Human Ecology

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 325–351

Cultural transmission and the evolution of cooperative behavior

  • Robert Boyd
  • Peter J. Richerson

DOI: 10.1007/BF01531189

Cite this article as:
Boyd, R. & Richerson, P.J. Hum Ecol (1982) 10: 325. doi:10.1007/BF01531189


Sociobiological theory predicts that humans should not cooperate with large groups of unrelated individuals. This prediction is based on genetic models that show that selection acting on variation between large unrelated groups will generally be much weaker than selection acting on variation between individuals. Recently, several authors have presented related models of human evolution that integrate cultural and genetic transmission of behavior. We show that in such models group selection is potentially a strong force. Data on ethnocentrism is examined in the context of these results.

Key words

altruismcultural inheritancedual inheritancegroup selection

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Boyd
    • 1
  • Peter J. Richerson
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Forestry and Environmental StudiesDuke UniversityDurham
  2. 2.Division of Environmental StudiesUniversity of CaliforniaDavis