Evolution of Social Behaviour in Humans

16Feb2017 18:00 - 20:00


Human society is extremely complex, but in the end builds on the behaviour of individual humans. Human behaviour is studied by psychologists, but not exclusively so; biologists, too, have something to add in our quest for understanding human behaviour, and thus ultimately in understanding human society. Especially relevant is the social behaviour of humans, which is particularly well developed in our species. One aspect in particular stands out: altruism. If anything, one would expect that natural selection weeds out any tendency to help others at a personal cost. Yet altruism is not uncommon in humans, making it a serious challenge for evolutionary biology. In this seminar, I will explore standard explanations for the evolution of social behaviour. Then I will argue that these do not suffice to understand human social behaviour. Finally, I will explore relations between culture and evolution, offering a potential solution for the origin of altruistic behaviour in humans.

Speaker: Dr. Cor Zonneveld is a  teacher and tutor at AUC. He studied biol-ogy at VU Amsterdam, where he received his PhD in theoretical biology. During several post docs, he studied a variety of topics: from life history evolution in butterflies to the role of marine phytoplankton in global nutrient cycles. From 2005 onwards, he has been fully focused on teaching at the Bachelor and Master levels.
Location:  Common Room
Amsterdam University College
Science Park 113
1098 XG Amsterdam
Convenor:  Dr. Maxim Kupovykh


Published by  Amsterdam University College