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For the Good of the Group? Exploring Group-Level Evolutionary Adaptations Using Multilevel Selection Theory

O'Gorman, R and Sheldon, KM and Wilson, DS (2008) 'For the Good of the Group? Exploring Group-Level Evolutionary Adaptations Using Multilevel Selection Theory.' Group Dynamics, 12 (1). 17 - 26. ISSN 1089-2699

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Abstract

In this paper, we present an evolutionary framework, multilevel selection theory (MLS), that is highly amenable to existing social psychological theory and empiricism. MLS provides an interpretation of natural selection that shows how group-beneficial traits can evolve, a prevalent implication of social psychological data. We outline the theory and provide a number of example topics, focusing on prosociality, policing behavior, gossip, brainstorming, distributed cognition, and social identity. We also show that individual differences can produce important group-level outcomes depending on differential aggregation of individual types and relate this to the evolutionary dynamics underlying group traits. Drawing on existing work, we show how social psychologists can integrate this framework into their research program and suggest future directions for research. © 2008 American Psychological Association.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2011 09:52
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2019 10:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/1635

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