• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Sociobiology is the application of evolutionary theory to the study of social behavior (e.g., sexual or parental behavior) across animal taxa, including humans. Central to the field is the assertion that individuals and their behaviors are subject to natural selection. Therefore, just as evolution leads to useful physical traits emerging within and across species (e.g., camouflage, large brains), it also leads to the evolution of advantageous behaviors (e.g., seasonal migration, social learning). And because behaviors have evolved over time in a manner similar to physical traits, they are similarly inherited. Accordingly, behaviors that increase an individual’s ability to survive and reproduce (i.e., maximize fitness) become more common in a population over time.

In the first overview of the field, E. O. Wilson presented Sociobiology: The ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles