- Series: Evolution and Cognition
- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press (September 5, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0195130626
- ISBN-13: 978-0195130621
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.9 x 6.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,520,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Natural Selection and Social Theory: Selected Papers of Robert Trivers (Evolution and Cognition)
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One striking feature of Trivers' papers is that most contain very little mathematics, but there is plenty of verbal logic ... the book is suitable for reading in bed with falling asleep over pages of baffling formulae ... interesting stuff. * Animal Behaviour * This is a good book by a great evolutionary biologist, full of interesting personal narrative and readable and historically important papers on reciprocal altruism, sex ratios, parental investment and sexual selection, and much more. * Animal Behaviour *
About the Author
Robert L. Trivers is at Rutgers University.
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Such developmental concepts as Theory of Mind are highly involved with merely testing the ability of children to detect whether an individual understands deception; whereas other species remain strongly tied to sensory attention to predict probable actions of others. I have observed useful deception in several unrelated mammal species, but the social primates are most involved in temporary, bicycle-breakaway type temporary amicability, later willing to stab a friend in the back to gain status/reproductive opportunity.
Primates scheme socially, the human most egregiously, and our overvaunted forebrain requires even more additional associative area to necessarily become larger as well. This evolutionist persp[ective explores why what we exhibit contrasts with what we imagine we are. Presently, fMRI and other imaging shows how much of our brain is used in this scheming and detection.
Psychologists and behavioral science majors are desperately in need of this compilation, without which they will merely bumble along, religiously misconceiving, keeping us in the dark ages.
Way back in the 1970s Trivers began to understand that we are so good at Machiavellian scamming that in order to successfully deceive others we may indeed have to deceive ourselves. I think the book will even give insight into why and how the DSM changes so much. The public, including especially those who pursue leadership, war, competition and other specious symbols of social status, are unmasked within.
This conversational publication of early work and realizations is a MUST-READ for those who wish to understand human sociality. While the species does have some good attributes, this book will help ground your understanding that most of our social cognition is developed through fantasy and imagination to maximize our relative social status.
Ludwig von Beethoven once said that music is a higher revelation than all religion or philosophy. Trivers here ties together the symphony of his work. As you will see with an understanding of biopsychology, neurology, comparative animal behavior and cognition now being discovered, even the soaring achievements of music, poetry, mathematics, science, physical arts, quickly become mere tools for human climbing over others.
I have not finished the book yet, but new brain mapping and a broad understanding of comparative ethology back up Trivers' hypotheses.
In addition, each is book-ended between a two short essays outlining the background to Professor Trivers' initial exploration and thinking behind the paper, often including quite intriguing sociological contexts. Then, which is extremely valuable, Triver's brings the reader up-to-date with the subsequent history of the idea in that paper: who did it influence? Does he still believe it? What is the current hot take on the area?
It is a magnificent tribute to a life-time of work, and valuable for anyone active in the area of evolution.