Barash, David P. Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.
Di Fiore, Anthony Department of Anthropology, New York University, New York, New York.
Last reviewed:June 2020
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- Underlying principles
- Inclusive fitness
- Kin selection
- Other social strategies
- Human behavior
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A scientific discipline that applies principles of evolutionary biology to the study of animal and human social behavior. Sociobiology is a synthesis of ethology (the study of animal behavior), ecology, and evolutionary theory in which social behavior is viewed as a product of natural selection and other biological processes. Thus, sociobiologists investigate and seek to determine the biological bases of social behavior. Although most of the research in sociobiology has focused on understanding the behavior of nonhumans (Fig. 1), sociobiological explanations have been used to interpret patterns of human behavior as well. See also: Behavioral ecology; Ecology; Ethology; Evolution; Social hierarchy
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