Culture-gene coevolution, norm-psychology and the emergence of human prosociality

Diverse lines of theoretical and empirical research are converging on the notion that human evolution has been substantially influenced by the interaction of our cultural and genetic inheritance systems. The application of this culture-gene coevolutionary approach to understanding human social psychology has generated novel insights into the cognitive and affective foundations of large-scale cooperation, social norms and ethnicity. This approach hypothesizes a norm-psychology: a suite of psychological adaptations for inferring, encoding in memory, adhering to, enforcing and redressing violations of the shared behavioral standards of one’s community. After reviewing the substantial body of formal theory underpinning these predictions, we outline how this account organizes diverse empirical findings in the cognitive sciences and related disciplines. Norm-psychology offers explanatory traction on the evolved psychological mechanisms that underlie cultural evolution, cross-cultural differences and the emergence of norms.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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