Elementary+Social+Theory

Elementary+Social+Theory - R. Trivers Spring 2011...

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R. Trivers Spring 2011 Elementary Social Theory Social interactions involve at least two individuals. Scratching yourself is not usually a social act, per se. The simplest social theory involves two individuals. Call them initially actor and recipient or actor and acted-upon. Define interactions in terms of their effects on the reproductive success of the two actors. Call them benefits (Bs) and costs (Cs). Then we have four kinds of interaction: Actor Recipient altruistic C B selfish B C cooperative B 1 B 2 spiteful C 1 C 2 (where B 1 and C 1 indicate the benefit or cost to the actor and B 2 and C 2 the same for the recipient). Selfish and cooperative behavior are readily selected for since they benefit the actor and spite seems counter-selected for both actor and recipient (but see below). It is altruistic behavior that creates a problem for evolutionary theory because it appears only to benefit the recipient, so that the actor’s altruistic genes become less frequent over time. Yet altruistic behavior is well known in nature, including alarm calls and care of the
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Elementary+Social+Theory - R. Trivers Spring 2011...

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