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The Social Instinct

How Cooperation Shaped the World

Nichola Raihani

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JONATHAN CAPE
04 June 2021
Exploring evolution, animal behaviour and human psychology, THE SOCIAL INSTINCT reveals how and why cooperation has shaped and defined humankind - and what happens when it goes wrong. The first book by a brilliant evolutionary biologist, drawing on decades of research in the field.

Why cooperate? This may be the most important scientific question we have ever, and will ever, face.

The science of cooperation tells us not only how we got here, but also where we might end up. Cooperation explains how strands of DNA gave rise to modern-day nation states. It defines our extraordinary ecological success as well as many of the most surprising features of what make us human- not only why we live in families, why we have grandmothers and why women experience the menopause, but also why we become paranoid and jealous, and why we cheat.

Nichola Raihani also introduces us to other species who, like us, live and work together. From the pied babblers of the Kalahari to the cleaner fish of the Great Barrier Reef, they happen to be some of the most fascinating and extraordinarily successful species on this planet. What do we have in common with these other species, and what is it that sets us apart?

Written at a time of global pandemic, when the challenges and importance of cooperation have never been greater, The Social Instinct is an exhilarating, far-reaching and thought-provoking journey through all life on Earth, with profound insights into what makes us human and how our societies work.
By:   Nichola Raihani
Imprint:   JONATHAN CAPE
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 235mm,  Width: 153mm,  Spine: 23mm
Weight:   377g
ISBN:   9781787332058
ISBN 10:   1787332055
Pages:   288
Publication Date:   04 June 2021
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  General/trade ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Nichola Raihani is a Royal Society University Research Fellow and Professor in Evolution and Behaviour at UCL. Her group's research focuses on the evolution of social behaviour in humans and non-human species. She has been widely published in scientific journals, won the 2018 Philip Leverhulme Prize in Psychology for her research achievements, and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology in 2018. She has also worked in the BBC Science Development Team, and appeared on several podcasts and radio shows, including BBC Radio 4's 'Hacking the Unconscious' and 'Thought Cages'.

Reviews for The Social Instinct: How Cooperation Shaped the World

A well informed, pithy, provocative overview of the evidence that cooperation is the key to success - for microbes and animals as well as for humans. -- Tim Clutton-Brock, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Cambridge If you've ever wondered why people aren't as cooperative as they ought to be, you'll find the answer right here - mapped out in detail that is full of surprises at every page-turn. -- Robin Dunbar, Emeritus Professor of Evolutionary Psychology, University of Oxford This is a glorious book, with an insight on every page. Above all it taught me that while our individual bodies and brains might reward comparison with our primate relatives, in understanding our social relations we would be much better off comparing the meerkat. And the naked mole-rat. And the bower bird. And the cleaner-fish. -- Rory Sutherland, author of Alchemy: The Surprising Power of Ideas that Don't Make Sense In this captivating book, Nichola Raihani ... provides a compelling argument that cooperation is the secret of human success and yet has never been as crucial as it is now, during a global pandemic and with the threat of the climate crisis. I found this intriguing and beautifully written book hard to put down. -- Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, author of Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain Vibrant science about a topic that could not be more important: How did our superpower of cooperation evolve against the odds? This engaging book wears its strong scientific credentials lightly. I could not put it down. -- Uta Frith, Professor Emeritus of Cognitive Development, University College London


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