Large Human Brain Evolved as a Result of ‘Sizing Each Other Up’ in large Cooperative Social Groups

Researchers propose the human brain is disproportionately large as a result of sizing one another up in large cooperative social groups. Experts suggest that complex decisions of whether to help someone or not could have led to the disproportionately large human brain. Humans have evolved a disproportionately large brain as a result of sizing each other up in large cooperative social groups, researchers have proposed. A team led by computer scientists at Cardiff University suggest that the challenge of judging a person’s relative standing and deciding whether or not to cooperate with them has promoted the rapid expansion of human brain size over the last 2 million years. In a study published in Scientific Reports today, the team, which also includes leading evolutionary psychologist Professor Robin Dunbar from the University of Oxford, specifically found that evolution favours those who prefer to help out others who are at least as successful as themselves. Lead author of the study Professor Roger Whitaker, from Cardiff University’s School of Computer Science and Informatics, said: “Our results suggest that the evolution of cooperation, which is key to a prosperous society, is intrinsically linked to the idea of social comparison – constantly sizing each up and making decisions as to whether we want to help them or not.

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Read also: A Dominant Social Comparison Heuristic Unites Alternative Mechanisms for the Evolution of Indirect Reciprocity

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About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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