The roots of prosocial preferences

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Joan B. Silk, a professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University, studies the evolution of primate behavior and applies evolutionary models to the study of human behavior. Her recent work explores the phylogeneticroots of prosocial preferences in chimpanzees and evaluates the development of prosocial behavior in children. Kin selection has played an important role in the evolution of cooperation in primate groups. In humans, empathy enhances prosocial motivations. The capacity for empathy relies on the ability to comprehend the feelings, motives, and thoughts of others, and to appreciate the distinction between one’s own feelings, motives, and thoughts and those of others. The strongest claims for altruistic punishment are based on a field experiment conducted on rhesus monkeys. Rhesus monkeys sometimes give distinctive calls when they find desirable foods. Like rhesus monkeys, white-faced capuchins sometimes call when they find food.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationUnderstanding Moral Sentiments
Subtitle of host publicationDarwinian Perspectives?
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781351296274
ISBN (Print)9781412853965
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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