Cooperation and Conflict in the Light of Kin Recognition Systems

Daniel Brian Krupp, Lisa M. DeBruine and Benedict C. Jones

in The Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Family Psychology

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780195396690
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Cooperation and Conflict in the Light of Kin Recognition Systems

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  • Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology


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Genetic relatedness is central to the problems of social evolution. Whenever individuals interact nonrandomly with respect to genotype, their actions may have indirect fitness consequences. Although population structure affects the frequency of interactions among relatives, kin recognition systems can help optimize behavior to the advantage of the actor’s genetic posterity. Here, we review the functional and mechanistic foundations of kin recognition systems and demonstrate their effects on cooperation and conflict in a number of different species, devoting special attention to the case of Homo sapiens. We conclude by developing several testable hypotheses about the impact of kin recognition on social behavior.

Keywords: Kin recognition; social evolution; inclusive fitness theory; phenotype matching; green-beards

Article.  13124 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology ; Developmental Psychology

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