Machiavellian Intelligence: Social Expertise and the Evolution of Intellect in Monkeys, Apes, and Humans

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Richard W. Byrne, Andrew Whiten
Clarendon Press, 1988 - Psychology - 413 pages
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This book presents an alternative to conventional ideas about the evolution of the human intellect. Instead of placing top priority on the role of tools, the pressure for their skillful use, and the related importance of interpersonal communication as a means for enhanced cooperation, this volume explores quite a different idea-- that the driving force in the evolution of human intellect was social expertise--a force which enabled the manipulation of others within the social group, who themselves are seen as posing the most challenging problems faced by primitive humans. The need to outwit one's clever colleagues then produces an evolutionary spiraling of "Machiavellian intelligence." The book forms a complete and self-contained text on this fast-growing topic. It includes the origins of the basic premise and a wealth of exciting developments, described by an international team of authors from the fields of anthropology, psychology, and zoology. An evaluation of more traditional approaches is also undertaken, with a view to discovering to what extent Machiavellian intelligence represents a complementary concept or one that is truly an alternative. Readers and students will find this fascinating volume carries them to the frontiers of scientific work on the origin of human intellect.

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About the author (1988)

Richard W. Byrne and Andrew Whiten are both at the Psychological Laboratory at the University of St. Andrews.

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