Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Human Self-Domestication

  • Ben T. GleesonEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_3856-1


A longstanding evolutionary process of human sociosexual selection for reduced reactive aggression, leading to correlated behavioral, physiological, and morphological trait changes consistent with “domestication syndrome” as seen in domesticated animal lineages.


Domesticated animals are known to show a range of correlated trait changes in common when compared to their wild ancestors or relatives (Leach 2003; Wilkins et al. 2014; Zeder 2015). These traits have been experimentally demonstrated to emerge in response to sustained breeding selection for less reactive aggression (Trut et al. 2009). Modern humans show similar changes when compared to fossil remains of earlier Homo sapiens (Cieri et al. 2014). This evidence, coupled with high levels of cooperation and sociability, has led multiple authors to diagnose a process of “self-domestication” in human evolution (Cieri et al. 2014; Hare 2017; Leach 2003; Thomas and Kirby 2018). Human self-domestication is...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fenner School of Environment and SocietyAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Todd K. Shackelford
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyOakland UniversityRochesterUSA