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

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  • ISBN-13: 9780198521792
  • ISBN: 0198521790
  • Publication Date: 1988
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated


Byrne, Richard, Whiten, Andrew


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 a quite different idea: that the driving force was social expertise--enabling 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. Students will find this fascinating volume carries them to the frontiers of scientific work on the origin of human intellect.Byrne, Richard is the author of 'Machiavellian Intelligence : Social Expertise and the Evolution of Intellect in Monkeys, Apes, and Humans', published 1988 under ISBN 9780198521792 and ISBN 0198521790.

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