Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Social Selection for Human Altruism

  • Paul R. Gladden
  • Frederick C. Baker
  • Kylie E. Snow
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_1579-1



Social selection occurs when social interactions produce changes in gene frequencies favoring phenotypic traits that enhance success in gaining or maintaining any reproductively valuable resource, including social status, mates, and social partners (see West-Eberhard 1979; Figueredo et al. 2015).


There are diverse usages of the term “social selection.” It has been (misguidedly, in our view) theorized as an alternative to sexual selection theory (Roughgarden 2012). In contrast, West-Eberhard (1979) considered it useful to distinguish between sexual selection (produced by mate choice and social competition for mates) and social selection (produced by social competition for resources rather than social competition directly for mates), viewing them as two complementary forms of natural selection related to intraspecific social competition. Others have also pointed out that sexual...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul R. Gladden
    • 1
  • Frederick C. Baker
    • 1
  • Kylie E. Snow
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Criminal JusticeMiddle Georgia State UniversityMaconUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Jon Sefcek
    • 1
  1. 1.Kent State UniversityKentUSA