, non-monogamous Western sexuality has been directed at obtaining psychological rewards deriving from evolved motivational systems (e. g., sexual pleasure, excitement, feelings of dominance, status, or intimacy) but this non-monogamous sexuality has not typically been a major source of increased reproductive success.
... Social controls are restrictions imposed on people as a consequence of their membership within a particular society or group (MacDonald, 1983MacDonald, , 1990MacDonald, , 1994MacDonald, , 1995). In the literature on models of the evolution of culture, social controls are norms that involve punishment for transgressions (e.g., Boyd and Richerson, 1992; Henrich and Henrich, 2007). ...
... Particularly interesting from an evolutionary perspective are social controls that establish and maintain egalitarian versus anti-egalitarian economic or mating patterns. Consider, for example, sexual behavior among males (MacDonald, 1983MacDonald, , 1990MacDonald, , 1995). Evolutionary theory is highly compatible with the proposition that males within a society have conflicts of interest regarding the regulation of reproduction. ...
Article
This article develops an evolutionary theory of conflict over the construction of culture that is informed by current knowledge of psychological mechanisms. Psychological mechanisms important for the production of culture include (1) general intelligence (including the ability to engender hypothetical scenarios and means-end reasoning necessary for constructing tools and other exemplars of technology); (2) explicit processing mechanisms (e.g., symbolic representations of the world). Explicit processing allows humans to regulate modular mechanisms in accordance with culturally constructed norms and culturally constructed cost/benefit payoff schedules. It also enables active attempts to construct culture in accordance with explicit perceptions of possible costs and benefits. Because people have different construals of the costs and benefits of particular forms of culture, there is conflict over the construction of culture. Social controls and ideologies are introduced as general cultural categories that are enabled by explicit processing and which are able to regulate and motivate behavior within particular historical contexts, at times in ways that conflict with evolved predispositions. Ideologies are often intimately intertwined with various social controls but are logically and psychologically independent from social controls. Ideologies typically rationalize extant social controls but they also benefit from the power of social controls to enforce ideological conformity in schools or in religious institutions. Because of the control of explicit processing over behavior, this theory predicts that conflicts over culture will often be intense. Discussion deals with the implications of this model for group selection, cultural transmission, gene-culture co-evolution, and the various types of conflicts of interest apparent in conflicts over the construction of culture.
... Richerson and Boyd (1989) have argued that personal ideologies and any associated behavior can depart radically from that predicted by an optimality model. Moreover, personal ideologies appear to be important for the social imposition of monogamy (MacDonald, 1983; and may therefore influence whether one behaves in conformity with DP proclivities. Although there is a large main effect such that personal ideologies often serve evolutionary goals (i. ...
... On the assumption that wealthy males are not a random sample of their gene pool, large disparities among males in control of sexual resources and consequent enforced bachelorhood for many males would result in a restriction of genetic variation compared to a society with enforced monogamy. In this case, therefore, societal-level processes involving social controls and ideology (see MacDonald, 1983; have effects on genetic variance in the population. ...
Article
In this paper a theory of Darwinian psychological adaptations as motive dispositions with an affective core is developed, and it is argued that 1) there is significant plasticity in these mechanisms; 2) in addition to domain-specific evolved motive dispositions, there are a variety of domain-general cognitive and emotional mechanisms; 3) humans are capable of developing motive dispositions which are not adaptations; 4) the relationship between evolved motive dispositions and behavior is very tenuous so that the explanatory power of Darwinian psychology is very weak; 5) individual differences in human psychological characteristics are evolutionarily meaningful and are linked to mechanisms which assess the resource value of intraspecific genetic and phenotypic diversity.
... There is reason to suppose the existence of such nonevolved motive dispositions and to suppose that they can successfully compete with evolved motive dispositions. Richerson and Boyd (1989) have argued that personal ideologies and any associated behavior can depart radically from that predicted by an optimality model, and in previous work I have emphasized that personal ideologies are irreducible to evolved psychological traits of individuals, are underdetermined by biological theory, and interact with but are independent of social controls on individual behavior (MacDonald, 1983(MacDonald, , 1988(MacDonald, , 1990). Thus individual males and even entire cultures have adopted ideologies of male sexual restraint despite the apparent existence of evolved adaptations toward male sexual promiscuity and despite the fact that such behavior is not optimal for wealthy males. ...
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This paper interprets the Five Factor Model as subsuming variation in normative, speciestypical systems with adaptive functions in the human environment of evolutionary adaptedness. It is argued that the evolutionary logic of personality systems is apparent in the patterning of mean sex differences in personality. Personality systems are conceptualized as evolved motivational systems with an affective core. The evolved motive dispositions at the core of personality anchor a hierarchy of levels of cognitive and behavioral functioning aimed at attaining or avoiding the affective states central to these personality systems. Personality systems are seen as often in dynamic conflict within individuals and as highly compartmentalized in their functioning between settings. While variation in personality consists of a range of viable strategies for humans, extremes on these systems tend to be maladaptive, although in at least some cases individuals who approach the maladaptive extremes of indi...
... There is, of course, no reason why one should not view males as resources for females, but it is rare for the female side of the pact to gain control. The connection between reproductive success and economic control in human societies has recently been discussed by MacDonald, who argued that sociobiology has to be concerned with the phenotype, which is in turn influenced by such variables as genetic variation, environmental influences during development, the belief structure of the society, sociopolitical constraints, and the economic productivity of the society [25]. MacDonald suggested that increased production has resulted in the increasing importance of belief structures and social controls for explaining variance within cultures in male reproductive success. ...
... Moreover, several models have been developed to explain the influence of ecological conditions on the social organization of mammals (EMLEN & ORING 1977, OSTFELD 1985, JOHNSON et al. 2002, MACDONALD 1983. It has been shown that different populations of the same species, or even the same population at different times, may vary in their social systems and spacing pattern due to ecological factors (see MAHER & BURGER 2011). ...
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The objective of this study was to investigate some parameters of the space use by individuals in a population of the hystricognath rodent Thrichomys apereoides (Lund, 1839), using the spool-and-line tracking technique. This technique is useful for investigating characteristics of habitat use by individuals since it allows the mapping of the places where the individuals move. We evaluated three parameters of space use by 34 individuals of T. apereoides: 1) The daily home range (DHR) or the area used by individuals in their daily activities, 2) the distance moved on the leaf litter, and 3) the distance moved above ground using twigs, logs and rocks. The analysis of space use on such a small scale allows a better understanding of how individuals perceive and use the available space. The significant effect of age on DHR and the effect of the sex on the movements above ground were observed. Adult males had larger DHRs than adult females and subadults, and adult females showed the lowest displacement above ground. A statistically significant effect of the sex and seasonal period and the interaction between them was also observed on the size of DHRs of adults. During the dry season, females had lower DHRs than males and both females and males moved less on leaf litter in this season. There was no seasonal effect on the movement of males and females above ground, as well as no significant effect of age and sex on the movement of the individuals on leaf litter. We found that individuals responded differently to some aspects of the habitat structure and concluded that the pattern of movement is influenced by the sex and the age of the individuals and may vary according to ecological conditions.
... Portanto, as escolhas de homens e mulheres, no que se refere ao matrimônio, não estão pressionadas pela sobrevivência. Isso explica em parte porque a correlação entre posição socioeconômica e número de filhos não tem uma correlação positiva na sociedade moderna centrada no mercado (MacDonald, 1983;van den Berghe, 1979). A literatura sociológica tem caracterizado o perfil da mulher que casa hipergamicamente. ...
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The article theorizes a biosocial perspective about the biosocial indicators of the hipogamy what means about biosocial parameters that explain the social situation of the women which get married with individuals in a social class below them. So: (1) It defends that the dialogue betwen the sociology and the biosocial approachs like Evolutionary Psychology can contributes for thinking a biosocial theory of hipogamy; (2) It present a possible explanation for the reason of the negligence of the sociological literature on hipergamy phenomenon; (3) it suggest that the phenomenon of the growth of the women householder headship can be a good point for starting to study the hipogamy phenomenon; (4) It present some theoric references as the beggining of an explanation of the hipogamy and to establish their biosocial indicators.
... There is reason to suppose the existence of such nonevolved motive dispositions and to suppose that they can successfully compete with evolved motive dispositions. Richerson and Boyd (1989) have argued that personal ideologies and any associated behavior can depart radically from that predicted by an optimality model, and in previous work I have emphasized that personal ideologies are irreducible to evolved psychological traits of individuals, are underdetermined by biological theory, and interact with but are independent of social controls on individual behavior (MacDonald, 1983MacDonald, , 1988MacDonald, , 1990, in press). Thus individual males and even entire cultures have adopted ideologies of male sexual restraint despite the apparent existence of evolved adaptations toward male sexual promiscuity and despite the fact that such behavior is not optimal for wealthy males. ...
Article
Following areview of evolutionary approaches to the five-factor model (FEM), I develop a synthetic perspective that incorporates three levels of analysis: personality systems as universal psychological mechanisms, systematic group (i.e., gender, birth order, age, ethnic) differences that can be illuminated by evolutionary theory, and individual differences. At the level of universal mechanisms, personality systems are species-typical systems with adaptive functions in the human environment of evolutionary adaptedness. At the level of group differences, the evolutionary theory of sex, parent-offspring conflict theory, and life history are used to analyze sex, age, and ethnic differences in personality systems. At the level of individual differences, variation in personality consists of a range of viable evolutionary strategies for humans. Humans evaluate and act on the genetic and phenotypic diversity represented by this range of viable strategies to solve adaptive problems. Evolutionary perspectives on cross-cultural variation are noted and illustrated.
... 1. Alexander 1979; see Flinn & Low (1986) and MacDonald (1983) for ethnographic examples. 2. Alexander 1979. ...
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This paper argues that Western cultures have a unique cultural profile compared to other traditional civilizations: 1. The Catholic Church and Christianity. 2. A tendency toward monogamy. 3. A tendency toward simple family structure based on the nuclear family. 4. A greater tendency for marriage to be companionate and based on mutual affection of the partners. 5. A de-emphasis on extended kinship relationships and its correlative, a relative lack of ethnocentrism. 6. A tendency toward individualism and all of its implications: individual rights against the state, representative government, moral universalism, and scienc
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This paper examines the roles of early experience and relative plasticity in the development of social behavior in animals and humans. It is concluded that (1) long-term effects of early experience variables can be found in the animal and human literature; (2) there are age differences in the relative susceptibility to environmental influences during development; and (3) the power of environmental events and the buffering ability of the organism are crucial variables affecting the outcome of organism-environment interactions.
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A society's culture may come to include information tending to lead to fitness-reducing behavior on the part of some or all of its members. This phenomenon results from conflict among factions within each society, from transmitted misinformation (e.g., cupping restores health), from natural and human-caused environmental change so that previously adaptive information becomes maladaptive, and from the long and short-term negative “side effects” of information that may otherwise be fitness enhancing. Because some cultural information may be fitness reducing, we apparently have been selected for individual-level traits that often result in our revising socially transmitted information that might otherwise have maladaptive consequences. Two examples of such traits are adolescent “rebelliousness” and the tendency to learn most readily from those higher than ourselves in status. Such leading-to-culture-revision traits are very imperfect mechanisms, however, so that some likely-to-be maladaptive cultural information, such as medical cupping or denying infants the colostrum, remains part of the culture. It is doubtful, given the structure of modern human populations and the ubiquity of culture change, that such maladaptive socially transmitted information leads to natural selection for genetic “direct biases” against accepting the practices in question.
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The largely positive comments on our target article suggests that group selection will be treated as a viable hypethesis in future discussions of human evolutionary biology. Our response focuses on: (1) the concept of heritability and fitness at the group level; (2) clarifying the vehicle concept; (3) empirical evidence for group selection; (4) genes as replicators; (5) pluralism and the sense in which group selection theory is compatible with the gene-centered approach; (6) additive versus nonadditive interactions; (7) the relationship between group selection, frequency dependent selection, and Sober's earlier argument based on causability; (8) the relationship between evolutionary and psychological definitions of selfishness; (9) egalitarian social organizations in ancestral environments; (10) culture and group selection; (11) group selection and the adaptationist program; and (12) criteria for evaluating group selection theory.
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