Balancing Risks and Rewards: The Logic of Violence

Article English OPEN
Broom, Mark (2009)
  • Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation
  • Journal: Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience (issn: 1662-5153, vol: 3)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3389/neuro.08.051.2009, pmc: PMC2784300
  • Subject: infanticide | Review Article | ESS | Neuroscience | QH | game theory | kleptoparasite | HB | dominance | HT

Violence is widespread throughout the natural world, prominent examples being predatory violence between species, seasonal violent competition for mating rights and territories within species and food competition both within and between species. These interactions are generally between unrelated individuals with no social connection. There are, however, examples of violent behaviour which occurs within groups of individuals who otherwise cooperate to live, have significant social bonds and may also be related, and that is the primary focus of this paper. Examples are in the establishment and maintenance of dominance hierarchies, or in infanticide, where (usually) incoming males attempt to kill existing infants in a group. Such violence can seem paradoxical, but in fact is often perfectly logical for the individual perpetrating the violence, as distinct from the group as a whole. We discuss such situations from the perspective of evolutionary game theory, and also consider wider questions of interspecific violence.
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