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Strength in numbers: A survival strategy that helps explain social bonding and commitment

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 December 2018

Adam Lankford*
Affiliation:
Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487. adam.lankford@ua.eduhttp://adamlankford.com

Abstract

We seek strength in numbers as a survival strategy, so it seems unlikely that social bonds would make us want to intentionally die. However, our deep desire to be protected may explain our attraction to exaggerated notions of intentional self-sacrifice – even though research on suicide terrorists, kamikaze pilots, and cult members suggests they were not actually dying for their group.

Type
Open Peer Commentary
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018 

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References

Boesch, C. (1991) The effects of leopard predation on grouping patterns in forest chimpanzees. Behaviour 117:220–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dawkins, R. (1976) The selfish gene. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
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Lankford, A. (2014a) Evidence that suicide terrorists are suicidal: Challenges and empirical predictions. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37:380–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lankford, A. (2015) Is suicide terrorism really the product of an evolved sacrificial tendency? A review of mammalian research and application of evolutionary theory. Comprehensive Psychology 4:18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Merari, A. (2010) Driven to death: Psychological and social aspects of suicide terrorism. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Ohnuki-Tierney, E. (2007) Kamikaze diaries: Reflections of Japanese student soldiers. University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Pinker, S. (2012, June 18) The false allure of group selection. Edge. Available at: http://edge.org/conversation/the-false-allure-of-group-selection.Google Scholar

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