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, 367 (1589), 670-9

Evolution and the Psychology of Intergroup Conflict: The Male Warrior Hypothesis

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Evolution and the Psychology of Intergroup Conflict: The Male Warrior Hypothesis

Melissa M McDonald et al. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci.

Abstract

The social science literature contains numerous examples of human tribalism and parochialism-the tendency to categorize individuals on the basis of their group membership, and treat ingroup members benevolently and outgroup members malevolently. We hypothesize that this tribal inclination is an adaptive response to the threat of coalitional aggression and intergroup conflict perpetrated by 'warrior males' in both ancestral and modern human environments. Here, we describe how male coalitional aggression could have affected the social psychologies of men and women differently and present preliminary evidence from experimental social psychological studies testing various predictions from the 'male warrior' hypothesis. Finally, we discuss the theoretical implications of our research for studying intergroup relations both in humans and non-humans and discuss some practical implications.

Figures

Figure 1.
Figure 1.
Altruistic group contributions increase among men during intergroup conflict. Black bars, individuals; grey bars, groups. Adapted with permission from Van Vugt et al. [30].
Figure 2.
Figure 2.
Group identification increases among men during intergroup conflict. Black bars, individuals; grey bars, groups. Adapted with permission from Van Vugt et al. [30].
Figure 3.
Figure 3.
Fear-extinction resistance by target gender and target group. Higher values denote greater resistance to extinction of a conditioned response, as measured by skin conductance. Zero values denote complete extinction, and error bars indicate standard errors. Black bars, male target (n = 84); grey bars, female target (n = 83). Adapted from Navarrete et al. [51].
Figure 4.
Figure 4.
Mean composite race bias (solid line) and conception risk (dashed line) across the menstrual cycle. Curves reflect a smoothed local average. Adapted with permission from Navarrete et al. [68].
Figure 5.
Figure 5.
Evaluative intergroup bias against men in racial and minimal group contexts as a function of conception risk and high (solid lines) and low (dashed lines) physicality associations. Adapted with permission from McDonald et al. [71].

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