Evolutionary Perspectives on Social Engagement

Heidi Keller and Athanasios Chasiotis

in The Development of Social Engagement

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195168716
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199847853 | DOI:

Series: Series in Affective Science

Evolutionary Perspectives on Social Engagement

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This chapter argues that competition, conflict, and cooperation are at the core of human social engagement, emphasizing the importance of interaction of selfish and cooperative motivation in gaining understanding of the nature of human social engagement. Discussions suggest that children seem to gain reputation through competent involvement in cooperative and competing interactions. Social dominance is achieved with competent practice of pro-social and competitive behaviour, and this can be considered a mechanism when understanding social structures in groups. Pro-social interactions and helpfulness are associated with popularity and social status during childhood. Dominant individuals, who have better access to resources, apply a combination of aggressive and cooperative interactive strategies to maintain their status. The strategies are based on the group's ecology and the related costs and benefits.

Keywords: social engagement; selfish motivation; cooperative motivation; social structures; pro-social behaviour; competitive behaviour; dominant behaviour; social status; childhood

Chapter.  12899 words. 

Subjects: Neuropsychology

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