Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Altruism in Kin Selection

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_1361-1



When an organism behaves to produce benefits for his kinship with a cost for himself.


The classical natural selection theory cannot account for scenarios where an animal behaves to promote benefits to others by paying its costs (Hamilton 1963, 1964). One possibility to explain such scenarios may be that the recipient of the altruistic act shares some genes with the behaver. The altruistic act, in this way, may reduce the behaver’s fitness although enhancing his genes fitness, what is known as inclusive fitness. Therefore, altruistic acts toward relatives may be a fitness-enhancing strategy.

Hamilton’s Law of Kinship Altruism

W. D. Hamilton construed his model for the selection of Altruistic acts on a criticism against the idea that an individual behaves in cooperative ways in the benefit of the species. Findings in population genetics at that time already pointed that general adaptive advantages on a group does...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Experimental PsychologyUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil

Section editors and affiliations

  • Farid Pazhoohi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada