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Humane intelligence

A review of What is Intelligence? Beyond the Flynn Effect by James R. Flynn. Cambridge University Press (2007), 226 pages, £15.99 ($22.00), ISBN: 0521880077 (hardback)

Author: Thomas E. Dickins
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Abstract

This study examines the Social Dominance Orientation of players of the online roleplaying game World of Warcraft. The World of Warcraft offers an opportunity to investigate social dominance and biological sex differences in an environment where there is no cultural dominance of one sex over another. Social Dominance Orientation has been found to be different between males and females, with males scoring higher. However, this might be the consequence of social context. To this end sex differences between male and female players were investigated in the World of Warcraft environment, as well as the effects of chosen character sex. Player sex and character sex were found to have effects on Social Dominance Orientation. These results add further support to claims that Social Dominance Orientation has the characteristics of a sexually selected disposition to acquire resources and out-compete rival groups.

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Abstract

Teenage pregnancy and motherhood are considered to be pressing social concerns and, in the majority of developed countries, are often viewed as problems in need of solutions. While a number of factors are associated with teenage motherhood, the underlying causes remain elusive. Despite a lack of consensus, policy aimed at ‘solving’ teenage motherhood is typically based on these proposed proximate correlates; addressing these, rather than the cause. Recent appraisals of this approach suggest that it may not be working effectively, if at all, and policy makers might be in need of some novel approaches. This paper discusses how policy decisions concerning reproductive timing may benefit from the perspective provided by evolutionary life-history theory, and why policy ought to take into account the hypothesis that teenage motherhood is the outcome of an adaptive response of an evolved reproductive strategy to conditions of risk and uncertainty; that having children at an earlier age may promote lineage survival when personal future is uncertain.

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Authors: Rebecca Sear, David W. Lawson and Thomas E. Dickins

Abstract

Over the last three decades, the application of evolutionary theory to the human sciences has shown remarkable growth. This growth has also been characterised by a ‘splitting’ process, with the emergence of distinct sub-disciplines, most notably: Human Behavioural Ecology (HBE), Evolutionary Psychology (EP) and studies of Cultural Evolution (CE). Multiple applications of evolutionary ideas to the human sciences are undoubtedly a good thing, demonstrating the usefulness of this approach to human affairs. Nevertheless, this fracture has been associated with considerable tension, a lack of integration, and sometimes outright conflict between researchers. In recent years however, there have been clear signs of hope that a synthesis of the human evolutionary behavioural sciences is underway. Here, we briefly review the history of the debate, both its theoretical and practical causes; then provide evidence that the field is currently becoming more integrated, as the traditional boundaries between sub-disciplines become blurred. This article constitutes the first paper under the new editorship of the Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, which aims to further this integration by explicitly providing a forum for integrated work.

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