Subdiscipline of biology that studies social behavior

Sociobiology is a field of biology that aims to examine and explain social behavior in terms of evolution. It draws from disciplines including psychology, ethology, anthropology, evolution, zoology, archaeology, and population genetics. Within the study of human societies, sociobiology is closely allied to evolutionary anthropology, 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, so also it led to the genetic evolution of advantageous social behavior.While the term "sociobiology" originated at least as early as the 1940s, the concept did not gain major recognition until the publication of E. O. Wilson's book Sociobiology: The New Synthesis in 1975. The new field quickly became the subject of controversy. Critics, led by Richard Lewontin and Stephen Jay Gould, argued that genes played a role in human behavior, but that traits such as aggressiveness could be explained by social environment rather than by biology. Sociobiologists responded by pointing to the complex relationship between nature and nurture.
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main subject: sociobiology


Not in Our Genes

book by Richard Lewontin

author: Richard Lewontin, Steven Rose, Leon Kamin


Sociobiology: The New Synthesis

1975 book by biologist E. O. Wilson

author: Edward O. Wilson


The Origins of Virtue

book by Matt Ridley

author: Matt Ridley


Figments of Reality

book by Jack Cohen

author: Jack Cohen, Ian Stewart


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