Journal of Bioeconomics

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 159–163 | Cite as

Domestication experiments reveal developmental link between friendliness and cognition

  • Brian HareEmail author


The goal of economics is to understand human preferences. Most research focuses on adult humans and does not take an evolutionary approach. In biology experimental evolution has been able to shift the preferences of animals. As an example, artificial selection for friendly behavior toward humans results in a syndrome of changes that strongly resembles differences between wild and domestic animals. These domestication experiments have revealed precise genetic and neurobiological systems that are altered by the selection and linked through expanded windows of development. Similar evolutionary experiments selecting for a range of social, risk or discounting preferences could push economics toward consilience with biology. Prospects for a unified theory of economic behavior would be drastically improved.


Domestication Artificial selection Prosociality Social preferences Decision making Self domestication 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Duke UniversityDurhamUSA

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