Sociobiology at Work in Modern Populations

Authored by: Rosemary L. Hopcroft

Handbook on Evolution and Society

Print publication date:  January  2015
Online publication date:  November  2015

Print ISBN: 9781612058146
eBook ISBN: 9781315634203
Adobe ISBN: 9781317258339


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Sociobiology predicts that high-status, dominant individuals will outreproduce low-status individuals in a population. This prediction has been seemingly contradicted in modern societies, where women in high-income households have fewer children than women in low-income households. Yet if status is measured as personal income, in the United States and a variety of European countries there is a great deal of evidence that high-status males outreproduce low-status males (while the reverse is true for women). In this chapter, I show how these findings are consistent with trends in preindustrial societies. I further review studies of modern societies that support another important sociobiological prediction as given by the Trivers-Willard hypothesis. I suggest that all these results are evidence that sociobiology (and associated evolutionary psychology) are relevant to modern populations.

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