Wednesday, September 03, 2014

the evolutionary roots of human altruism...,


sciencedaily |  A group of researchers from Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy and Great Britain, headed by anthropologist Judith Burkart from the University of Zurich, therefore developed a novel approach they systematically applied to a great number of primate species. The results of the study have now been published in Nature Communications

For their study, Burkart and her colleagues developed the new paradigm of group service, which examines spontaneous helping behavior in a standardized way. With the aid of a simple test apparatus, the researchers studied whether individuals from a particular primate species were prepared to provide other group members with a treat, even if this meant missing out themselves (see box). The scientists applied this standardized test to 24 social groups of 15 different primate species. They also examined whether and how kindergarten children aged between four and seven acted altruistically.  

The researchers found that the willingness to provision others varies greatly from one primate species to the next. But there was a clear pattern, as summarized by Burkart: “Humans and callitrichid monkeys acted highly altruistically and almost always produced the treats for the other group members. Chimpanzees, one of our closest relatives, however, only did so sporadically.” Similarly, most other primate species, including capuchins and macaques, only rarely pulled the lever to give another group member food, if at all – even though they have considerable cognitive skills.     

Until now, many researchers assumed that spontaneous altruistic behavior in primates could be attributed to factors they would share with humans: advanced cognitive skills, large brains, high social tolerance, collective foraging or the presence of pair bonds or other strong social bonds. As Burkart’s new data now reveal, however, none of these factors reliably predicts whether a primate species will be spontaneously altruistic or not. Instead, another factor that sets us humans apart from the great apes appears to be responsible. Says Burkart: “Spontaneous, altruistic behavior is exclusively found among species where the young are not only cared for by the mother, but also other group members such as siblings, fathers, grandmothers, aunts and uncles.” This behavior is referred to technically as the “cooperative breeding” or “allomaternal care.”  

The significance of this study goes beyond identifying the roots of our altruism. Cooperative behavior also favored the evolution of our exceptional cognitive abilities. During development, human children gradually construct their cognitive skills based on extensive selfless social inputs from caring parents and other helpers, and the researchers believe that it is this new mode of caring that also put our ancestors on the road to our cognitive excellence. This study may, therefore, have just identified the foundation for the process that made us human. As Burkart suggests: “When our hominin ancestors began to raise their offspring cooperatively, they laid the foundation for both our altruism and our exceptional cognition.”

18 comments:

BigDonOne said...

Altruism item - free pot for LOOOOZerz...!!! http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2024445963_freepotxml.html

BigDonOne said...

...Altruism today -- Free pot for the poor deprived, oppressed unfortunates ---> http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2024445963_freepotxml.html

EXCERPT: "... the free marijuana would sap patients’ motivation to look for work — after all, it is not a drug known for encouraging anyone to get off the couch — and could easily be resold on the street for profit by people who are short on money...."

CNu said...

Alrighty then, since you remain desperate for attention..., riddle me this batman, how in the world did it ever come to pass that a common weed, which by all rights should be as abundant and readily available to all-comers as a dandelion, ever come to be so constrained in its availability that it commands a price far in excess of a dandelion?

What level of utterly counterproductive and coercive effort had to go into making this weed the devilish scourge that you daily pretend it to be?
What level of utterly counterproductive, coercive, and life-destroying effort had to go into the decades long harsh criminalization of this weed? What level of utterly counterproductive, unconstitutional, and individual sovereignty defying prohibition is about to be fought over on a city-by-city and state-by-state basis all across the U.S., because the war has created a caste of unproductive "warriors" whose economic livelihood depends on maintaining this destructive farce?

If you used the common sense given to a roach to figure out how much $$$ has been squandered on this prohibition vs. how little it costs to allow those who wish to, to do as they wish - you would be ashamed to daily harp on this subject.

Lastly, given your complete lack of first-hand knowledge concerning its effects, what, other than a hook, line, and sinker acceptance of propaganda qualifies you to hold forth on this topic?

BigDonOne said...

We have seen kids in the neighborhood here become demotived dysfunctiional non-achievers after "turning on." It's bad for society. Do you think you would have your computer and cell phone if the folks who developed all that capability had, instead, become dropped-out stoners...?? Not to mention the automotive and industrial accidents/screwups caused by inattentive folks on dont-give-ashit highs. Judgement is compromised. ....Kids neglected by stoned parents more concerned with getting high than feeding/clothing/nurturing and most-of-all protecting. ...Bad for society is why it's gotten a justifiably bad rap.


C'mon CNu, how comfortable would you be knowing that the surgeon and operating-room team, about to do your heart-bypass, or neurosurgery, had spent the previous hour toke-ing...??? (Thought so...)

CNu said...

What you refer to as "society" and I refer to as "dopamine hegemony" is an atrocity being committed on a majority of the human population of this planet, not to speak of the planet itself, by an insane and violent minority. It is an abomination that the silent serotoninergic majority has allowed itself to be violently and criminally abused by these little monsters in gunbelts for a couple of centuries now. Shit, if it's not one excuse to abuse, penalize, and torture, and kill folks, it's another.

As for the rest, the FBI and CIA have already put in for the NSA waiver on drug screening, because you simply can't get the best computer and electrical engineering talent available if you impose drug screens. Hell, the highest floor at MIT was called the highest floor at MIT because of its aggregate GPA as well as its legendary consumption of psychotomimetic refreshments.

That you're unaware of this fact indicates quite a lot about what level of "engineering" you can claim to have done on behalf of Boeing.

BigDonOne said...

All that esoteric stuff notwithstanding, you need to comment on how you feel about substance use by your surgeon, dentist, driver-coming-opposite-direction on 2-lane road, and perhaps the cockpit crew of the commercial jet bringing your daughter home from college....

CNu said...

Listen to the constipated thought structure you're working with here BD "substance use". Eating spinach is "substance use", and that's why Popeye ran so much of it through his pipe.

Anyway, I have no problems whatsoever with folk who have a ready, abundant, and high quality supply of either opiods or cannabinoids routinely meeting their recommended daily allowances of their preferred neuro-nutrients.

What I have problems with, and what you're yammering on about are malnourished misfits who have been victimized by your oxygen-thieving cop-mentality police state, and have been deprived of ready, abundant, and high quality opiod or cannabinoid dietary supplements. http://youtu.be/pcOrSWr2HLU

BigDonOne said...

@CNu, you simply are not making sense here, we are talking about mind-altering substances, NOT nutrition (spinach). You don't want anyone with a responsible job, especially anyone *you* need to depend on to do his/her job right, to be under the influence. A lot of folks simply can't control their use, e.g., witness those NFL players that blew mega-buck contracts by flunking drug tests they knew were going to have to take. Also, booted doctors and nurses caught on the job taking drugs......

Vic78 said...

You've been a sheltered sunflower. You really have no idea how many people use drugs. A lot of people are getting high. The New York Times recently threw up the white flag. Why won't you let go? You're up here talking Reefer Madness and the rest of the world is moving on.

Vic78 said...

What gets me is that this post is about altruism being humanity's natural state. You're dead set against altruism. So, what does that say about you?

CNu said...

lol, i have no qualms whatsoever about folks who prefer to be "under the influence" and who have steady and unabated access to their preferred nutriceuticals, doing what they love and do best "under the influence" of their recommended daily allowance. As soon as all botanical nutriceuticals are legalized and standardized for potency and duration, the sensibility of what i've stated will become clear in short order.


OTOH, anyone abusing the vile, disgusting, harmful, and costly dopaminergic "substances" ethanol and tobacco should indeed be societally shunned as a hazard to themselves and to others.

CNu said...

normotic illness to the bone....,

BigDonOne said...

Bad logic, Dude. Just because a lot of folks are doing it, doesn't make it right or a good thing....
http://kxan.com/2014/08/28/bus-driver-smoking-pot-behind-wheel-passes-out/

CNu said...

lol, that thin-blue, lily-white metric cuhlearly has him rattled. Even in the homeland he knows his game is weak, but add to that abdul azzis terminally tired of his shit and cuttin heads....., LAWD!!!!

BigDonOne said...

@Altruism - Mr. & Mrs. BD donate significantly to WORTHY causes....

Quoth the CNu, " It is an abomination that the silent serotoninergic majority has allowed itself to be violently and criminally abused by these little monsters in gunbelts for a couple of centuries now." It's called Civilization, and speaks to the difficulty in bringing cognition/FTO-lacking sub-groups out of their primitive Stone-Age cultural 'tardation.....

CNu said...

lol, lemme see....,

Pioneer Fund - check

Council of Conservative Citizens - check

Knights of the KeuwKluxKlan - check

http://youtu.be/JoVL1Zs6WTw

BigDonOne said...

Well, for openers, there's American Legion and DAR, those folks who honor and preserve the heritage of those patriots who created and fought to protect that wonderful piece of paper your First Foozlim wipes his idiotic corrupt ass with every day - you know, that POS you and so many others voted in for no other reason than his skin color.....

Vic78 said...

You've allowed your syphilis to go untreated.