Sociobiology

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Branch of biology with origins in ethology, evolution and population genetics, which studies changes and stability of animal behavior and social structures. The term 'sociobiology' was coined by Edward O. Wilson in the 1970s. Since then, other terms have come into currency, such as evolutionary psychology.

Applying sociobiology to study humans is very controversial issue, from both scientific and political/religious point of view, with opponents coming from the latter being much more vocal. Non-human sociobiology does not create such controversies.

Sociobiology applies strict mathematical models to animal behavior. Therefore its results are recognized more widely than results of any of previous social or ethological theories. For example, altruism in animals was first satisfactorily explained by means of sociobiology.

Sociobiology must be distinguished from memetics. In sociobiology the evolving entities are genes, while in memetics they are memes. Sociobiology is concerned with the biological basis of human behaviours, while memetics treats humans as products not only of biological evolution, but of cultural evolution also.

Well-known sociobiologists:

Related articles: Prisoners dilemma, Memetics