Green Beards, Altruism and Kinship – Halfway through Behave by Robert Sapolsky

Kin selection is the theory that we behave more altruistic towards people who share our genes—-given we believe in the darwinian paradigm that the overarching aim for an organism is to further its genes, of course.

Or as John Haldane humorously concluded while working on the mathematics of kin selection:

“I would lay down my life for two brothers or eight cousins.”

The idea being that brothers and sisters share genes by 50% and cousins 12,5%. The math being something like this:

1 person = 8 cousins (12.5×8=100)

1 person = 4 nephews (4×25=100)

1 person = 2 siblings (2×50=100)

The Green Beard Effect started as a thought experiment that would explain why we exhibit altruistic behaviors towards people who share a genetic trait with us, i.e a green bearded person favors another green bearded person over someone else. It’s is a poor mans version of kin selection.

The behavior has been confirmed studies on fire ants in 1998.

… and a Review of Behave by Robert Sapolsky is coming soon!


Sources:
http://www.eoht.info/m/page/John+Haldane
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green-beard_effect

Book Year in review with @chriserzfeld

Book Year in review with @chriserzfeld:

“This year, I read a lot of interesting books. One of those was “Behave” by Robert Sapolsky. I got a lot of insight into what makes humans tick, and how we are irrational, emotional and out of control creatures in an entertaining way so that book influenced me a lot.

📖 “Behave” – Robert Sapolsky


I also enjoyed “The Laws of Human Nature” by Robert Greene, which expanded my views on people and was a great book to read right after Sapolsky’s book.

📖 “The Laws of Human Nature” – R. Greene


Then I learned a lot from reading Carl Rogers and his book “On Becoming A Person”. Especially the first half of the book.

📖 “On Becoming A Person” – Carl Rogers


I highly recommend you check them out!

The key insights for this year must be those of neuroscience, behavior, psychology, and biology. We humans are not so rational and stable as we think we are. But if we can come to terms with the factor that our hormones govern our behavior, we can begin to catch ourselves when we are about to carry out an impulsive action and stop ourselves before we do something we will later come to regret.

I am looking forward to reading more about psychology, mythology, and human nature next year. I’m also looking forward to writing and publishing more blog posts. I am excited about work in general so that pretty much sums it up!

Thank you for reading, and thank you for supporting Bookstagram. We’ll talk soon. Take care.

Best regards// @chriserzfeld