Raymond Hames, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Nebraska, will deliver a plenary lecture, and will be introduced by Napoleon Chagnon, Research Professor of Anthropology at the University of Missouri. Talk title and abstract below.
An Assessment of Inclusive Fitness Theory in Humans
Shortly after its introduction in 1964 by WD Hamilton many evolutionary minded social scientists thought kin selection would likely explain a variety of altruistic and cooperative behaviors that had been attributed to culture. Both behavioral ecologists and evolutionary psychologists have been at the forefront in dealing with the complexity of kin altruism by researching inter-related problems from kin recognition and emotional valence towards kin to actuarial and field based observational accounts of kin investment. There is now clear evidence of the utility kin investment understanding a variety of behaviors such as alloparenting, matrilateral and pay-off based biases, and costly forms of altruism. However, while potent, kin selection’s reach is limited: low cost reciprocal altruism dominates everyday interaction and higher level social norms guide many costly behaviors. The goal in this presentation is identify areas in which kin investment is well documented, how investment varies across the life course, where kin investment is surprisingly absent, and some problems in current approaches to kin investment.