Evolution of cooperation in humans

Where does our tendency to cooperate come from?Is it natural for us to cooperate or is it the result of social learning? It’s tempting to think that we’re born as non-cooperative beasts that need to be tamed via education and learning. The whole idea of ‘human civilization’ revolves around the assumption that humans have somehow …

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Reciprocal altruism in psychology

Reciprocal altruism or reciprocity in psychology is defined as the tendency of people to return favors. While reciprocal altruism is observed in kin relationships, it’s common in friendships. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that friendships and other non-kin relationships are based on reciprocal altruism. Consider the following scenario: It was the birthday of …

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Why do poor people have so many kids

Why do poor people have so many kids while those higher up the social hierarchy tend to have fewer children? Numerous factors have come together to make the evolution of family possible in us homo sapiens. Typically, families evolve in the animal kingdom when individuals can increase their odds of reproductive success by staying close …

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What causes parental favoritism?

To understand what causes parental favoritism, let’s look at these two hypothetical scenarios: Scenario 1 Jenny always felt that her parents favoured her younger sister over her. She knew it wasn’t due to the age factor since she was only a few months older than her sister. Also, she was more hardworking, studious, calm-tempered and helping than …

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Why mothers are more caring than fathers

Mike wanted to buy a new bike and was short of cash. He decided to ask his parents for money. He first thought of going to his father, but, on second thought, he dropped the idea. He went to his mother instead who happily complied with the request. Mike had always felt that his dad …

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Monogamy in humans: Why is it so common?

There are some who believe that monogamy is natural to humans and others who believe that humans are naturally polygynous. For a detailed discussion on monogamy vs. polygamy, see article Monogamy vs. Polygamy: What is natural for humans? Regardless of which of the two camps is right, it’s hard to deny that monogamy is prevalent …

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Why do women have affairs?

To understand why women have affairs, we need to first understand the different types of mating strategies that humans adopt. Humans pursue two types of mating strategies- long term and short term, and sometimes a combination of both. Long-term mating strategy typically involves finding a long-term partner with whom one mates, has offspring and then …

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Why do men cheat?

To understand the biological and psychological reasons why men cheat, we need a brief overview of human mating strategies. Mating strategies in humans are essentially of two types- short term and long term. The long-term mating strategy involves finding a long-term partner with whom one mates, has offspring with, and then raises those offspring. Short-term …

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How does being cheated on affect a man?

Sexual infidelity in a long-term relationship, such as marriage, is undesirable to both men and women. Still, being cheated on affects a man slightly differently. The major goal of forming a long-term relationship is to have repeated sex to increase the odds of conception. Hence, if a person looks for sex outside the relationship he’s …

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Competition in males and females

Our evolved psychological mechanisms are not only shaped by natural selection but also by sexual or intrasexual selection. While naturally selected traits are primarily those that help us to survive, sexually selected traits are those that help us to successfully reproduce. Imagine there’s a number floating above everyone’s head ranging from 0 to 10 that describes how …

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