Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

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

Decline of Violence

  • Nathan H. LentsEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_3021-1



A great deal of evidence indicates that human society has experienced a slow and steady decline in both interpersonal and intergroup violence as cooperation, empathy, and peaceful resolution of conflict have become more dominant.


The emergence of Homo sapiens sapienswas a watershed moment in the natural history of the planet. Highly mobile populations of modern humans quickly replaced all of the other contemporary hominins they encountered, probably through a combination of violent and nonviolent means, and dramatically reshaped every environment they entered. However, human social groups are marked by extensive intraspecific cooperation, empathy, and nonviolent resolution of conflict, at least compared to our closest relatives, the other extant apes. There are several theories that have been developed to explain the decline of violence in the human species that are not mutually exclusive; in fact,...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SciencesJohn Jay College, The City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kevin Bennett
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyPennsylvania State University, BeaverMonacaUSA