Reading notes for Games Primates Play Ch. 7 & 9. Watanabe Readings, Cheney Reading
Human Evolutionary Biology
Human Evolutionary Biology 1329
Notes for 11/29
1) GPP7: Testing the Bond
-male baboons: cooperative relationships that involve agg alliances and mutual
support in fights. commitment problem. solution: fondle each other’s testicles.
-handicap principle: most effect way to obtain reliable information about a
partner’s commitment in a relationship is to impose a cost on the partner and
assess the partner’s willingness to pay it.
-male baboons: agg
-attack in pairs or gangs. to fight other males.
-highly promiscuous. mate with as many females and often.
-large testicles for body size and can ejaculate 10-15 times a day.
-high ranking males monopolize fertile females
-lower ranking team up, one fights, one fucks, to get female. then
switch. reciprocal altruism.
-coalitions to rise in power.
-coalitions take time and effort.
-also want good political allies and high ranking.
-cooperative relationships are unstable. ripe for betrayal.
-testicle grab: a greeting. could be incomplete. takes a huge risk. work only if
both committed to being friendly.
-cooperative relationships between nonkin are intrinsically less stable. important
to test the bond and assess partner’s commitment.
-assess market value. how much would you pay? or animals: fitness. the
extent animal willing to risk its survival.
-cheap signal is easy to fake: expensive signals require resources that
only superior individuals possess. peacock tails. inherently honest owing
to their costs.
-baboons holding infant in fight.
-zahavi says HP also explains altruism and nepotism. altruism trying to handicap
themselves to advertise their own quality.
-capuchin monkeys: large groups. highly competitive societies. compete for
social status. test patience of favorite social partners. subjecting them to
annoying behaviors. fingers in nose. pulling hair. biting ears. sucking fingers.
poking eyeballs. hold other infants.
-expression of love and affection often contain stress producing even aggressive
elements because acceptance and tolerance of them provides reliable evidence
of his or her current willingness to continue to invest. zahavi believes sex is the
ultimate mechanism. but mast. disagrees.
-can the commitment problem be solved?
2) GPP9 Evolution of Human Social Behavior
evolutionary baggage. -anthropocentrism: the idea that humans are at the center of the universe and
everything else revolves around them.
-studies: after the fact consciousness. people can be fooled into
believing that they cause and control their own actions.
-human algorithms: designed to solve particular problems or tasks. genetic basis,
evolved by natural selection.
-internal trigger: motivation. to act and cause behavior. not necessarily
consciousness. one function of emotions is to energize motivation, but they do a
lot more. emotions are computer programs designed by natural selection not only
to motivate behavioral responses but also to coordinate and organize other
-emotions can cause us to behave irrationally . emotions activate cognitive
subprograms that lead to behavioral decisions different from those
predicted by rational models.
-many people use simple rules of thumb to make quick decisions. heuristics.
animals use them too. copy choice of majority of other individuals.
-phylogenetic tree. homologous. structural and functional. behavior is functional.
-complex social behaviors evolve. behavioral traits may even be more resistant
than morphological traits. smile. infant attachment system.
3) GPP Epilogue
4) Explaining Religion without Explaining it Away: Trust, Truth, and the Evolution
of cooperation: watanabe
-ritual may intensify cooperation in socially complex but nonlinguistic contexts by
establishing a behaviorally transparent means of certifying otherwise opaque
individual intentions. ritual may sanctify symbolic communication but also play a
crucial role in evolution.
-ritual pig feasting and warfare.
-ritual’s outwardly distinctive features’ logical consequences
-ritual’s highly stereotyped behaviors and the need to perform them could counter
the potential for lying and deceit inherent in symbolic communication.
-ritual behavior couldmake social communication between indi more reliable.
-savanna baboons. why adult males greeted each other by mounting one another
or trying to pat each other’s testicles and whether these behaviors reflected
further social cooperation between them.
-ritual form constituted a conventionally given context within which individuals
acted out their cooperative intentions toward each other through mutually
coordinated social action.
-ritual constituted an evolutionarily available, behaviorally flexible means by
which social cooperation could have intensified into language and culture in conjunction with other phylogenetic changes in hominid cognition and self
-ritualized behavior in nonhuman animals
-animal behavior: 2 types. instrumental actions that alter indivi
environmeny in ways that contribu