Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

The demography of human warfare can drive sex differences in altruism

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

DOI

Open Access permissions

Open

Author(s)

Alberto J. C. Micheletti, Graeme D. Ruxton, Andy Gardner

School/Research organisations

Abstract

Recent years have seen great interest in the suggestion that between-group aggression and within-group altruism have coevolved. However, these efforts have neglected the possibility that warfare – via its impact on demography – might influence human social behaviours more widely, not just those directly connected to success in war. Moreover, the potential for sex differences in the demography of warfare to translate into sex differences in social behaviour more generally has remained unexplored. Here, we develop a kin-selection model of altruism performed by men and women for the benefit of their groupmates in a population experiencing intergroup conflict. We find that warfare can promote altruistic, helping behaviours as the additional reproductive opportunities winners obtain in defeated groups decrease harmful competition between kin. Furthermore, we find that sex can be a crucial modulator of altruism, with there being a tendency for the sex that competes more intensely with relatives to behave more altruistically and for the sex that competes more intensely with non-relatives in defeated groups to receive more altruism. In addition, there is also a tendency for the less-dispersing sex to both give and receive more altruism. We discuss implications for our understanding of observed sex differences in cooperation in human societies.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere7
Number of pages15
JournalEvolutionary Human Sciences
Volume2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2020

    Research areas

  • Warfare, Altruism, Sex differences, Demography, Dispersal, Kin competition

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Why war is a man's game

    Micheletti, A. J. C., Ruxton, G. D. & Gardner, A., 15 Aug 2018, In : Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 285, 1884, 8 p., 20180975.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Intragroup and intragenomic conflict over chemical defense against predators

    Best, R., Ruxton, G. D. & Gardner, A., Mar 2018, In : Ecology and Evolution. 8, 6, p. 3322-3329 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Intrafamily and intragenomic conflicts in human warfare

    Micheletti, A. J. C., Ruxton, G. D. & Gardner, A., 22 Feb 2017, In : Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 284, 1849, 10 p., 20162699.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Does kin discrimination promote cooperation?

    Faria, G. & Gardner, A., 17 Feb 2020, (Accepted/In press) In : Biology Letters.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Avian distraction displays: a review

    Humphreys, R. K. & Ruxton, G. D., 8 Feb 2020, In : Ibis. Early View

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

ID: 265639291

Top