Overall, then, we may say that humans coordinate their decisions in collaborative situations, especially by communication, in ways that great apes do not. Once they have done so, they are committed to follow through until everyone gets their just desserts, again in a way that great apes are not. In Stag Hunt situations with no excess of labor available all individuals present are needed for success , free riding is not possible: if I do not participate, then I and everyone else get nothing.
The proposal is thus that the earliest manifestations of human collaborative foraging were not so vulnerable to free riding because they involved very small numbers of collaborators, each of whom believed their participation to be necessary.
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So, how does it work in chimpanzee hunting of monkeys, when there are often excess participants around? The answer is that pretty much everyone around gets plenty of meat. This suggests that the main variable in obtaining meat is proximity to the kill at the key moment, with the captor getting most, those in the immediate vicinity getting next most, and latecomers getting least. The food package not easily monopolizable came to one of the individuals modeling what happens when one chimpanzee captures the monkey.
Whether or not an individual collaborated was irrelevant to how much food he got. It is clear from everyday observations, as well as the study with children, that humans have negative attitudes toward free riders who contribute nothing but who expect to share in the rewards of others' efforts. Chimpanzees do not like it when others try to take their food e. We might thus expect that if early humans have a choice of partners, they would exclude those who attempted to minimize their work contribution and maximize the rewards.
This means that less cooperative individuals would be socially selected against and cooperative individuals would be socially selected for Tomasello et al. In the analysis of Tomasello et al. The basic idea is that when individuals must collaborate or die, their partners become very valuable to them, and so, they must care for them. Within the collaborative activity, this is obvious.
If my partner drops his spear, it is in my interest to help him fetch it so that we can continue the collaboration. In addition, if individuals have any sense of the future, then they should also help any of their potential collaborative partners outside of such situations, as they might be needing them tomorrow. Importantly from a theoretical point of view, this account is not based on reciprocity; there is no cost accounting and no contingency of helpful acts on one another.
Interdependence creates a motivation for individuals to help others for direct fitness benefits. They do this in a wider variety of contexts than do chimpanzees, and they also do it at some cost to themselves e. Human infants also provide others with information that they need e. In studies of other phenomena, this pattern of results is taken to mean that children have an intrinsic motivation to do something which the external rewards undermine overjustification effect. Relatedly, Warneken and Tomasello found that young children do not help more when their mother or others are watching or encouraging them than when they are by themselves.
There is also very good evidence that young children's intrinsically motivated helping behavior is underlain by something like sympathetic concern for the other person. Critically, the amount of sympathetic concern shown for the victim correlates positively across individuals with their tendency to help her. Even more dramatically, using a direct physiological measure of arousal, pupil dilation, Hepach, Vaish, and Tomasello found that young children are equally satisfied when they help someone in need and when they see that person being helped by a third party—and more satisfied in both of these cases than when the person is not being helped at all.
Young children's motivation is not so much to help but to see the other helped. Overall, then, even young human children seem intrinsically motivated to help others in many situations. The evolutionary basis of this prosocial behavior might be the interdependence of individuals who need one another for foraging success, and so, they are naturally concerned with each others' welfare.
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The proximate, psychological motivation of individuals, however, seemingly does not involve considerations of this type; it is simply intrinsically motivating to help others when possible a result consistent with Batson's, , studies with adults. In the hypothesis of Tomasello et al. First was competition with other humans. Competition with other humans meant that a loosely structured group of collaborators had to turn into a more tightly knit social group in order to protect their way of life from invaders.
The end result was group competition. Second was increasing population size. This meant that recognizing others from one's cultural group became far from trivial—and of course, one needed to ensure that one could be recognized by others as well. Such recognition in both directions was important because only members of one's cultural group could be counted on to share one's skills and values and so be good and trustworthy collaborative partners, including for group defense. Contemporary humans have many diverse ways of marking group identity, but one can imagine that the original ways were mainly behavioral: people who talk like me, prepare food like me, and otherwise share my cultural practices are very likely members of my cultural group.
Early humans' skills of imitation thus became modern humans' active conformity, both to coordinate activities more effectively with ingroup strangers and to display group identity so that others will choose me as a knowledgeable and trustworthy partner. Teaching others the proper way to do things, perhaps especially one's children, became a good way to assist their functioning in the group and to ensure even more conformity in the process.
Great apes engage in some forms of social learning and have some forms of behavioral traditions. In any case, given a relatively simple task—deciding which one of three holes to insert a ball to get a reward—it turns out that both chimpanzees and human children are biased to follow the majority.
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Individuals of both species were shown a demonstration in which one individual placed a ball into one of the holes three times, whereas three other individuals each placed a ball into a different hole once each. Now, when they saw three demonstrators successful with a different hole, the species differed in their reaction. Also, like adults, the children conform much more when their behavior is made in public—the previous demonstrators see and hear their response—than when it is made in private, suggesting that indeed they are conforming to peer pressure from the majority.
Although no such study has been carried out with chimpanzees, Engelmann, Herrmann, and Tomasello found that when given the opportunity to engage in either cooperative or selfish behavior, chimpanzees behaved the same whether they were being watched by conspecifics or not.
Interestingly and importantly, Engelmann, Over, Herrmann, and Tomasello also found that children of this same age are much more concerned with their reputation with ingroup members than with outgroup members. And so humans do not just learn from others, they actively conform to others, and from early in ontogeny, in ways that other primates do not.
The mutual expectations of the group—that is, standards of behavior that are mutually known to all and expected by all—are often called social norms. And these expectations are indeed normative in the sense that those who deviate will suffer some sort of negative consequence, at the very least some sort of negative evaluation of their reputation. And so, it is clear why children grow up following social norms. In this case, it is difficult to find prudential reasons for their actions, as enforcing social norms can be risky if the person whose behavior is being corrected objects or retaliates.
In this case, no harm is being done the game is an individual game , but children still want to make sure that others play the game correctly. Young children thus not only follow but also enforce both moral and conventional norms where conventional norms, but not moral norms, are conceived by the children themselves as changeable if sanctioned by an authority or a different cultural group.
But there is a difference. Following the theoretical ideas of Turiel , Schmidt, Rakoczy, and Tomasello had children observe violations of both conventional norms game rules and moral norms harm producing , and these were perpetrated by both ingroup and outgroup members. Perhaps surprisingly, young children enforced moral norms on both ingroup and outgroup individuals equally, but they enforced conventional norms on ingroup members only.
That is to say, when one individual was authorized to do something, and a second individual objected that she could not do that, the child intervened against that second person's objection. One of the most noteworthy characteristics of social norms is that they are even applied to the self, especially as they are internalized into feelings of guilt and shame. Evolutionarily, one may think about guilt and shame as feelings that help an individual to avoid potentially punishable behavior in the future by punishing it internally now.
Guilt and shame displays thus serve an appeasement and an affiliative function. Vaish, Carpenter, and Tomasello thus looked to see if young children—similar to adults—judge people differently when they do or do not display guilt after a transgression. The question of social norms does not really arise with great apes, as they do not have the cognitive capacities to entertain mutually shared expectations.
The lumbar curve in the lower back, which helps us maintain our balance as we stand and walk, also leaves us vulnerable to lower back pain and strain. We look naked compared to our hairier ape cousins. Surprisingly, however, a square inch of human skin on average possesses as much hair-producing follicles as other primates, or more — humans often just have thinner, shorter, lighter hairs.
Fun fact about hair: Even though we don't seem to have much, it apparently helps us detect parasites , according to one study. Humans may be called "naked apes," but most of us wear clothing, a fact that makes us unique in the animal kingdom, save for the clothing we make for other animals. The development of clothing has even influenced the evolution of other species — the body louse, unlike all other kinds, clings to clothing, not hair. Without a doubt, the human trait that sets us apart the most from the animal kingdom is our extraordinary brain.
Humans don't have the largest brains in the world — those belong to sperm whales. We don't even have the largest brains relative to body size — many birds have brains that make up more than 8 percent of their body weight, compared to only 2. Yet the human brain, weighing only about 3 pounds when fully grown, give us the ability to reason and think on our feet beyond the capabilities of the rest of the animal kingdom, and provided the works of Mozart, Einstein and many other geniuses.
- Thermodynamics And Heat Powered Cycles: A Cognitive Engineering Approach!
- The traits that make human beings unique.
- References and Recommended Reading!
- Cumulative Culture as Increasing Complexity.
- Biological and Cultural Evolution.
- The Emergence of Culture?
- Comfort To The Enemy.
Contrary to popular misconceptions, humans are not the only animals to possess opposable thumbs — most primates do. Unlike the rest of the great apes, we don't have opposable big toes on our feet. What makes humans unique is how we can bring our thumbs all the way across the hand to our ring and little fingers. We can also flex the ring and little fingers toward the base of our thumb. This gives humans a powerful grip and exceptional dexterity to hold and manipulate tools with. AAA Membership americananthro. American Anthropologist Volume , Issue 4.
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