The Evolution of Deference

Dennis L. Krebs

in The Origins of Morality

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199778232
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897261 | DOI:
The Evolution of Deference

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This chapter offers an account of the evolution of deference and the role that deferential dispositions play in morality. Evolutionary theory supplies a basis for refining the accounts of deference, or unilateral respect, advanced by developmental psychologists. Deference to authority increases animals’ fitness by helping them avoid getting punished, injured, killed or ostracized by those who are more powerful than they are, and by inducing them to uphold the social orders that support the groups on which they are dependent. The neurohormonal processes that mediate dominance, submissiveness, and social status in humans are similar to those that mediate them in other primates.

Keywords: deference; unilateral respect; neurohormonal processes; dominance; submissiveness; social status

Chapter.  5267 words. 

Subjects: Psychology

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