Survival Of The Kindest

(ht2 Naj) ScienceDaily (Dec. 9, 2009) — Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, are challenging long-held beliefs that human beings are wired to be selfish. In a wide range of studies, social scientists are amassing a growing body of evidence to show we are evolving to become more compassionate and collaborative in our quest to survive and thrive.

In contrast to “every man for himself” interpretations of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, Dacher Keltner, a UC Berkeley psychologist and author of “Born to be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life,” and his fellow social scientists are building the case that humans are successful as a species precisely because of our nurturing, altruistic and compassionate traits. They call it “survival of the kindest.”

“Because of our very vulnerable offspring, the fundamental task for human survival and gene replication is to take care of others,” said Keltner, co-director of UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. “Human beings have survived as a species because we have evolved the capacities to care for those in need and to cooperate. As Darwin long ago surmised, sympathy is our strongest instinct.”

Also they have come up with the name, the ‘cuddle hormone’ excellent!

Keltner’s team is looking into how the human capacity to care and cooperate is wired into particular regions of the brain and nervous system. One recent study found compelling evidence that many of us are genetically predisposed to be empathetic.

The study, led by UC Berkeley graduate student Laura Saslow and Sarina Rodrigues of Oregon State University, found that people with a particular variation of the oxytocin gene receptor are more adept at reading the emotional state of others, and get less stressed out under tense circumstances.

Informally known as the “cuddle hormone,” oxytocin is secreted into the bloodstream and the brain, where it promotes social interaction, nurturing and romantic love, among other functions.

“The tendency to be more empathetic may be influenced by a single gene,” Rodrigues said.

Lack of which explains conservatives then…

Posted in Health. Tags: . 12 Comments »

12 Responses to “Survival Of The Kindest”

  1. earwicga Says:

    Bet they get their funding cut. Government doesn’t want social interaction ffs – unless it’s in shopping centres over a till.

  2. RickB Says:

    They are clearly dangerous communist agents intent on destroying ‘Teh Free Marketz’ burn the Witches!

  3. earwicga Says:

    The workplace is called UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. And “Christine Carter, executive director of the Greater Good Science Center, is creator of the “Science for Raising Happy Kids” Web site, whose goal, among other things, is to assist in and promote the rearing of “emotionally literate” children.”

    Quite clearly the place needs declaring as a dangerous cult immediately and the army sent in to dispose of these vermin. It’s just not acceptable.

    • RickB Says:

      Just when they’d cracked making a generation illiterate with school cuts now these bozos come along and make them emotionally literate, it’s like they don’t even want a slave/conscript class for the future!

  4. otto Says:

    Aha! This means that New Labour is an evolutionary sidestreet and is doomed to extinction. Excellent Smithers!

  5. libhomo Says:

    If you know about gene level evolution (which coexists with organism level evolution), you know that altruism is often in the best interest of the genes. Sociobiology teaches us that the drive to altruism is as natural and inevitable as the drive for sex.

    I can forgive Ayn Rand for being ignorant of not knowing about a scientific discipline that didn’t exist when she wrote her crap, but I have no sympathy for her followers who should know better, given their obsession with the subject of altruism.

    End of rant, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

  6. RickB Says:

    Good rant! Nothing can excuse Randroids, I think they are just people who put down all their failures to other people and think’ if only we had an absolutely selfish world we would rule’ like in their retarded books.

  7. Bina Says:

    I always did figure that common decency (and all its political forms, such as socialism) was an adaptive trait from an evolutionary standpoint. What gave the game away for me was reading about the finding of a prehistoric grave in which the skeleton of an elderly, vulnerable person was found. This person had severe arthritis and could not have looked after himself (he’d have died if he’d been left behind), so obviously others had been helping him to live for as long as he did. Meaning co-operation, not competition, is the true adaptive trait for humans. In other words–“Social Darwinism” is an epic fail. Caveman socialism for the WIN!

  8. RickB Says:

    Well this is what is always puzzling about the competition fetishists, humans would not have made it past weird tree monkeys if we did not collaborate towards a mutual benefit. What we now have to master is to stop the under evolved nutjobs insisting helping one another is evil having all the attention!

  9. Bina Says:

    And even weird tree monkeys have highly social societies. They tend to groom one another, and courtship rites consist of mutual feeding. Hmmm…

  10. RickB Says:

    I blame the monolith!

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