Send to

Choose Destination
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Nov 10;106(45):19061-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0904357106. Epub 2009 Oct 26.

A theory for the evolution of other-regard integrating proximate and ultimate perspectives.

Author information

Department of Biology, 371 Serra Mall, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


Although much previous work describes evolutionary mechanisms that promote or stabilize different social behaviors, we still have little understanding of the factors that drive animal behavior proximately. Here we present a modeling approach to answer this question. Our model rests on motivations to achieve objectives as the proximate determinants of behavior. We develop a two-tiered framework by first modeling the dynamics of a social interaction at the behavioral time scale and then find the evolutionarily stable objectives that result from the outcomes these dynamics produce. We use this framework to ask whether "other-regarding" motivations, which result from a kind of nonselfish objective, can evolve when individuals are engaged in a social interaction that entails a conflict between their material payoffs. We find that, at the evolutionarily stable state, individuals can be other-regarding in that they are motivated to increase their partners' payoff as well as their own. In contrast to previous theories, we find that such motivations can evolve because of their direct effect on fitness and do not require kin selection or a special group structure. We also derive general conditions for the evolutionary stability of other-regarding motivations. Our conditions indicate that other-regarding motivations are more likely to evolve when social interactions and behavioral objectives are both synergistic.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center