Navigation Links
Humans naturally cooperative, altruistic, social
Date:9/8/2011

The condition of man is a condition of war, wrote 17th-century philosopher Thomas Hobbes. A quick glance through history books and today's news headlines certainly seems to support the longstanding idea that humans by nature are aggressive, selfish and antagonistic.

But this view simply doesn't fit with scientific facts, write researchers featured in the new book "Origins of Altruism and Cooperation" (Springer, 2011), edited by Robert W. Sussman, PhD, and C. Robert Cloninger, MD. The book's authors argue that humans are naturally cooperative, altruistic and social, only reverting to violence when stressed, abused, neglected or mentally ill.

The book, which now is available, presents evidence supporting this idea from a range of academic perspectives, including anthropology, psychiatry, biology, sociology, religion, medicine and more.

"Cooperation isn't just a byproduct of competition, or something done only because both parties receive some benefit from the partnership," says Sussman, professor of physical anthropology in Arts & Sciences. "Rather, altruism and cooperation are inherent in primates, including humans."

For example, Sussman says, chimpanzees have been observed to adopt unrelated, orphaned infants, despite the significant amount of effort and time required to care for the infants.

Sussman and Cloninger write in the book's preface that examining the influences that underlie human behavior is critical to understanding why conflicts arise among peoples and nations in the modern world and to finding the best ways to promote peaceful, productive interaction among humans worldwide.

"Prosocial behavior is an essential component of health and happiness in human beings," says Cloninger, the Wallace Renard Professor of Psychiatry at the School of Medicine. "Selfish and uncooperative behavior, on the other hand, is a sign of mental dysfunction because it is strongly associated with life dissatisfaction and ill health."

In addition to chapters co-authored by Sussman and Cloninger, the book includes articles by two other WUSTL faculty members Peter Benson, PhD, assistant professor of sociocultural anthropology, and Jane Phillips-Conroy, PhD, professor of anatomy and neurobiology and of anthropology and other academic experts from around the world.

Topics of the book's chapters which range from relationships among howler monkeys to the influences of modern Western culture on human spirituality were taken from discussions and presentations held at a 2009 conference at WUSTL titled "Man the Hunted: The Origin and Nature of Human Sociality, Altruism and Well-Being."

The conference, organized by Sussman and Cloninger, was the first of its kind to bring together international academics across disciplines to examine the evolution of cooperation, altruism and sociality in primates and humans.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jessica Daues
jessica_daues@wustl.edu
314-935-5230
Washington University in St. Louis
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Ancient humans were mixing it up
2. Competition with humans responsible for decline of New Zealands endangered sea lions, study shows
3. Competition with humans responsible for decline of New Zealands endangered sea lions, study shows
4. New UC sensor promises rapid detection of dangerous heavy metal levels in humans
5. Aging brains are different in humans and chimpanzees
6. Evidence for food addiction in humans
7. Can humans sense the Earths magnetism?
8. Plants teach humans a thing or two about fighting diseases
9. NYSCF-Robertson investigator at Stanford creates neurons directly from skin cells of humans
10. Monkey recall memory mirrors that of humans
11. 18th International Academy of Astronautics Humans in Space Symposium
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/9/2017)... LONDON , Feb. 9, 2017 The ... in-depth analysis of the biomass boiler market globally in ... sales of biomass boilers. The market for biomass boilers ... product type, end-user, application, and country/region. The market based ... agriculture & forest residues, biogas & energy crops, urban ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... NEW YORK , Feb. 7, 2017 Report ... ... and should reach $11.4 billion by 2021, growing at a ... Report Includes - An overview of the global markets for ... from 2015, estimates for 2016, and projections of compound annual ...
(Date:2/7/2017)... , Feb. 7, 2017   MedNet Solutions ... the entire spectrum of clinical research, is pleased to ... , its innovative, highly flexible and award winning ... customers. iMedNet is a proven Software-as-a-Service ... Electronic Data Capture (EDC), but also delivers an entire ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/23/2017)... -- In Atlanta, it seems everyone has a chance to express ... an expressive and dynamic community unlike any other. The businesses ... it. With their newest salon in ... carry on that tradition with a unique, fresh approach to ... is the newest of 13 nationwide locations, each of them ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... Brain ... to begin marketing the SPEAC® System, the Brain Sentinel® Seizure Monitoring and Alerting ... in healthcare facilities during periods of rest. A lightweight, non-invasive monitor is placed ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... , ... Today, researchers can fast-track sample collection and analysis ... biomarkers or SNPs of interest) using one, easy-to-collect saliva sample. With the addition ... insulin and other relevant biomarkers can be extensively studied through a non-invasive sample ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... , Feb. 23, 2017 Aviva Systems ... announced the acquisition of GenWay Biotech Incorporated, a ... service and product offering for both the research ... facilitate growth and enhance capabilities for both entities. GenWay,s ... ELISA assays will nicely complement ASB,s objective to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: