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  • Cited by 55
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
June 2012
Print publication year:
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Book description

Humans live in large and extensive societies and spend much of their time interacting socially. Likewise, most other animals also interact socially. Social behaviour is of constant fascination to biologists and psychologists of many disciplines, from behavioural ecology to comparative biology and sociobiology. The two major approaches used to study social behaviour involve either the mechanism of behaviour - where it has come from and how it has evolved, or the function of the behaviour studied. With guest articles from leaders in the field, theoretical foundations along with recent advances are presented to give a truly multidisciplinary overview of social behaviour, for advanced undergraduate and graduate students. Topics include aggression, communication, group living, sexual behaviour and co-operative breeding. With examples ranging from bacteria to social mammals and humans, a variety of research tools are used, including candidate gene approaches, quantitative genetics, neuro-endocrine studies, cost-benefit and phylogenetic analyses and evolutionary game theory.


‘Székely, Komdeur and Moore have assembled a hugely successful edited collection on the biology of social behavior. The coverage is up-to-date and complete, dealing with the full range of proximate and ultimate causes of social behavior as well as a broad range of social organisms from bacteria to humans. The chapter authors are leaders in their fields. Interspersed among the sophisticated but accessible review chapters are short, lively essays written by prominent sociobiologists. An indispensable book for all behavioral biologists and their students.’

John Alcock - Arizona State University

‘Social Behaviour: Genes, Ecology and Evolution provides the first extensive synthesis of research on animal social behaviour since the publication of E. O. Wilson's Sociobiology in 1974. The book brings together important reviews of the ecology, genetics and evolution of social behaviour by over sixty research leaders in this field to describe the past accomplishments of the field, outline current problems and suggest future objectives. It will be necessary reading for anyone involved in research in this area.'

Tim Clutton-Brock - University of Cambridge

‘This is an excellent book, that I thoroughly recommend! Social Behaviour shows that not only does everybody have a social life, but that it is the social aspects of life that are the most interesting. Sociality spices things up, leading to conflicts, but also the chance for cooperation. Whilst this has led to cool natural history, it also results in questions that cut to the core of how natural selection works. In Social Behaviour, some of the world’s leading researchers do an excellent job of synthesising the huge progress that has been made over especially the last 50 years. The remit is broad, moving from the fruiting bodies of slime moulds to wealth inheritance in humans, but this [is] done almost seamlessly, demonstrating the power of evolutionary theory. By showing the excitement of the field, the great success stories, and the outstanding mysteries, this book is sure to stimulate the next generation of researchers and refresh the older generation.’

Stuart West - University of Oxford

'… invaluable reading for everyone interested in the evolution of social life …'

Source: Mammalia

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