Sociobiology

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Sociobiology

SOCIOBIOLOGY-An Explanation of Social Behavior
Sociobiology is a field of scientific study which is based on the assumption that social behavior has resulted from evolution and attempts to explain and examine social behavior within that context. Often considered a branch of biology and sociology, it also draws from ethology, anthropology, evolution, zoology, archeology, population genetics, and other disciplines. Within the study of human societies, sociobiology is very closely allied to the fields of human behavioral ecology and evolutionary psychology. Sociobiology investigates social behaviors, such as mating patterns, territorial fights, pack hunting, and the hive society of social insects. It argues that just as selection pressure led to animals evolving useful ways of interacting with the natural environment, it led to the genetic evolution of advantageous social behavior. While the term "sociobiology" can be traced to the 1940s, the concept didn't gain major recognition until 1975 with the publication of Edward O. Wilson's book, Sociobiology: The New Synthesis. The new field quickly became the subject of heated controversy. Criticism, most notably made by Richard Lewontin and Stephen Jay Gould, centered on sociobiology's contention that genes play an ultimate role in human behavior and that traits such as aggressiveness can be explained by biology rather than a person's social environment. Sociobiologists generally responded to the criticism by pointing to the complex relationship between nature and nurture. In response to some of the potentially fractious implications sociobiology had on human biodiversity, anthropologist John Tooby and psychologist Leda Cosmides founded the field evolutionary psychology. Definition:E.O. Wilson defines sociobiology as: “The extension of population biology and evolutionary theory to social organization”Sociobiology is based on the premise that some behaviors (both social and individual) are at least partly inherited and can be affected by natural selection. It begins with the idea that behaviors have evolved over time, similar to the way that physical traits are thought to have evolved. It predicts therefore that animals will act in ways that have proven to be evolutionarily successful over time, which can among other things result in the formation of complex social processes conducive to evolutionary fitness. The discipline seeks to explain behavior as a product of natural selection. Behavior is therefore seen as an effort to preserve one's genes in the population. Inherent in sociobiological reasoning is the idea that certain genes or gene combinations that influence particular behavioral traits can be inherited from generation to generation.

Instinct:
The three-spin-ed stickleback is a one-inch long fish that one can find in the rivers and lakes of Europe. Springtime is, as you might expect, the mating season for the mighty stickleback and the perfect time to see instincts in action. Certain changes occur in their appearances: The male, normally dull, becomes red above the mid-line. He stakes out a territory for himself, from which he will chase any similarly colored male, and builds a nest by depositing weeds in a small hollow and running through them repeatedly to make a tunnel. This is all quite built-in. Males raised all alone will do the same. We find, in fact, that the male stickleback will, in the mating season, attempt to chase anything red from his territory (including the reflection of a red truck on the aquarium's glass). But that's not the instinct of the moment. The female undergoes a transformation as well: She, normally dull like the male, becomes bloated by her many eggs and takes on a certain silvery glow that apparently no male stickleback can resist. When he sees a female, he will swim towards her in a zigzag pattern. She will respond by swimming towards him with her head held high. He responds by dashing towards his nest...
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