Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

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

Male Adaptations that Facilitate Success in War

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_950-1

Synonyms

Definition

The male warrior hypothesis claims that the sex-specific adaptive pressures exerted by recurrent lethal intergroup conflicts in our ancestral past favored the evolution of a cognitive machinery enabling men to form and maintain aggressive coalitions with other males to the end of dominating and exploiting out-groups.

Introduction

War is a gruesome phenomenon. Throughout (pre)history, humans engaging in this brutish activity have brought death, suffering, and destruction to an incalculable amount of their conspecifics. And although some scholars’ estimates indicate that the relative impact of wars on human survival and living conditions has been on the decline during the last couple of centuries (Pinker 2011), wars still continue to exert their devastating force today.

From an evolutionary perspective, wars pose a nontrivial puzzle. Why is it that humans are obviously ready and willing to put their...

Keywords

Social Dominance Orientation Collective Action Problem Cognitive Adaptation Intergroup Conflict Adaptive Challenge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Adams, D. B. (1983). Why there are so few women warriors. Cross-Cultural Research, 18(3), 196–212. doi:10.1177/106939718301800302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barclay, P., & van Vugt, M. (2015). The evolutionary psychology of human prosociality. Adaptations, byproducts, and mistakes. In The Oxford handbook of prosocial behavior (pp. 37–60). New York: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195399813.013.029.Google Scholar
  3. Choi, J.-K., & Bowles, S. (2007). The coevolution of parochial altruism and war. Science, 318(5850), 636–640. doi:10.1126/science.1144237.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Fry, D. P., & Söderberg, P. (2013). Lethal aggression in mobile forager bands and implications for the origins of war. Science, 341(6143), 270–273. doi:10.1126/science.1235675.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Gabriel, S., & Gardner, W. L. (1999). Are there “his” and “hers” types of interdependence?: The implications of gender differences in collective versus relational interdependence for affect, behavior, and cognition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77(3), 642–655. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.77.3.642.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Gat, A. (2015). Proving communal warfare among hunter-gatherers: The Quasi-Rousseauan error. Evolutionary Anthropology, 24(3), 111–126. doi:10.1002/evan.21446.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Gavrilets, S. (2015). Collective action problem in heterogeneous groups. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 370(1683), 20150016. doi:10.1098/rstb.2015.0016.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  8. Gavrilets, S., & Fortunato, L. (2014). A solution to the collective action problem in between-group conflict with within-group inequality. Nature Communications, 5, 3526. doi:10.1038/ncomms4526.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  9. Goldstein, A. P. (2002). The psychology of group aggression. Chichester: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hawley, P. H. (2014). Ontogeny and social dominance: A developmental view of human power patterns. Evolutionary Psychology, 12(2), 318–342. doi:10.1177/147470491401200204.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Hill, K. R., Walker, R. S., Bozicevic, M., Eder, J., Headland, T., Hewlett, B. S., … and Wood, B. (2011). Co-residence patterns in hunter-gatherer societies show unique human social structure. Science, 331(6022), 1286–1289. doi:10.1126/science.1199071.Google Scholar
  12. Holbrook, C., & Fessler, D. M. T. (2013). Sizing up the threat: The envisioned physical formidability of terrorists tracks their leaders’ failures and successes. Cognition, 127(1), 46–56. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2012.12.002.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Johnson, D. D., & MacKay, N. J. (2015). Fight the power: Lanchester’s laws of combat in human evolution. Evolution and Human Behavior, 36(2), 152–163. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2014.11.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Johnson, D. D., McDermott, R., Barrett, E. S., Cowden, J., Wrangham, R. W., McIntyre, M. H., & Peter Rosen, S. (2006). Overconfidence in wargames: Experimental evidence on expectations, aggression, gender and testosterone. Proceedings of the Royal Society B – Biological Sciences, 273(1600), 2513–2520. doi:10.1098/rspb.2006.3606.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  15. Keeley, L. H. (1996). War before civilization: The myth of the peaceful savage. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Kurzban, R., Tooby, J., & Cosmides, L. (2001). Can race be erased? Coalitional computation and social categorization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 98(26), 15387–15392. doi:10.1073/pnas.251541498.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  17. Lee, I.-C., Pratto, F., & Johnson, B. T. (2011). Intergroup consensus/disagreement in support of group-based hierarchy: An examination of socio-structural and psycho-cultural factors. Psychological Bulletin, 137(6), 1029–1064. doi:10.1037/a0025410.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  18. Lehmann, L., & Feldman, M. W. (2008). War and the evolution of belligerence and bravery. Proceedings of the Royal Society B – Biological Sciences, 275(1653), 2877–2885. doi:10.1098/rspb.2008.0842.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  19. Little, A. C., Burriss, R. P., Jones, B. C., & Roberts, S. C. (2007). Facial appearance affects voting decisions. Evolution and Human Behavior, 28(1), 18–27. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2006.09.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. McDonald, M. M., Navarrete, C. D., & van Vugt, M. (2012). Evolution and the psychology of intergroup conflict: The male warrior hypothesis. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 367(1589), 670–679. doi:10.1098/rstb.2011.0301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Pemberton, M. B., Insko, C. A., & Schopler, J. (1996). Memory for and experience of differential competitive behavior of individuals and groups. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71(5), 953–966. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.71.5.953.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Pinker, S. (2011). The better angels of our nature: Why violence has declined. New York: Viking.Google Scholar
  23. Rusch, H. (2014a). The two sides of warfare: An extended model of altruistic behavior in ancestral human intergroup conflict. Human Nature, 25(3), 359–377. doi:10.1007/s12110-014-9199-y.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Rusch, H. (2014b). The evolutionary interplay of intergroup conflict and altruism in humans: A review of parochial altruism theory and prospects for its extension. Proceedings of the Royal Society B – Biological Sciences, 281(1794), 20141539. doi:10.1098/rspb.2014.1539.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  25. Rusch, H., Leunissen, J. M., & van Vugt, M. (2015). Historical and experimental evidence of sexual selection for war heroism. Evolution and Human Behavior. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2015.02.005.Google Scholar
  26. Sidanius, J., & Ekehammar, B. (1980). Sex-related differences in socio-political ideology. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 21(1), 17–26. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9450.1980.tb00336.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sidanius, J., & Pratto, F. (1999). Social dominance: An integroup theory of social hierarchy and oppression. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Spisak, B. R., Homan, A. C., Grabo, A., & van Vugt, M. (2012). Facing the situation: Testing a biosocial contingency model of leadership in intergroup relations using masculine and feminine faces. The Leadership Quarterly, 23(2), 273–280. doi:10.1016/j.leaqua.2011.08.006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Taylor, S. E., Klein, L. C., Lewis, B. P., Gruenewald, T. L., Gurung, R. A. R., & Updegraff, J. A. (2000). Biobehavioral responses to stress in females: Tend-and-befriend, not fight-or-flight. Psychological Review, 107(3), 411–429. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.107.3.411.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Tooby, J. & Cosmides, L. (1988). The evolution of war and its cognitive foundations. Retrieved from http://www.psych.ucsb.edu/research/cep/papers/Evolofwar.pdf
  31. Tooby, J., & Cosmides, L. (2010). Groups in mind: The coalitional roots of war and morality. In H. Høgh-Olesen (Ed.), Human morality and sociality. Evolutionary and comparative perspectives (pp. 191–234). Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. van Vugt, M. (2009). Sex differences in intergroup competition, aggression, and warfare. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1167(1), 124–134. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04539.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. van Vugt, M., de Cremer, D., & Janssen, D. P. (2007). Gender differences in cooperation and competition: The male-warrior hypothesis. Psychological Science, 18(1), 19–23. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01842.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. van Vugt, M., & Spisak, B. R. (2008). Sex differences in the emergence of leadership during competitions within and between groups. Psychological science, 19(9), 854–858. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02168.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Walker, R. S., & Bailey, D. H. (2013). Body counts in lowland South American violence. Evolution and Human Behavior, 34(1), 29–34. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2012.08.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wildschut, T., Pinter, B., Vevea, J. L., Insko, C. A., & Schopler, J. (2003). Beyond the group mind: A quantitative review of the interindividual-intergroup discontinuity effect. Psychological Bulletin, 129(5), 698–722. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.129.5.698.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Willems, E. P., Hellriegel, B., & van Schaik, C. P. (2013). The collective action problem in primate territory economics. Proceedings of the Royal Society B – Biological Sciences, 280(1759), 20130081. doi:10.1098/rspb.2013.0081.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  38. Willems, E. P., & van Schaik, C. P. (2015). Collective action and the intensity of between-group competition in nonhuman primates. Behavioral Ecology, 26(2), 625–631. doi:10.1093/beheco/arv001.Google Scholar
  39. Wilson, M. L., & Wrangham, R. W. (2003). Intergroup relations in chimpanzees. Annual Review of Anthropology, 32(1), 363–392. doi:10.1146/annurev.anthro.32.061002.120046.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Wilson, M. L., Boesch, C., Fruth, B., Furuichi, T., Gilby, I. C., Hashimoto, C., … and Wrangham, R. W. (2014). Lethal aggression in Pan is better explained by adaptive strategies than human impacts. Nature, 513(7518), 414–417. doi:10.1038/nature13727Google Scholar
  41. Wrangham, R. W. (1999). Evolution of coalitionary killing. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 110(S29), 1–30. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1096-8644 110:29+<1::AID-AJPA2>3.0.CO;2-EGoogle Scholar
  42. Wrangham, R. W., & Glowacki, L. (2012). Intergroup aggression in chimpanzees and war in nomadic hunter-gatherers. Human Nature, 23(1), 5–29. doi:10.1007/s12110-012-9132-1.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philipps University MarburgMarburgGermany
  2. 2.VU University AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands