Macachiavellian Origins of Love and Compassion

Dario Maestripieri

in Macachiavellian Intelligence

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780226501178
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226501215 | DOI:
Macachiavellian Origins of Love and Compassion

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  • Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology


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Humans (Homo sapiens) and rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) are both political animals. In both human and rhesus macaque societies, it is difficult to survive and be successful without the help of others. Success depends on political power, and that power is acquired and maintained through the formation of alliances with other individuals. But wherever there is cooperation there is also competition. Individuals cooperate with one another to compete against others. Because of competition, the main source of problems for people is other people, and for rhesus macaques it is other rhesus macaques. To deal with the complexities of cooperation and competition, rhesus macaques and humans have evolved a sophisticated and opportunistic form of social intelligence. Life in large social groups may encourage not only the evolution of Machiavellian social intelligence, but of complex intelligence in general. This chapter examines the evolution of social intelligence in humans and rhesus macaques, the inequality of the sexes as well as male and female power, nepotism and despotism in rhesus and human societies, and human nature versus rhesus nature.

Keywords: humans; rhesus macaques; human nature; evolution; social intelligence; political power; nepotism; despotism; cooperation; competition

Chapter.  6375 words. 

Subjects: Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology

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