Social niche construction

Curr Opin Psychol. 2016 Apr;8:119-124. doi: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.10.003. Epub 2015 Oct 13.


Humans are niche constructors who create physical and social environments to which they adapt. The social niche construction approach to human behavior analyzes behavior as a strategy to further long-term self-interest given a specific institution-that is, a set of stable and predictable responses from others to one's own behavior. We illustrate the logic of social niche construction analysis using examples of individualist and collectivist institutions, and explain how independent and interdependent self-construal can be viewed as strategies adapting to and collectively sustaining individualist or collectivist institutions. We discuss how the social niche construction approach is related to similar approaches used in cultural psychology, namely the socio-ecological approach, intersubjective approach, equilibrium approach, and gene-culture co-evolution approach.

Publication types

  • Review