Social Information Transmission and Human Biology
Jonathan CK Wells, Simon Strickland, Kevin Laland
CRC Press, May 22, 2006 - Science - 289 pages
Recent research has emphasized that socially transmitted information may affect both the gene pool and the phenotypes of individuals and populations, and that an improved understanding of evolutionary issues is beneficial to those working towards the improvement of human health. Equally, an improved awareness of how human behavior influences health and reproductive fitness is starting to shed new light on the processes that shape the evolution of human behavior and the human mind.
Focusing directly on these emerging trends, Social Information Transmission and Human Biology bridges the gap between primarily theoretical work undertaken by those with evolutionary interests and biomedical work undertaken by those dealing with practical issues in human health and demographics. Incorporating papers from a symposium organized under the auspices of the UK Society for the Study of Human Biology, this volume merges the perspectives of internationally renowned evolutionary and theoretical biologists, zoologists, anthropologists, archaeologists, psychologists, and medical researchers whose work is linked by common themes addressing how information is transmitted socially and how its transmission influences both immediate and evolutionary biological outcomes. Emphasizes the diverse ways in which socially transmitted information impacts on human biology
To illustrate these themes, the chapters draw on models and data ranging from observations on chimpanzee populations in the wild and on the human archaeological record, to studies of contemporary humans in both developing and industrialized countries. Taking a broad approach, many of the chapters address areas of behavior that are familiar to scientists in particular fields, but do so using a variety of cross-disciplinary perspectives, which will prove stimulating for researchers in a range of academic subject areas, while helping to facilitate closer collaboration between biological and social scientists.