Thursday, March 22, 2018

More on multilevel selection theory

Multilevel selection theory and major evolutionary transitions,” by DS Wilson et al., Current Directions is Psychological Science 17:1, 2007.

“The concept of a group as comparable to a single organism has had a long and turbulent history. Currently methodological individualism dominates in many areas of psychology and evolution, but natural selection is now known to operate at multiple levels of the biological hierarchy. When between-group selection dominates within-group selection, a major evolutionary transition occurs and the group becomes a new, higher-level organism. It is likely that human evolution represents a major transition, and this has wide-ranging implications for the psychological study of group behavior, cognition, and culture.”

Rethinking the theoretical foundation of sociobiology” by Wilson and Wilson, The Quarterly Review of Biology 82:4, 2007.

“Current sociobiology is in theoretical disarray, with a diversity of frameworks that are poorly related to each other. Part of the problem is a reluctance to revisit the pivotal events that took place during the 1960s, including the rejection of group selection and the development of alternative theoretical frameworks to explain the evolution of cooperative and altruistic behaviors. In this article, we take a “back to basics” approach, explaining what group selection is, why its rejection was regarded as so important, and how it has been revived based on a more careful formulation and subsequent research. Multilevel selection theory (including group selection) provides an elegant theoretical foundation for sociobiology in the future, once its turbulent past is appropriately understood.”

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