Bridging social evolution theory and emerging empirical approaches to social behavior

Erol Akçay, Timothy A. Linksvayer, Jeremy Van Cleve

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Spurred on by technological advances, the last several years have seen an explosion of studies of behavioral, genomic, and neurophysiological mechanisms of social behaviors. Yet these empirical studies and the vast amount of data they produce are typically disconnected from well-established social evolution theory. We argue that unlocking the transformative potential of the emerging empirical approaches to social behavior requires new kinds of theoretical approaches that integrate proximate behavioral, genomic, and neurophysiological mechanisms with evolutionary dynamics. We review recent efforts in this direction that show how proximate mechanisms are important for evolutionary dynamics. However, we argue that these frameworks are still too distant from empirical systems to interface with emerging datasets. As an example of improved approaches that can be developed, we focus on the evolution of social gene regulatory networks, and discuss how integrating dynamics of gene regulatory networks with social evolution theory can result in rigorous hypotheses that are testable with sociogenomic data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-64
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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