Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

pp 1-3

Date: Latest Version

Evolved Psychology of Warfare

  • Robert BöhmAffiliated withSchool of Business and Economics, RWTH Aachen University Email author 
  • , Hannes RuschAffiliated withPublic Economics, Philipps-Universität MarburgPeter Löscher Chair of Business Ethics, TU München


Evolved psychology; Predictors of violent intergroup conflict; Theories


Psychological processes involved in aggressive collective actions of groups toward other groups, typically characterized by high levels of destruction and mortality.


Intergroup violence and warfare can have different forms. In raids, attackers significantly outnumber their opponents, whereas battles involve roughly equal numbers of combatants on both sides. Among traditional small-scale societies, battles occur less often than raids and are often ritualized, nonlethal encounters. In modern societies’ war history, however, there are countless examples of lethal large-scale intergroup encounters, like the Battle of Stalingrad, which caused more than two million military and civilian casualties. This battle was part of the deadliest war of human history, World War II from 1939 to 1945, with more than 60 million deaths overall. Violence between groups remains omnipresent today, causing about ...

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