You are not currently logged in.
Access JSTOR through your library or other institution:
If You Use a Screen ReaderThis content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Cultural Transmission Can Inhibit the Evolution of Altruistic Helping
Laurent Lehmann, Marcus W. Feldman and Kevin R. Foster
The American Naturalist
Vol. 172, No. 1 (July 2008), pp. 12-24
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/587851
Page Count: 13
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Phenotypic traits, Cultural evolution, Evolution, Genetics, Horizontal transmission, Biological altruism, Genetic inheritance, Personality traits, Cultural groups, Helping behavior
Were these topics helpful?See somethings inaccurate? Let us know!
Select the topics that are inaccurate.
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Preview not available
Abstract: The study of culturally inherited traits has led to the suggestion that the evolution of helping behaviors is more likely with cultural transmission than without. Here we evaluate this idea through a comparative analysis of selection on helping under both genetic and cultural inheritance. We develop two simple models for the evolution of helping through cultural group selection: one in which selection on the trait depends solely on Darwinian fitness effects and one in which selection is driven by nonreproductive factors, specifically imitation of strategies achieving higher payoffs. We show that when cultural variants affect Darwinian fitness, the selection pressure on helping can be markedly increased relative to that under genetic transmission. By contrast, when variants are driven by nonreproductive factors, the selection pressure on helping may be reduced relative to that under genetic inheritance. This occurs because, unlike biological offspring, the spread of cultural variants from one group to another through imitation does not reduce the number of these variants in the source group. As a consequence, there is increased within‐group competition associated with traits increasing group productivity, which reduces the benefits of helping. In these cases, selection for harming behavior (decreasing the payoff to neighbors) may occur rather than selection for helping.
© 2008 by The University of Chicago.