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Psychol Bull. 2000 Mar;126(2):187-219.

Acquisition of the algorithms of social life: a domain-based approach.

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Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara 93106, USA.


Proposing that the algorithms of social life are acquired as a domain-based process, the author offers distinctions between social domains preparing the individual for proximity-maintenance within a protective relationship (attachment domain), use and recognition of social dominance (hierarchical power domain), identification and maintenance of the lines dividing "us" and "them" (coalitional group domain), negotiation of matched benefits with functional equals (reciprocity domain), and selection and protection of access to sexual partners (mating domain). Flexibility in the implementation of domains occurs at 3 different levels: versatility at a bioecological level, variations in the cognitive representation of individual experience, and cultural and individual variations in the explicit management of social life. Empirical evidence for domain specificity was strongest for the attachment domain; supportive evidence was also found for the distinctiveness of the 4 other domains. Implications are considered at theoretical and applied levels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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