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A Biologist Looks at Anthropology Author(s): R. A. Hinde Source: Man, New Series, Vol. 26, No. 4 (Dec., 1991), pp.

583-608 Published by: Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2803771 Accessed: 30/08/2010 10:48
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University of Cambridge

This article sketclhesa scheme for liaison between the social scienices,psychology and biology. Three means to this end are discussed. First,to understandthe development of individual behaviour it is necessary to recognize (a) the value of treating behavioural characteristicsnot as divided into inniate anidlearned componients, but as fallinig on a continuum from stable to labile with regard to environmental inifluences;(b) the importaniceof predispositions to learn some things rather than others; (c) the ubiquity of alterniativestrategies of behaviour; anid (d) the complexity of interinidividual relationlships, evenI in nioni-lhumani species. Secondly, it isimportar'.not only to distinguish between successive levels of comiiplexity(appropriateto plhysiologicalmechanisms, interactions, relationships, groups an-dsocieties), but also to recognize the dialectical relations between them. Thirdly, it is heuristicallyuseful to idenltifyhuman characteristics whlich, tlhough not universal, are relatively stable with respect to cenvironmenit and culture. The approach is illustratedwith reference to the geniesisof fearsand phobias, the niatureof geniderdifferences anidthe institution of war.


The need to integrate what we alreadyknow is as urgent as the need to advance the frontiers of our knowledge. For that reason, one must sometimes try to cross the interdisciplinaryboundaries even though one knows that one's blundering footsteps will bring exposure to accusationsof naivete. In this article I attempt to sketch a framework for integrating the behavioural sciences (ethology and psychology) on the one han-dand anthropology (and other social sciences) on the other. We have passed the stage when biologists and social scientists glowered at each other froin opposite sidesofaan apparentlyunbridgeablecrevasse.The question is just where and how the bridges slhouldbe built. There is, of course, no suggestion that I amn the firstbridge-builderon the scene. In different ways, for inistance,the work of both ecological and some medical anthropologists has been directed to this end. Two other recent moves in this direction require special inention. Oiie approach is represen-ted by the sociobiologists (e.g. Wilson 1975). They focus on the extent to wlich the belhaviourof inidividuals,and aspects of social anid organizationi culture, canlbc secn asbiologically advantageousto the individuals concerned. 'Biologically advanitageous' here ineans conducive to the reproductive success of the individual or to that of his or her close relatives in proportion to their degree of relatedniess (this measure of success is what is known as inclusive fitness). I have suggested elsewlhere that such anl approach can be successfully applied to explaining the basic propensities of individuals, and in some cases their behaviour, but that it is liable to fail when applied to account for more complex

Huxley Lecture to the Royal AnithropologicalInstitute, 1990.

Mant(N.S.) 26, 583-608



cultural practices (Hinde 1987). It is necessary to comprehend the genesis of the socio-cultural structure of societies in all their complexity before attempting to understand the relation (or lack of relation) between behaviour influenced by that structure and inclusive fitness. The basic propensities of humans, most of which must be seen as products of natural selection, contribute to the values and norms of the society, but there is no isomorphism between them. A second approach is represented by Ingold's (1990) recent Curl lecture entitled 'An anthropologist looks at biology'. In calling my lecture 'A biologist looks at anthropology', I am deliberately imitating his, in part to acknowledge my admiration for his attempt to cross in the opposite direction, in part because I agree with most of his conclusions, and in part because, in spite of his immense scholarship, I feel it is necessary to augment what I see as his rather limited view of biology and psychology in the same way as, no doubt, others will comment on my limited or distorted view of anthropology. Ingold seeks for an integration of anthropology within biology, so that the study of persons is subsumed under the study of organisms - an aim with which every biologist will concur - but argues that biology's neo-Darwinian paradigm has no room for organisms and that cultural anthropology has no place for the person. He suggests that we must locate 'the organism or person as a creative agent within a total field of relations whose transformations describe a process of evolution' (1990: 208), and that social life must be portrayed 'in topological terms as the unfolding of a total generative field' (p. 223). I agree with his conclusion. However, science must proceed through simultaneous processes of analysis (including the progressive refining of questions), and of synthesis (e.g. Tinbergen 1951). The 'unfolding of a total generative field' is a grand way of describing the synthesis to which we all look forward, but we shall reach it by asking specific questions, and such a formulation does not really help us to do that. In addition, I suggest that many of these questionis are already being asked by biologists and psychologists, and that Ingold has perhaps overlooked mnuchof the work in progress by focusing on 'evolutionary biology' and 'sociobiology' and neglecting other branches of biology and psychology. We may consider a few examples. Because his view seeins to be shared by many anthropologists, it is worth em-phasizing that Ingold is wrong to think that 'a biological approach to natural phenomiena is taken to mean an approach couched in terms of the neo-Darwinian explanatory paradigm' (p. 213). This may be what many anthropologists believe a biological approach to entail, and the grandiose claims of some of the early sociobiologists m-ight provide some support for such a belief. But in reality evolutionary biology is only one part of biology. Huxley (1942), whom Ingold cites as proclaiming the 'modern synthesis', Tinbergen (1963), and many other biologists have stressed that biological understanding requires an answer to four questions concerning causation, development, function and evolution - and that these questions are of equal importancc. To take a structural example, we can answer the question 'why does my thumb move differently from my fingers?' in terms of immediate causation (the arrangement of nerves, muscles and joints), of development (the ontogeny of the thumnb and finger rudiments), of function (grasping, etc.) and of evolution (we are descended from primate ancestors who also had opposable thumbs). Progress so far has depended on tackling these questions



separately, as well as recognising the ways in which they are interfertile (Hinde 1966 [1970]; Bateson 1988). For example, evolutionary change depends on changes in developmental processes, and developmental processes evolve and must themselves be adapted (e.g. Needham et al. 1941; Thomson 1917). Thus it is not the case that ultimate causation (i.e. evolutionary and functional questions) has priority over proximate (Ingold 1990: 214), except of course for those biologists who specialize in its study. The shortcomings of a sociobiological approach (e.g. Wilson 1975), which focuses on function and neglects developmental issues, are recognised by most biologists (Bateson 1982; 1988). And on a related issue, nmostbiologists do not assume that all features of living organisms are adaptive (cf Ingold 1990: 213), but seek to understand the nature of both adaptive and non-adaptive characters (Gould & Lewontin 1979). Ingold (1990: 215) complains that, in Darwinian theory, individuals are seen as things or entities, rather than as processes. He recommends that we should, instead, start 'with life as a movement which progressively builds itself into emergent structures', and this involves continuous relations between the parts within the developing system, and continuous relations between organism and environment such that 'both organism and environment emerge from a continuous process of development' (p. 216). Here Ingold is quite in key with the biology of recent decades. In studying development, emphasis is placed on process and on relations between parts at levels from the cellular (Edelman 1988) to the individual (Maccoby & Martin 1983; Hiiide 1987; 1990) to the community (Wilson & Bossert 1971). Contrary to Ingold's implication-s, biologists and psychologists have long treated individuals as actively selecting and changing their own environments: behavioural genetics recognises how individuals select their environment (e.g. Plomin & DeFries 1983); the subscience ofecology largely depends on the view that organisms select, change and are clhainged by their environment, and psychologists and psychiatrists are analyzing both how the developing person is influenced by his or her relation-ships and how he or she affects those relationships (e.g. Bowlby 1969 [1982]; P. Minuchin 1985; S. Minuchin 1974). Both the limitations and the heuristic value of such organism/environment distinctions are illustrated by recent attempts to tease apart 'genetic' from 'environmental' influences in child development. First, a given environmental factor may have differelntial effects on individuals who differ (by virtue either of genes or of past environment). Secondly, individuals actively select and create their own environments from the world around them, and how they do so depends on their nature (e.g. Jaspars & Leeuw 1980). Thirdly, parents may be predisposed to pass on to their offspring both genes and an environment conducive to the development of particular characteristics: thus shy parents might both have children genetically predisposed towards shyness and create an environment in which the children saw few strangers or saw their parents behaving with reserve towards strangers. Finally, parents and others inay react differently to children according to their nature, with further implication-s for future development (e.g. Plomin & de Fries 1983; Scarr & McCartney 1983). Again, in urging that the 'nlexus of social relations ... constitutes [a human] as a person' (1990: 220), Ingold seems to have overlooked much current work. Primatologists (e.g. Goodall 1986; Imanishi 1960; Itani 1980; Hinde 1978) and



other biologists and psychologists are actively attempting to come to terms with the dialectic between persons and relationships.They are concerned both with the development of the capacity to form relationshipsand with the development and dynamics of relationshipsthemselves (Bowlby 1969 [1982]; Duck & Gilmour 1981; Duck 1988; Hinde 1979; Kelley et al. 1983). They see development as involving an increasing capacity for intersubjectivityand what is described as the elaborationof (mental)working models of relationships(e.g. Bowlby 1969 [1982]; Bretherton 1985; Stern 1985; Trevarthen 1977). Thus Ingold's orientation is much more in line with currentthinking in biology and psychology than he implies. The difference seems to be that in sketching a goal he omits the steps necessaryto reachit. Progressin researchdepends on asking of the total precisely framed questions: Ingold's global picture of 'transformations relational field' (1990: 221) seems to ine not to lead in that direction. Let us thereforeexplore a scheme for integratinganthropology (andalso the psychological sciences) with biology, a sclheme which incorporates the notion of biological function but does not make it a central issue, and is compatible with Ingold's approach but has, in my view, greaterpotential for asking precise questions that will help to 're-embed the human subject within the continuum of organic life' (Ingold 1990: 224). This involves distinguishing levels of social complexity, recognising the dialectical relations between them, and crossing and re-crossing between those levels in analyzingparticularproblems. It is necessaryfirstto review some backgroundissuesconcerned with the general approach. We can then consider briefly three cases in which the approachseems to be useful. Background issues issues.Fouraspectsof the work by biologists on the development Somedevelopmental of behaviour which seceil not to form partof the thinking of mlanyanthropologists must be mentioned. In doing so, I must emphasize that there is no implication that huilan behaviour is just like animal behaviour, or that the one can be understood in terms of the other, but only that principles derived from simpler somnetimes ourselves. organismiis help us to understanid First, the view that behaviour can be divided into that which is innate, inborn or instinctive on the one hand, and that which is acquiredor learnedon the other, is not acceptable. Development depends on a continuing interplay between the organism at each stage of its development and its environment, and all characters of structure,physiology or behaviour are ultimately influenced by both genes and environment. While some evolutionary biologists have indeed used the shorthand of equating genes with traits(cf. Ingold 1990: 219), its dangersare well recognised (Oyama 1985). The degree to which genes are expressed may depend on the environment, and susceptibility to the environment may depend on the genetic

between innate and learned behaviour is unacHowever, while a dichotomny as arrangedalong a continuum ceptable, it is useful to coinceive of characteristics influences to from those that are relatively stable with respect to environnmental those that are relativelylabile. Thus there are some aspectsof behaviour that appear in virtually the whole range of environments in which life is possible ('stable'



while others are more variable. In the former case, the processes characteristics), appearsover involved in development are either so regulatedthat the characteristic a wide range of experiential-environmentalinfluences, or else the factorsrelevant to its development are ubiquitous. By contrast, characteristicsat the 'labile' end of the continuum appear only over a narrow range of conditions (Hinde 1966). It will be noted that this formulation differsfrom the innate v. learned dichotomy in that (a) it is a continuum, not a dichotomy, and (b) a characteristicmay be influenced by experience, yet stable because the relevant influences either lack specificity or are ubiquitous. It must be noted, however, that the level of analysis is defined may be crucial. Thus the broad details of the at which the characteristic yet its fine details and motor patternof smiling form a stable human characteristic, the circumstancesin which it is given are labile. Secondly, organismsareconstrainedin what they can learn,and have predispositions to learn some things rather thaIn others (Seligman & Hager 1972; Hinde & Stevenson-Hinde 1973). A classic example is the learning of song in many songhasa fairlycomplex song of three phrases birds.Thus the chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) and a terminalflourish,which variessomewhat between individuals.Birdsbrought up in auditory isolation sing only a very simnple song, without a terminal flourish. To sing the species-characteristic song, they must be exposed to it. But they will not learnany song that they hcar- oinlythat with a note structuresinilar to normal have a propensity to learn the species song, but chaffinch song. Thus chaffiinch-es will learn only that song or soimethingclose to it. In other species the constraint sing only the song that is different - for instance bullfinches (J1yrrhula pyrrhula) operate in their father sings (Thorpe 1961). It is probable that similar coinstraints humans. In some cases, they ilmay be stable human characteristics(see below): for example, it is noteworthy that phobias develop primarilyto hazardsthat humans like darkness, encountered in their etnvironimiienit falling ofevolutionary adaptedness, and being alone, ratherthan to things that kill people nowadays, like carsand guns (Marks1987). In other cases,ofcourse, individualdifferencesin experience account for differencesin susceptibilities. Thirdly, and related to the last, althouglhspecies show some stereotyped motor patterns,they also show flexibility in how those motor patternsare used - in other words, they develop flexible strategies of behaviour. Consider, for instance, a dominance hierarchy.It may be best to be at the top and thereby gain precedence in access to resources. But individuals who cannot gain higlh rank do not spend all their timle fighting insuperable odds: rather they adopt alternative strategies, avoiding confrontations and obtainiingresourcesby stealth, cunniiig or diligence. The fourth issue, mrentioinedalready, concerns the importance of interindividual relationships.Studiesof the behaviour of higher vertebratesconsistently find that an understanding of inter-individual relationships is crucial, and new complexities are constantly being revealed. Recent work by priilatologists shows how the behaviour of every individual is constrainedby relationshipswith others (Hinde 1983). As an examnple, fig. 1 and its accompanyinglegend show the structure in of of one matriline a troop rhesusmacaques. In humans, the manner in which relationshipsmediate the im1-pact of the socio-cultural structureon the individual, and vice versa,is of majorimlportance (see, for example, Boyd & Richerson 1986).



Age in Mid-'75 (yecrs)

12 11 10 9



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FIGURE3 1. The social structure of rhesus macaques: rank relationships within one matriline of group J, Cayo Santiago, in mid-1975. Age reads horizontally, the eldest individuals being to the left of the diagram. Rank reads vertically. The female from whom the matriline originated is shown at the top left-hand corner, but was dead at the time to which the diagram refers. The figures indicate the rank relationships betwveen siblings within families. The discontinuous arrows lead from the ranking of a particular adult female amongst her maternalsiblings to her ranking among the adult females. Male rhesus monkeys tend to leave their natal troop and join another when a few years old. Theyr form looser relationships with adult females, especially in the consort season. These are not shown in the figure.

that the behaviour of monkeys (Rowell & Hinde 1963; Hinde 1972) and humans (e.g. P. Minuchin 1985) is critically influenced by the social context. But social influences are complex, and it is helpful to distinguish a number of levels of social complexity. Beyond the level of complexity represented by individuals, these include the level of relatively short-term interactions; the level of relationships involving a series of interactions betwveen individuals known to each other, in which each interaction is affected

Levels of complexity.It is now a commonplace



by preceding ones and possibly by expectations of future ones; the level of social groups involving two or more dyadic or higher-order relationships;and the level of societies involving overlapping groups (Hinde 1987). That the dividing line between a long interaction and an incipient relationshipis a shady one is an issue that need not detain us here. The hierarchy of levels is summarisedin fig. 2. These are recognised as distinctlevels primarilyfor two reasons.First,each level has properties not relevant to lower ones: for example, relationshipsmay involve one or many types of interaction, but 'uniplex' v. 'multiplex' is a property not applicable to each interaction or type of interaction; and the relationships in a social group may be arranged hierarchically, centripetally, etc. - properties irrelevant to particularrelationships.Secondly, additional explanatoryconcepts are used at each level. Thus the course of an aggressiveepisode between two siblings might be ascribedto immediate stimulusfactors,but the aggressivenature of their relationshipmay be attributedto 'sibling rivalry'. Furthermore,each level is influenced by and influences others. Thus the course of an interaction is influenced both by the nature of the participatingindividuals and by the relationshipin which it is embedded, while the nature of a relationship is affectedby the constituent interactionsand by the group to which the individuals belong, and the behaviour an individual can show is affected by interactions and relationships experienced in the past. Indeed each of these levels is not to be thought of as an entity, but ratherin terms of processes continually influenced by these between-level dialecticalrelations. The course of each interaction and relationship, the nature of each group and society, and thus the nature of individuals, also affect, and are affected by, the system of meanings, values, myths and beliefs, and of institutions with their constituent roles, more or less sharedby all membersofthe social group in question. In so far as these meanings and so on influence each other, this system must be of the group in question, seen as a dynamic one. It is usuallyreferredto as the culture though culture is used in at least two senses - either as a set of 'objective' facts and artefactsrecorded by an external observer, such as an anthropologist, or as







2. The dialectical betweenlevelsof socialcomplexity. FIGURE relations



existing in the minds of individuals. It is with the latter that we are concerned here. Some of its aspects may be shared by all members of a society, some by members of particulargroups, families or particulardyadic relationships. Indeed some beliefs and values that shape behaviour may be idiosyncratic:the distinctions imposed here by the barriersbetween the various social sciences are artificial. It is, however, with those aspects of culture common to at least some individuals that we are concerned at present. And the emphasis on the two-way dialectical relations between individuals, interactions, relationshipsand groups on the one hand, and culture on the other, is crucial: human individuals are constituted by, and part of, culture (Geertz 1973). or collectively) of individuals,culture Although existing in the minds (separately affects others through social interactionsand relationships.It is thus often heuristically useful to conceptualise the total environment as consisting of the physical environment and the 'socio-culturalstructure'.(Whilst I agree with Ingold [1990: 216] that 'both organism and environment emerge from a continuous process of development', and that 'enfolded withini the organism itself is the entire history neverthelessto unravel the dynamics of the system of its environmlental relation-s', it is heuristicallyvaluable to examiinethe relationsbetween- -heorganism at each point in tiImeand its conteimiporary environment.) A crucial issue here, however, neglected by some social scientists (but not, for example, by Moscovici 1985), is that values and beliefs, stereotypes and so on, are not just imposed on individuals by society, but are also created by them. Just as the urban environment is both created by and affectshuman beings, the same is true of the less tangible environment of beliefs and values. Since individualsboth influen-ceand are influenced by the social and cultural environment, to understandeither it is necessaryto come to terms with the dialectical relationsbetween themn. Now every individual is itself to be seen as the result of its transactionsat each and this process can be traced backwards point in time with its environmiient, through ontogeny to transactionsbetweeni the genes and their intracellularand extracellularenvironments. Thus the properties of the sociocultural structureare of individuals.But, and this is where ultimatelyrelatedto the genetic characteristics biologists are sometimes tempted into naivete, the characteristics of the socioculturalstructureare not a direct reflection of biological factors, but result from a complex interplay between successive dialectical processes involving genes, individuals, the several levels of social complexity, the environment and the socio-cultural structure itself (Hinde 1990). Portraying the issue as involving multiple dialecticalrelationsin this way is, I suspect,not too differentfrom Ingold's of the view (1990: 221), that 'social evolution consistsprecisely in transformations total relational field within which the development of cvery human subject proceeds', but it does point the way towards exploring the dialectics in detail. Anthropologistswill recognise in fig. 2 affinitieswith many strandsof discussion in their own discipline - in particulardiscussions of anthropology's place in the hierarchy of scienices by Levi-Strauss (1953) and Nadel (1957). There are also similaritiesbetween the scheme proposed here and that put forward by Whiting and Whiting (1975), which focuses to a greaterextent on the processes of human ontogeny but neglects the differencesbetween levels of social complexity.



A heuristically useful first step in disentangling the dialectical Stable characters. relationsbetween levels would be to searchfor behaviouraluniversals.If we could find as a baseline a set of patterns of which we could say 'these are universally present',we could perhapsbegin to teaseapartthe dialecticsbetween the successive levels of social complexity. Unfortunately, however, the search for human universals has had a long and not always respectable history (Count 1973; Geertz 1970). One set of difficulties arisesfrom attempts to specify lists of universalswithout specifying the level of complexity. Thus all human groups exhibit some form of religious practice, and all humans may light fires. These therefore could be, and have been, called human universals.They involve, however, pretty sophisticated patternsof behaviour, and it is hard to believe that a human individual brought up without contact with other less naive individualswould inevitably invent these practices. They can hardly be seein as satisfactoryeleiments through which the successive levels of social comiiplexity arc elaborated. Moreover, just as all huimanshave noses, but no noses are identical, practically every item that we might include in a list of universalsis subject to individual variation within as well as across societies. Wlhatwe are looking for, in practice, are aspects of behaviour or psychology that are present in some degree in most humans or in most members of an age or sex class, but whose precise expression may varysomewhat with experience. Therefore, ratherthansetting up a dichotomy it is more useful to focus on between universaland non-universal clharactenrstics, the continuum between relatively stable and relatively labile characteristicsto which I referredearlier.Given that it is a continuum, we can accept that characters towardsthe 'stable'pole aresubjectto some degree of variation,and are not equally present in all individuals.We are concerned with potentials, not with hard-wired characters.There can be no pretence that (relatively)'stable'is an absolutely tight category, only that it is heuristicallyuseful for furtheranalysis. Two other more mundane difficulties remain. One is that, given such a definition, maniy of the things we are after are so commonplace that it would be tedious to list them, and if one were to try, the list would be so long that no sensible editor would print it. A final difficulty is that any such list would have to rest partlyon supposition, because the cross-culturaldataare simply not available. It is a reasonablesupposition that all human babies have a similar set of reflexes for finding the nipple, but I doubt if even this matterhas actuallybeen investigated in all societies. Thus the preparation of an inven-torywould be a somewlhat pointless task. However, it is worthwhile to indicate the sortof items that are involved. In doing so it is perhaps as well to emphasize that we are engaged not in an attempt to and culture, but to specify aspectsof the former distinguishbetween human niature which have only limited variabilityacrosscultures, and which provide a basis for both culturalsimilarities and culturaldiversity.Indeed, our objective understanding in pointing to relatively stable charactersis to use them as pointers for stable themselvesare always developmentalpotentials, acknowledging that the characters influenced by experience. We are, of course, concerned with characteristics(or the potential to develop those characteristics)shown by 'normal' individuals,



though we include items that may be shown only by natural classes of normal individuals, such as infants or adult women. Given all these reservations, it is worthwhile to mention just some of the categories into which stable characteristics fall, and to illustratesome of the ways in which even apparentlystable characteristics are affected by cultural and other experientialinfluences. (i) Aspects of perception. It is reasonable to suppose that all humans distinguish figure from ground, and that figure completion and most other Gestalt principles are stable characteristics.It also seems probable that nearly all humans perceive colour in basically similar ways, if we neglect that some are colour-blind. The number of colour-labels used, however, varieswidely between languages (Berlin & Kay 1969), apparentlyin relation to the complexity of the society and also to latitude (which in turn is associated with the degree of pigmentation in the eye, see Bornstein 1975; Ember 1978). The distinctions made in the language are, of course, likely to affect the distinctions that people make in practice. Thus, even if basic perceptualprocessesare universal,they may still be affected by experience. As another example, Rivers (1901) found the Miiller-Lyer illusion to be less potent in Melanesians (see also Segall et al. 1966); and Westerners, growing up in an environment consistinglargelyof right angles, tend to see a rotatingtrapezoid as oscillating, whereas for Zulu children, reared in round huts and in a more curved environment, this illusion is much less effective (Allport & Pettigrew 1957). (ii) Motorpatterns. Many motor patternsare pan-cultural. Those concerned with findinigthe nipple and suckinigin infants,with chewing and sucking in adults, and with bipedal walking, must certainly be examples. Much research has been con-cernedwith the cultural generality of expressive movements. In the 1960s and 70s, extreme views were expressedon the one hand by biologists who claimed cultural universalityfor many expressive movements, and on the other by anthropologistswho either denied it for any, or else argued that invariancein mnotor patternswas of little interest. The issueshave been largely resolved by the cross-culturalstudies of Eibl-Eibesfeldt (1972; 1975) and Ekman (e.g. Ekman & Friesen1969; 1975). Certainexpressivemovements, such as smiling and crying, appearin all cultures, and indeed even in babies born blind and deaf, and the basicprocessesin their development must surelybe independent of cultural influences. Indeed, a convincing case can be made for the evolution of the human smile, laugh and grin of terror from the expressive movements of our primate ancestors (van Hooff 1972). Experiential factors, however, affect the context in which these expressivemovements areused, the extent to which they are expressed or suppressed, their interpretation by others, and so on. Many other expressive movements are culture specific (Ekman & Friesen 1969; 1975). It should perhaps be emphasizedthat the preceding remarksreferto the motor patternsof emotional expression; emotional experience is a much more complex issue. (iii) Responsiveness to stimuli.It is reasonableto suppose that all babies respond to physical contact, and arc alarimed by loud noises, by the sensation of falling, and



by being left alone. The Moro and grasping reflexes, functional in our primate ancestors for grasping the mother, are still presumably present in all societies. Maternalresponsivenessto infant signals, such as the smile and cry, must also be stable human characteristics.Lorenz has suggested that certain characteristicsof babies - a high and protruding forehead, small nose, unco-ordinated movements - are elicitors of parentalresponses,and have been exploited by the makersof film cartoons (Lorenz 1950) including Mickey Mouse (Gould 1980). There is experimental evidence thatface profilesare indeed the more effective in eliciting parental responses, the more they resemble the baby profile (Fullard & Reiling 1976; Gardner& Wallach 1965; Sternglanzet al. 1977), and it has been furthersuggested that the changes in the characteristics of the Teddy Bear since it was firstinvented have been such as to bring it closer to this profile (Hinde & Barden 1985). Much researchhas been concerned with the recognition of expressive movements. In an important series of studies Ekman & Friesen (1975) have shown that members of a nuinber of literate and pre-literate cultures agree in judgements of still photographsshowing facialexpressionsassociatedwith the six basic emotions. None of this, of course, contradictsthe view that responsivenessto these patterns may be affected by experience (or, for that matter,by genetic differencesbetween individuals). (iv) Motivation. Some basicmotivationsmust be presentin individualsofall societies, or they would not survive. Motivations to eat, drink, and behave sexually and parentallyare obvious examples. Others - such as aggressiveand prosocial motivations - must be assumed to be potentially present ubiquitously, but developed to different extents iD differcnt cultures. I need hardly add that the strengths of these motivations differ, whether through nature or nurture,between individuals. It is generally agreed that there are basic similarities in (v) Cognitiveprocesses. cognitive processesin all humans (e.g. Cole 1975; Neisser 1967). Nevertheless, in so far as knowledge is an active construction based on experience (Piaget 1955), differences in experience can result in fairly fundamentaldifferences in cognitive development. For example, in the Piagetian conservation task involving judging whether there is more clay when it is in the shape of a sphere or a sausage,children of potters do better than the children of non-potters (Price-Williains et al. 1969). It is, however, difficult to compare progress in cognitive development across societies, because performancein a cognitive taskdepends on how it is presented, on the perceived relationship of the subject to the experimenter, and on the relevance of the task (e.g. Donaldsoin1978). Of the more complex aspectsof cognitive functioning that could be mentioned here, we may select one, the occurrence of 'sympatheticmagic', which is of special interestbecause it formsa link between complex culturalpracticesand basichuman propensities. Sympathetic magic is known in a wide range of traditionalsocieties and, although less easily recognised, is also widespread in our own. In a recent article, Rozin and Nemeroff (1990) have reviewed current knowledge of the cognitive mechanisms involved. They discuss two of the three principles of sympathetic magic, contagion and similarity, the third concerning opposites (Frazer (1959 [1890]).



The law of similarity involves equating image with object, or supposes that things with a superficial resemblance also have a deep resemblance. It can involve a beliefin forward causation, as when positive or negative consequences are believed to accrue from contact with a replica, or backward causation, in which action on the replica is believed to affect the original. Since young children (below the ages of five or six) often fail to distinguish appearance from reality (Flavell 1986), and since action on the basis of similarity can be viewed as a useful principle (it is wise to operate on the principle that what looks like a tiger is one), the principle of similarity must be regarded as a relatively unsophisticated aspect of behaviour. If one were attempting to account for it in terms of stable human characteristics, stimulus generalisation would play a large role. The principle of contagion concerns cases where things that have once been in contact with each other mnayinfluence or change each other for a considerable period thereafter. Again thc efTfct iiiay be forwards, as when foods are seen as pennanen-tly contaminiated once a fly has settled on them, or backwards, where the recipient of the 'esseince' presumed to have been transferred operates upon the essence with the inten-t of damaging its source. Contagion seems to be more sophisticated than similarity, since it implies that appearance does not always correspond to reality. Furtherinore, beliefin contagion appears to develop relatively late; the cognitive bias involving belief in an invisible essence must be fairly complex; and children have muaniy opportunities to observe adults behaving in ways that reveal a belief in contagion. Nevertheless it is tempting to regard it as derivable from universals because of the siinilarity betweenl forward contagion and the real possibility of microbial infection. Forward contagion is in fact much commoner than backward, and this may be the consequence of a predisposition to learn (see below): one cannot afford to learn slowly about imminent dangers or predators. R-ozin & Nemeroffs (1990) review points the way for further investigation at the psychological level of phenomena which have widespread effects on the level of socio-cultural phenomena. (vi) Predispositionsto learn. As wc have seen, the earlier view that the child's mind was a blank slate ready to receive the imprint of any form of experience has now been abandonled in the face of imounting evidence for conistraints on, and predispositions for, learining. Althouglh predispositions in hurnall learning are strongly channelled by expericince, it is likely that pan-cultural factors also operate. The learning of languagc is a case in point. Chomsky's claim that it is necessary to postulate an 'innate language acquisition device' to account for the correct construction of sentcnices underestimated the extent to which language developnent depends oni interaction with others in particular contexts. And in so far as the subject-verb-object sequence mirrors the cause-effect sequences in the world, it is perhaps not surprisinig that it is present in most graimmars. Nevertheless non-verbal communication, including pointing, is present before language development, and many aspects of language acquisition, such as the order in which the componlent skills are mastered, have a surprising degree of cross-cultural generality (Bowerman 1975; Slobin 1974). Thus language acquisition itself, as well as the learning of a particular language, must depend on both stable propensities



and experiential(including culture-specific)inputs. The problem is to specify those stable propensities. Certain human relationshipsappearto have some pan-cultural (vii) Relationships. characteristics. One example is the mother-child relationshipwhich, though differing markedlybetween societies, retainssome common characteristics (Whiting & Whiting 1975). For some purposes we might wish to include a (viii) Populationcharacteristics. not of individuals but of somewhat different category, referringto characteristics populations- such as the male/female differencesin size or physicalaggressiveness, or a sexual divisioinof labour. These, then, are some examples of aspects of behaviour or psychological functioniingwhich, though individuallyvariable,can reasonablybe assumed to be present in all populations. The potentiality for these characteristics to develop may be supposed to have been the product of naturalselection, though that is not our current concern. But as we have seen, although relatively stable, they are by no means culture-free. Thegenesisof aspects of culture The thesis that I am trying to develop is that anthropologists cannot afford to If they were absolutelyconstant neglect these relativelystablehuman characteristics. and ubiquitous, then anthropologistscould perhapstake humzanl nature as a given and analyze cultural variation. But if we are dealing with coilstraintson or preor propensitieswhose realizationdepends on (andaffects) dispositionsfor learninlg, the physical and social environment, including the socio-cultural structure, then an understandingof humaindiversity requiresus to comlle to terins with common human propensitiesand with the dialecticalrelationsbetween levels. In this section I shall present three examples of this approach. Fearof snakes.A fear of snakes is extreilmely widespread, both amnongst individuals within societies and across societies, but it is also variable between individuals (Hebb 1949; Marks 1987). A number of lines of evidence indicate that humans are predisposed to acquire a fear of sinakes. Children brought up in an institution, who have never seen a snake, show little fear if they first encounter one at one and a half or two and a half years, but avoid a snake crawling on the ground from about three years of age (Prechtl 1950; see alsoJones &Jones 1928). Children also show spontaneousfearsof other objects or situationswhich might have posed a real threat in our environment of evolutionary adaptedness,such as spiders,certain mammzals, heights, darkness,fallingand being alone (Bowlby 1969; Maurer1965). As noted above, huinansaremnuch lessprone to develop spontaneous fearsof other situations that are genuinely lethal in modern societies, but were not and it is thus present earlier in our evolutioinaryhistory, such as cars or bomnbs, not unreasonableto suppose that a tendency to fear (or to learn to fear) snakes, spiders and so on is in part due to our biological heritage. In harmony with this view, some early evidence suggests that fear of snakes shows a smaller tendency



to decline with age than do other fears.Thus the percentage of 2-, 3-, 4- and 5year olds showing fears of a strange person were 31, 22, 7 and 0, and showing fears of dogs 69, 43, 43 and 12, but for snakes the percentages were 34, 55, 43 and 30 (Holmes 1936; see also Rachman 1974; Mundkur 1988). Anecdotal evidence suggeststhatthe extent of the fearshown is much influenced by social referencing- the child looks at others, and especially at a trusted other, and models his or her response to the situation according to the response of that other (Emde 1980; Haginan 1932; Klinnertet al. 1983). Comparativedataprovide strong supportfor this view. For example, adult vervet monkeys give qualitatively different responsesto three types of predator- leopards,snakesand eagles. Young monkeys are more likely to give the correct response if they firstlook at an adult (Seyfarth& Cheiley 1986). Even more interestingare experimentaldata on rhesus monkeys showing that: (a) Wild-reared rhesus monkeys tested in the laboratory nearly always show fear of snakes. (b) Laboratory-reared monkeys do not show fear of snakes. (c) Laboratory-reared monkeys shown a video tape of a wild-reared monkey of a snake fear become afraidof snakes thereafter. showing (d) Laboratory-reared monkeys shown a 'doctored' videotape of a wild-reared monkey apparentlyshowing fearof a flower do not become afraidof either flowers or snakes (Mineka 1987). There is thus clear evidence that rhesus monkeys have a propensity to fear snakes that depends for its full realisation on the experience of seeing others respond fearfullyto snakes. This in turn increases the plausibility of a similar explanation of snake fearsin humans. Some individuals develop snake phobias, showing a fear of snakes out of all a fearthatis irrationaland is beyond voluntary proportion to the threatthey preseint, control. It is reasonableto suggest that the role of snakesas a symbol in our culture is related to these issues. Snakes play an important part, and have played an even more important part, in our mythology. In the myth of the garden of Eden, in the Rubens paintings of snakes gnawing at the genitals of those cast down into Hell, snakes symbolise evil. If we are really to understandfear of snakes and the symbolic role of snakes,therefore,we mnust come to terns with a seriesof dialectical relationsbetween the propensityto fearsnakes,social referencing within relationships, and snake myths within the socio-cultural structure (see fig. 3). It is, of course, necessarynot to push this sort of explanationtoo far.Just because snakes posed a real threatin our environment of evolutionary adaptedness(and in some societies still do), they may be a special case. While many symbols may have their origins in common human perceptions or in frequent or crucial experiences, they are not necessarilybased on universalpredispositionsto learn. For example, lions have a significance comim-oni to many societies which presumablyarisesfrom common human perception-sof their qualities. And snakes have not served as symbols of evil equally in all societies. Willis (1990), conceding that the snake is
rich in meaning, emph-asizes that it often has polarized ineanings

creation and



Fear of Snakes Snake Myths


Behaviour of caregiver

Propensityto fear snakes

FIGuRiE 3. The genesis of snake phobias.

Snake fear * & phobias

death, health and disease, good and evil. Snakes have also representedprudence, wisdom, medicine, royalty and so on - a diversity no doubt related to properties
other than their dangerousness, such as their characteristics of mnovement, stealth, the cobra's threat display, their ability to shed their skins (see, for example, Tervanent 1964), but perhaps related to their salience to humans. Genderdiferences.Another issue illustrating the dialectical relations between human behavioural propensities and the socio-cultural structure concerns the genesis of gender differences. Since the issue has been discussed frequently (and often with unnecessary polemics) elsewhere, I will merely summarise it here. But I want to suggest that the polemics are due in part to a failure to ask sufficiently precise questions. Specifically, the questioni of the directionof gender differences (e.g. are males more aggressive and more sexually assertive than females?) is different from the question- of their extent anidpatterning (e.g. how great are the differences? And are males much more aggressive but not much more sexually assertive in this or that society?). I shall suggest that the former is primarily a biological issue, the latter more a psychological-cum-sociological one. For more detailed discussion the reader is referred to the references cited. We may consider five questions. First, what is the nature of the differences between men and women in their behaviour in close relationships? Although the area of overlap is great, in Western cultures, at least, men tend initially to be attracted to women with characteristics not unrelated to health or sexual potential, issues which are less important to women in their evaluation of men (Murstein 1979; Berscheid & Walster 1978). Men tend to initiate rather than to limit sexual intercourse (Peplau et al. 1977), and to be more promiscuous (Kinsey et al. 1948; Kinsey et al. 1953). In choosing a inate, however, women place more emphasis on dependability and are more pragmlatic than men (e.g. Touhey 1972; Rubin et al. 1981). ln marriage, a double standard of morality is found in many societies (e.g. Ariosto 1983 [1521]; Dickemnann 1981; Kinsey et al. 1948; 1953).



These differences are accompanied by differences in behavioural propensities. Males tend to be more aggressive, more active and more impulsive than females, but less susceptible to anxiety (e.g. Deaux 1976; 1985; Henley 1977). Adolescent boys' anxieties tend to concern dangers to or consequent upon their assertiveness, girls' anxieties tend to concern their relationships (Magnusson & Olah 1981). Boys tend to fonn group bonds, while girls are more likely to form close friendships (Hartup 1983). It should be emphasized that the differences are statistical only, and there is of course enormous overlap. And in specifying differences, there is no unidimensional scale of masculinity/femininity, no implication that the differences are immutable, and no value judgements are implied. Furthermore, the extent and patterning of male/femiale differences in close relationships is extremely variable between societies, and most of the psychological research has concerned West European or North American populations. Nevertheless the directionof the differences is culturally consistent at least to a degree much greater than can be accounted for by chance. It inust be emphasized that because the difference is only statistical, the generalization would not be invalidated by the discovery of, say, a few societies in which females were more sexually assertive than males. The second question is concerned with how these differences develop in the individual. Here there are two categories of factors, the first concerning prenatal hormones. Differences in behaviour between male and female rhesus monkeys are influenced by hormones prenatally (Goy 1978). There is strong evidence that similar effects occur in humans (Money & Ehrhardt 1972; Meyer-Bahlburg et al. 1984). And it is now known that at the gestational age at which steroids are effective in influencing post-natal behaviour, aindrogen receptors are differently distributed between left and right cortices in male and female monkeys (Sholl & Kim 1990). Secondly, in both monkeys (Goldfoot & Wallen 1978) and humans (Huston 1983; Spence & Helmreich 1978), individual experience plays a crucial role. In humans, the influence of paren-ts,family and peer group have been widely studied. The mechanisms include reinforcement, miodelling and the internalization of norms. All of these are influenced by the gender stereotypes current in the society: parents encouragc in their children behaviour deem-iedappropriate to little girls or little boys, and childrein of each sex attempt to behave as that sex is supposed to behave. That prompts the third questioin - why are the differences in the stereotypes in the directionin which they are? The directions of thc stereotypes, like those in behaviour, are far Inore culturally ubiquitous than could be accounted for by chance. The theory best able to integrate the facts about the directions of the differences between the behaviour of meii and womnen is a biological one - namely that the directions are those that would be expected if selection had operated to maximise the reproductive success of each sex in our environment of evolutionary adaptedness. The argument may be summarized briefly (see Alexander & Noonan 1979; Alexander 1980; Hinde 1984; 1987; Short 1979). In animials in general, the variance in male reproductive success is greater than that in feinales. Therefore males compete for females. With a very few exceptions, selection has operated to produce greater aggressiveness and also greater strength and size in males. Since (a) inales can be cuckolded and females cannot, so that



females have a certainty about their parenthood which males lack; (b) females must invest more in each offspring than males; and (c) female reproductive success is limited by the number of young the female can rear while male reproductive success is limited in the first place by the number offemales fertilized, infant survival is (biologically) more important to females than to males. If male assistance in rearing the young is imnportant,the stability of the male-female bond will therefore be more important to females than to males. We have no concrete evidence about human socio-sexual arrangements in our environment of evolutionary adaptedness, but comparative data provide some clues. In mammals in general or primates in particular, the male-female size difference is related to the degree of polygyny. On that basis early humans would seem to have been mildly polygynous. The anatomy, physiology and socio-sexual arrangements of the great apes provide further clues because, in general, anatomy, physiology and behaviour forin a co-adapted complex. For instance, female chimpanzees are often mated by a numnber of males in succession. Competition for paternity therefore involves sperm com11petition inside the female. In harmony with this, mnalechimpanzees have evolved large testes and accessory glands. The male gorlla, by contrast, has undisputed access to several females and therefore needs, and has, very small testes. Froin argum-ents of this sort, it would seem tlhat the size differences between huinan inales and feinales, the small human testes, exceptionally large penis, sexually attractive breasts, concealed ovulation, niear-continuous receptivity and other human features are compatible with the view that early human males competed for females, that the inore successful ones were potentially promiscuous but had more or less undisputed access to one or more females, that the males contributed to rearing the offspring, and that sex played a part in male-female bonding as well as in reproductioni (Short 1979). Given such consideratioiis, the directions of many of the differences between males and females becoine comprehensible. For instance, mlale-nale competition presumably led to greater assertivenless and aggressiveness in inales; and the fact that only males can be cuckolded could account for the more frequent institutionalization of inale sexual jealousy. The differen-ces in the criteria by which individuals are attracted to, or form relationships with, members of the opposite sex are also in harmony with a biological explanation (e.g. Alexander 1980; Alexander & Noonan 1979; Hinde 1984). The directionof the gender differences in behaviour are thus compatible with the view that they are the result of natural selection acting separately on males and females to nmaximiseindividual reproductive success or inclusive fitness. That the differences have some biological basis is supported also by the role of prenatal hormones in their development. It must be stressed again that we are here concerned only with the direction of the differences between males and females, not with their extent and patterning, and there is no suggestion that inasculinity or femininity are wholly genetically determined. Two other points must be made. First, most human marriages are arranged, but that does not detract froin the picture: from a biological perspective, prospective grandparents would be disposed to choose mates for their offspring that would maximlise the numlber of their grandchildren. Secondly, it is often said that male power is basic to all other gender differences. It is difficult to see, however, how this applies to some of the differences, such as those in the criteria of



attractiveness,or to the greaterimportance to women of dyadic relationships.And in any case, gender differences in aggressivenessand assertivenessare part of the evolutionary explanation. This bringsus to the fourthquestion:why do the stereotypesso greatlyexaggerate and distort reality?A number of processes seem to be involved: (i) Individualstend to define themselvesin relation to the world in which they live (Kelly 1955). In developing a self-concept, children come to see themselves as members of some categories and not of others. Of these categories, perhaps the most fundamental is male v. female. In seeing themselves as belonging to one or other gender category, they tend to see the members of that category as in some degree interdependent. They also tend to see the distinction between their own group and the other as greater than it actually is, and their own group as superior (Tajfel 1978; Rabbie 1991). Thus the differencesbetween men and women become exaggerated, attributes irrelevant to the initial distinction become assimilated to the stereotype, and people come to see men and women as opposites (Deaux 1985). (ii) Denigration of the out-group may enhance an individual's status in the in-group. Thus pre-pubertalboys may rise in statusamongst boy peers by denigrating girls ('girlsare sissy') and girls may rise in their peer group by denigratingboys ('boys are dirty'). Each gender group thus exaggeratesthe difference between them. (iii) Children's games are often organised on a gender basis, and the 'border work' (Barth 1969) may both express gender solidarity and help to exaggerate gender differences (Thorne 1990). (iv) A little later,individualsin each sex may enhance their chances of attracting a mnember of the opposite sex by exaggeratingin themselves those characteristicsdeemed to be attractiveto the opposite sex. In addition, a concern with self-verification inay lead an individual to emphasize characteristics that define a stableself-identity because they accord with the gender stereotype (Deaux & Major 1990). (v) In general, the stereotype chan-nelsthe behaviour of individuals in the appropriatedirection, and this influences the behaviour of others in such a manner that they confirm the stereotype (Goffman 1959; Swann 1983). (vi) Stereotypes are often self-reinforcing. For instance, because women have assumedthe majorshareof household responsibilitiesin Western countnres, female employees have tended to be younger and less experienced than their male colleagues. They were unlikely to become permanentemployees with a large stake in advancement. This helped to confine women to a low status, confirming the stereotype (Rhode 1990). Thus, by a variety of mechanisms, stereotypes exaggerateand distort reality. There is, of course, a fifth question of central importance to anthropologists: why do cultures differ in the extent and patterning of gender differences in behaviour?Most of the studies cited above were carriedout in Western cultures. Although the direction of the differencesbetween men and women are similarin most cultures, enormous differences occur in their extent and patterning. We



must, indeed, expect both stereotypes and behavioural propensities to vary with a number of factors, such as the economic possibilities for a woman to support herself and her children, the advantages and disadvantagesof polygyny in the prevailing circumstances,and the extent to which residentialarrangementsmake cuckoldry possible. Such issueswill be influenced by both ecological and historical factors (BorgerhoffMulder 1983). Environmentalfactorsmay affect social stereotypes. For example, the nineteenth-century American West demanded assertive males, and an ideology appearedin which women were seen as civilizing agents, who subdued the rowdy anti-social males (Rogers 1978). Similarly,ideologies of masculine virility in many peasant societies are accompanied by an emphasis on modesty, chastityand passivityin women. Indeed, given the differencesbetween men and women, we might expect corresponding differences in their cognitive models of society, so that myths and stereotypes reflect the differentstrandsin the perception that each sex has of the other. Men may be portrayed as inconstant and promiscuous self-seekers,or as knights errant,the maiden's protector;women may be seen as evil, radically different from and dangerous to men - perhaps because they come fromn an alien group or because of their power to cuckold, or as epitomnising all that is good - perhapsin nurturingthe inan's child (e.g. Ariosto 1983 [1521j). Even in the samne culture there may be glaring ambiguities in ascriptionsof both strength and weakness to women (Strathern1972). In addition, differentfacets of the socioculturalstructuremay affect each other. & Best (1982) strongly suggestsa link between For instance, a survey by Williamns the extent to which womeni are esteemed in everyday life and the presence of a female deity in culturalbeliefs.Justbecausethe differentaspectsofthe socio-cultural structureare interrelated,they are bound to distort reality to different degrees in different societies. Cross-cultural differences will not be understood until the dialecticsbetween the levels of social complexity are taken fully into account, and this must include relatively stable human propensities (see also Sanday 1981). In summary, it is suggested that the question of the direction of the differences between male and female gender stereotypes and between male and female behaviour is a different one from that of their extent and patterning. The former is a biological issue, the latter anlanthropologicaland sociological one.
'he institution of war.The phenomenon of international war again demonstrates the need to understandthe dialecticalrelationsbetween universalhuman propensities and social forces (Hinde 1989b; 1991). Aggression between individualscan be understood at least partiallyin terms of aggressive(andperhapsacquisitiveor assertive)propensitiesin individuals,coupled with situational elicitors and so on, though the precise behaviour shown will depend on cultural conventions. In pre-state warfare,aggressivepropensities still play a major role. The actual causes of war, however, are diverse. In a recent symposium volume oi1 the anthropology of war (Haas 1990), some authors emphasized the role of materialgoals;others stressedthe importance of statusseeking as a (perhaps not consciously recognized)route to material,especiallyreproductive, the motivation profit;yet othersplacedimportanceon historicalfactorschann-elling of individuals. This diversity of viewpoints strongly suggests the need to come to



terms with the dialecticalrelationsbetween levels of social complexity in order to understandthe bases of war, even at the pre-state level. This is even more the case with modern internationalwar. Nowadays individual aggressivenessplays little direct part in the behaviour of individuals in combat. War is an institution, and the behaviour of those involved is determined in large measure by the rights and duties consequent upon their roles in that institution. The institutionalizationof modern war derives in large measure from the increase in scale, the technologies thathave increasedthe socialdistancebetween adversaries, and the multiplicity of roles necessarilyinvolved. In modern war these roles include not only those who actually fight in one way or another, but also industrialists and munitions workers, doctors and nurses, politicians, transport workers and many others. Indeed, war involves numerous sub-institutions concerned with supply and other logistical operations, as well as with fighting. If we are to understandwar, therefore, we inust seek to understandthe forces that maintain the institution of war. Thosc forces depend in part on the basic propensities of individuals. Somieof the factorsinvolved are mattersof everydaylife. For instance, war toys are almost ubiquitous in mzaily more to boys than societies, apparentlyappealiing to girls because of boys' greater propensity towards physical aggression. They introduce children to the supposedly glorious and also to the mechanical aspects of war. Films about war, again playing on basic human propensities, sanitize its violence and emphasize heroism (Winter 1991). In books about war, too, the horrors are often glossed over and the combatants ennobled (e.g. Fussell 1975). - 'getting dug in', 'outflanking the Even everyday speech uses war mnetaphors opponent', 'frontal assault' so that we become habituated to their militaristic overtones. Male chauvinism, stemming from the biologically influenced gender differencesdiscussedabove, also playsits part. Women are in general more peaceloving than men (Smith 1984), and it is not unreasonableto suggest that this stems from their lower aggressivenessand from their greaterreproductiveinvestment in particularcombatants,each of whom is a potential casualty.Yet women play little part in the decision-making processes that deteniiine whether or not war shall take place (Ruddick 1989). In addition, there are other pervasive culturalfactorsthat influence the acceptability of war. Of particularinterest here is the relation between religion and war. of religious belief is universal and in some cultures gods are patrons Some formn of warriors. In Chinstiancountries the relation has been a complex one. While the early Christianswere pacifists,later the Church supported innumerable wars, and at present its attitude often appearsto be ambivalent (Santoni 1991). Sykes (1991) has discussed the man-nerin which the Christian concept of sacrifice has been used to justify the institution of war. Christianswere also responsiblefor the 'just war' tradition.Whilst on1 the one hand arguingthat warsshould not be fought unless they met certain cnrteria, by allowing that some wars could be 'ust' this tradition supported the institution of war. At the present tine virtually all wars are outside internationallaw unless conducted under the auspices of the United Nations, and internationallaw attempts to mitigate the horrors of those that do occur (Collier 1991; Greenwood 1991).



Propagandaalso plays a major role. It depends on at least three stable human propensities. One is the tendency for individualsto see themselves as members of social categories, to exaggerate the distinction between in-group and out-group, and to see the in-group as superior (e.g. Tajfel 1978; Rabbie 1991). This gives rise to nationalismand patriotism.Johnson (1986; 1989) has argued that patriotism depends upon a universaltendency to favour kin over non-kin, a tendency well substantiatedin animals (Hamilton 1964). In humans, he suggests, kin are 'recognised' by their similarity and familiarity- cues which are used by nationalistic propagandato extend the feelings of solidarity nationwide. Johnson (1987) has also emphasized the frequency with which kin terms (fatherland,motherland, brotherhood, etc.) are used in such propaganda.Group solidaritymay, however, carryadvantagesto the individual other thanithat of favouring kin, and may have been selected for in its own right (Hinde 1989a). Feshbach (1990) has provided experimental evidence distinguishing between- nationalism and patriotism, and showing that they are related to different personalitycharacteristics. A second propensity involved is fear of strangers.Children startto show fear of strange individuals in the second half of their first year of life, and this tendency remains in some degree throughout life (Bronson 1968). This both augments the differentiationbetween in-group and out-group, and facilitatesthe creation of an image of the enemy as dangerous, evil, and even sub-human. The third propensity is aggressiveness.Although individual aggressivenessplays in modern war, it is exploited by little part in the behaviour of the comibatants which uses fear, imoralrectitude or hope of materialgain to inculcate propagan-da towards the eneiny. antagonisnm The factors mentioned so far operate in the main on and through individuals to maintainthe institution of war. But this institution is in fact a complex of nested sub-institutions, now commoinly referred to as the imilitary-industrial-scientific complex. So far as I know, this has not been alialyzed froni this point of view, but it is clear that each sub-in-stitutionhas its owl] inertia, depending in large measure on the assertiveness,acquisitivenessand fear of novelty (change) of the individuals involved (e.g. Elworthy 1991; Kaldor 1991). That these are not the only factors that contribute to the miaintenanceof the institution of war will be apparent.Historical factors, traditioln,economic issues, the 'national character'and many others could be discussed. However, this brief is perhapssufficient to summary (see Hinide 1991 for more extenideddiscussion-) indicate that modern war cannot be interpreted directly as a product of human aggressivepropensities,but must be seen as a hierarchicalset of institutions. Their maintenancedepends on a wide ran-ge of human propensitieswhich include group formation, fear of strangers,assertivenessand, to a limited extent, aggression. To understandthis institution we must take account of basic human propensities in interaction with each other and with the socio-cultural environment in which individualsdevelop. Conclusion This attempt to sketch a systemi for integratinag biological, psychological and social sciences has ranged widely, selectively and superficiallyover a considerable range of issues. It emphasizes that a biological approach to behaviour is not limited to



questions of its function and evolution, but focuses also, and perhaps more importantlyin the presentcontext, on its development and causation. My main thesis, intended not as a solution but as a plan for action, is that full understanding of human social behaviour requires us to cross and re-cross between levels of social complexity. If we are to tease apart the way in which people shape, are shaped by, and indeed are partof their culture, a useful startingpoint may be those human characteristicsthat are relatively stable across cultures. The underlying potentials influenced and elaboratedby cultural factors that give rise to these characteristics, through the medium of interpersonal interactions, relationships and group influences, create and affect the social and cultural environment. Individuals, relationships,groups, societies and culturalstructuresare to be seen not as entities but as processes in continuous creation through the working out of the dialectical neither by biology nor by culture, Our behaviour is caused relationsbetween themn. because we are a product of both. The hope is that analysisand re-synthesisapplied to particularissues will lay bare prin-ciplesthat will provide a true unity to the social and biological sciences. Finally, I would not want to leave the impression that this is the only sort of bridge between the sciences that canlbe built. If one discardsthe excesses of the extreme sociobiologists (see, for example, Kitcher 1985), and can overcome the resistanceto things biological found among many anthropologists,there is much to be learned by the judicious applicationof selectionist theory to the human case (see, for example, Boyd & Richerson 1986; Hinde 1987). That, however, is another story.
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L'anthropologie vue par un biologiste


Cet article tente, au moyen de trois approchescomplementaires, de mettre en relation les sciences sociales, la psychologie et la biologie. Tout d'abord, en vue de comprendre le developpement du comportement individuel il s'agit (a) de niepas le diviser entre l'acquis et l'inii6, mais de le situer sur un continuum allantdu stableau labile,tout en tenant compte de l'environinement;(b) de reconnaitre l'existence de predispositionsa apprenidre certain-es choses plut6t que d'autres; (c) de tenir compte de l'ubiquitedes strategiesaltemativesdansle choix des comportements; (d) ainsique de la complexite des rapportsentre individus, meme chez les especes non-humaimes.Deuxiemement, il est important non seulement de distinguer entre des niveaux de complexites croissants(propresaux mecanismes physiologiques, aux interactionis, aux rapports,aux groupes et aux societes), mais ausside reconnaitre les rapportsdialectiques entre ceux-ci. Troisiemement, il est heuristiquement utile d'identifier des caracteristiqueshumaines qui, quoique non universelles, sont relativement stables i l'egard de l'environnement et de la culture. L'auteurprend comme exemples pour expliquer son approche la genese des peurs et des phobies, la nature des differences de sexe, et l'institution de la guerre.

The Master'sLodge,St. John's College,Cambridge CB2 1TP, England