Machiavellian Intelligence: Social Expertise and the Evolution of Intellect in Monkeys, Apes

Machiavellian Intelligence: Social Expertise and the Evolution of Intellect in Monkeys, Apes

by Richard Byrne
     
 

This book presents an alternative to conventional ideas about the evolution of the human intellect. Instead of placing top priority on the role of tools, the pressure for their skillful use, and the related importance of interpersonal communication as a means for enhanced cooperation, this volume explores quite a different idea— that the driving force in the

Overview

This book presents an alternative to conventional ideas about the evolution of the human intellect. Instead of placing top priority on the role of tools, the pressure for their skillful use, and the related importance of interpersonal communication as a means for enhanced cooperation, this volume explores quite a different idea— that the driving force in the evolution of human intellect was social expertise—a force which enabled the manipulation of others within the social group, who themselves are seen as posing the most challenging problems faced by primitive humans. The need to outwit one's clever colleagues then produces an evolutionary spiraling of "Machiavellian intelligence." The book forms a complete and self-contained text on this fast-growing topic. It includes the origins of the basic premise and a wealth of exciting developments, described by an international team of authors from the fields of anthropology, psychology, and zoology. An evaluation of more traditional approaches is also undertaken, with a view to discovering to what extent Machiavellian intelligence represents a complementary concept or one that is truly an alternative. Readers and students will find this fascinating volume carries them to the frontiers of scientific work on the origin of human intellect.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Unusually well organized, integrated, and edited, unlike so many haphazard collections of edited papers. The theoretical position is intriguing, and the evidence convincing....The papers are generally excellent." —American Scientist

"In summary, the reader of Machiavellian Intelligence will find the book promising for generating new hypotheses and additional questions about the evolution of intelligence, phylogenetic differences in social intelligence, and sources of selection pressure for attentional manipulation such as deception, to mention just a few. These topics could be explored fruitfully using the book as a reader in an interdisciplinary seminar with graduate students from psychology, anthropology, and zoology and would surely provide for a lively and thoughtful exchange of ideas and opinions. Clearly the topic of primate social intelligence, enthusiastically launched by this collection of writings, offers much tinder for future research." —International Journal of Primatology

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780198521754
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
09/28/1989
Series:
Oxford Science Publications
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
6.25(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.85(d)

Meet the Author

University of St. Andrews

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