Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

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


  • James Michael Menke
Living reference work entry

Later version available View entry history

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_1580-2



Sociobiology is the study of the extent to which natural selection might affect population-level social and cultural norms and behaviors.


In 1859, Darwin published his theory of evolution that described how inherited changes in living forms (morphology) and function (physiology) provide either advantages or disadvantages for the reproductive success of individuals. In turn, individual forms and functions affect behaviors that lead to complex social structures and cultures that are, in this sense, inherited.

Since ants do not teach their young ones how to form and maintain social structure, we may justifiably deduce that their social structure is inherited. Out of his study of ants, entomologist Edward O. Wilson conceived the idea that non-insect species might also transfer highly developed social organization and divisions of labor to some degree. To what degree might mammals, including humans, also inherit sociability, social...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.A.T. Still Research InstituteMesaUSA

Section editors and affiliations

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