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Joseph Henrich - A cultural species: How culture drove human evolution | Science Brief - Am Psychological Assoc Nov 2011
Recognizing the centrality of culture in human life leads to a novel evolutionary theory of status and status psychology. Evolutionary researchers have tended to assume that human status is merely an extension of primate dominance hierarchies. However, because humans are so heavily dependent on an information economy for survival, our species has evolved a second avenue to social status that operates alongside dominance and has its own suite of cognitive and affective processes. -- This work connects with the emotion literature where prior empirical studies had indicated the existence of two facets for the emotion pride—labeled authentic and hubristic pride. Our ongoing efforts suggest that hubristic pride is associated with dominance-status and authentic pride with prestige-status. -- Much empirical work treats status as a uni-dimensional construct, and then unknowingly operationalizes it as either prestige or dominance, or some mix of the two. -- The cultural evolution of norms over tens or hundreds of thousands of years, and their shaping by cultural group selection, may have driven genetic evolution to create a suite of cognitive adaptations we call norm psychology. -- This suite facilitates, among other things, our identification and learning of social norms, our expectation of sanctions for norm violations, and our ability to internalize normative behavior as motivations. This approach also predicts that humans ought to be inclined to “over-imitate” for two different evolutionary reasons, one informational and the other normative. The informational view hypothesizes that people over-imitate because of an evolved reliance on cultural learning to adaptively acquire complex and cognitively-opaque skills, techniques and practices that have been honed, often in nuanced and subtle ways, over generations. However, because individuals should also “over-imitate” because human societies have long been full of arbitrary norms (behaviors) for which the “correct” performance is crucial to one’s reputation (e.g., rituals, etiquette), we expect future investigations to reveal two different kinds of over-imitation. -- The selection pressures created by reputational damage and punishment for norm-violation may also favour norm-internalization. Neuroeconomic studies suggest that social norms are in fact internalized as intrinsic motivations in people’s brains.
biocultural_evolution  social_psychology  norms  status  power  leaders  learning  children  innate_ideas  incentives  behavioral_economics  moral_psychology  emotions  morality-conventional  sociology_of_religion  trust  cooperation  Innovation  tools  bibliography  EF-add 
january 2014 by dunnettreader

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