Exploration of games in which punishment is possible and cheating is not automatically detected reveals that norms can emerge and stabilize only if those who fail to punish violators are also punished.
Music may be a key driver of human biological and cultural evolution, enabling individual brains to engage in complex internal cognitive synchronization and externally attuning the brains of different individuals into group cooperative activity.
Innate human propensities for cooperation with strangers, shaped during the Pleistocene in response to rapidly changing environments, could have provided highly adaptive social instincts that more recently coevolved with cultural institutions; although the biological capacity for primate sociality evolved genetically, the authors propose that channeling of tribal instincts via symbol systems has involved a cultural transmission and selection that continues the evolution of cooperative human capacities at a cultural rather than genetic level — and pace.
The unique properties and probable origins of human cooperation are important problems linking cultural evolutionary theory and social psychology; the interplay of innate psychological factors, social institutions, individual preferences and population effects constitute promising fields for future interdisciplinary research.
Symbiosis, the "living together of differently named organisms" is far more important in the evolution of life and the functioning of organisms and ecologies than the competition-centric views of Darwin's early defenders asserted, and may be the key driving force in the evolution of life on earth.
Wilson argues that religious systems (sets of belief and moral codes) are biological adaptations that allow individuals to act collectively and survive in distinct social and economic contexts relative to other groups.
Although significant differences remain between biological and human economic markets, such well known biological phenomena as mating markets and partner markets can be understood more fully by looking through the lens of economic models.
Conventional economics cannot be simply augmented with biological or evolutionary metaphors; economic science must undergo a fundamental paradigm shift to recast the modern world in bioeconomic terms as a collective survival enterprise incorporating both cooperative and competitive strategies.
Evolutionary psychology helps us link up the Darwinian story of cooperation in nature, of kin selection, cooperation for mutual advantage, reciprocal altruism, and group selection, with the familiar story of the development of human societies, of property rights, nations, banks, and charity, without implying that such a connection could morally justify or perfectly determine human behavior.
Inspection of the genetic relatedness of two groups of rice farmers, one whose circumstances necessitated cooperation, and another group of hillside farmers whose agricultural practices enabled more independence, probed for evidence of how "ecological feedback can influence social structure, and note how these processes leave recoverable traces in population genetic structure."