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SELECTIVE DIMENSIONS OF PERSONALITY: PSYCHIATRY AND SOCIOBIOLOGY IN COLLISION UAL KOFOED* There has been a degree of interest in applying evolutionary principles to animal and, more reluctantly, human behavior since Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859. Freud's knowledge of the evolutionary process was a basic, if insufficiently developed, underpinning of his attempts to conceptually secularize and scientifically analyze basic human drives. Two of his contributions probably do reflect consequences ofevolution on human behavior—the concept of multiple levels of conscious and unconscious influence on behavior, and recognition of the pervasive effects of sexuality on human feelings, thoughts, and actions . However, it is only in recent decades that models allowing convincing explanations of the evolution ofbehavior have been developed. Konrad Lorenz pioneered the application of evolutionary principles to animal behavior, receiving a Nobel Prize for his efforts. He is popularly known for confusing newly hatched greylag geese by manipulating the imprinting process. His work is the basis of ethology, revealing that behaviors can be compared in much the same way as morphologic variations , and deductions about evolutionary relationships can be made from the comparisons [I]. More recently, W. D. Hamilton, E. O. Wilson, Robert Trivers, and others have studied the evolution of social behaviors , merging basic evolutionary principles, population genetics, game theory, and ethology into what is now called sociobiology [2]. Sociobiology posits that social behaviors can evolve through the course of evolutionary history. Natural selection can act on such behaviors The author thanks colleagues Jim MacMillan, Alice Keys, and William Hoffman for provocative discussion and conceptual clarification, and Loren Pankratz for a critical and thoughtful review. This essay received honorable mention in the 1986 Dwight J. Ingle Memorial Writing Award for authors under 36.»Written while author was with the Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Oregon Health Sciences University. Current address: Psychiatry Service, White River Junction, V.A. Medical and Regional Office Center, White River function, Vermont 05001.© 1988 by The University of Chicago. AU rights reserved. 0031-5982/88/3102-0559$01.00 228 I Liai Kofoed ¦ Psychiatry and Sociobiology when (a) individuals differ in their expression of a particular behavior, (b) a behavior has some degree ofheritability from one generation to the next, and (c) behavioral differences are associated with either differential reproductive success [3] or differential success of relatives and offspring [4]. While there continues to be considerable debate about specifics, biology as a whole is increasingly accepting of evolutionary explanations of social behavior. This acceptance is due to the development of conceptual models that have led to explanations of a variety of thorny problems, including the problem of the evolution of cooperative and altruistic behaviors, which are puzzling from the traditional Darwinistic viewpoint of evolution as a struggle between individuals. The first of these models was offered by W. D. Hamilton in 1964 [4]. He explained the evolution of certain altruistic behaviors by developing the concept of "inclusive fitness." Hamilton showed that the reproductive fitness of individuals could be measured not only by their success in reproducing their own genes but by the effect of their behavior on the success of genes like their own that were residing in related individuals (this mechanism is called kin selection). This occurs because related individuals share a percentage of identical genes. Hence, genetically influenced behaviors of one individual that increase the fitness of a related individual may be favored by natural selection because the predisposing genes will increase in frequency in the population. An example of this selective mechanism may be found in the maternal behavior of certain birds. A female with a nestling may, when predators approach her nest, feign a broken wing at considerable risk to herself, presumably to draw the predators from the nest. Such behavior may be described as altruistic : it potentially reduces the mother's fitness, as she may not survive . If, however, the behavior is genetically influenced, and if the risk to her is less than half the increase in the chance her offspring will survive, then inclusive fitness (in terms of the number of genes influencing this behavior left in the population) will increase and the genetic predisposition to such behavior will be favored by natural selection...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
pp. 228-242
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-07
Open Access
No
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