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Behaviour, Development and Evolution

Behaviour, Development and Evolution Patrick Bateson
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78374-248-6 £13.95
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-78374-249-3 £24.95
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Overall this is a nice read that will appeal to both new and established researchers alike. There are some clear explainations of theoretically and empirically important issues in the study of evolution and development that will arouse interest in the naive and stimulate discussion in the more experienced.
—Clare Cunningham, Animal Behaviour (2017): 131, 57.

The role of parents in shaping the characters of their children, the causes of violence and crime, and the roots of personal unhappiness are central to humanity. Like so many fundamental questions about human existence, these issues all relate to behavioural development. In this lucid and accessible book, eminent biologist Professor Sir Patrick Bateson suggests that the nature/nurture dichotomy we often use to think about questions of development in both humans and animals is misleading. Instead, he argues that we should pay attention to whole systems, rather than to simple causes, when trying to understand the complexity of development.

In his wide-ranging approach Bateson discusses why so much behaviour appears to be well-designed. He explores issues such as ‘imprinting’ and its importance to the attachment of offspring to their parents; the mutual benefits that characterise communication between parent and offspring; the importance of play in learning how to choose and control the optimal conditions in which to thrive; and the vital function of adaptability in the interplay between development and evolution.

Bateson disputes the idea that a simple link can be found between genetics and behaviour. What an individual human or animal does in its life depends on the reciprocal nature of its relationships with the world about it. This knowledge also points to ways in which an animal’s own behaviour can provide the variation that influences the subsequent course of evolution.

This has relevance not only for our scientific approaches to the systems of development and evolution, but also on how humans change institutional rules that have become dysfunctional, or design public health measures when mismatches occur between themselves and their environments. It affects how we think about ourselves and our own capacity for change.

Behaviour, Development and Evolution

Patrick Bateson | February 2017
134 | 22 colour illustration | 6.14" x 9.21" (234 x 156 mm)
ISBN Paperback: 9781783742486
ISBN Hardback: 9781783742493
ISBN Digital (PDF): 9781783742509
ISBN Digital ebook (epub): 9781783742516
ISBN Digital ebook (mobi): 9781783742523
ISBN Digital (XML): 9781783745876
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0097
BIC subject codes: PD (Science: general issues), J (Society and social sciences), PSAF (Ecological science, the Biosphere); BISAC: SCI070060 (Science: Life Sciences, Zoology, Ethology - Animal Behavior), SOC026040 (SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Social Theory); OCLC Number: 1091435178.

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1. Appearance of Design
    Design of machines
    Conflicts in motivation

2. Imprinting and Attachment
    Attachment in humans
    Imprinting in the wild
    Individual recognition

3. Rules and Reciprocity
    Models of development
    Alternative pathways
    Rules for changing the rules
    Coordination in development

4. Discontinuities in Development
    Loss of continuity

5. Early Experience and Later Behaviour
    Washing the brain
    Continuity and change

6. Communication between Parents and Offspring
    Parents and offspring

7. Avoiding Inbreeding and Incest
    Early experience and sexual attraction
    Incest taboos

8. Genes in Development and Evolution
    Genes in development
    Selfish genes

9. Active Role of Behaviour
    Environmental change

10. Adaptability in Evolution
    Behaviour and evolution

11. Concluding Remarks


Sir Patrick Bateson, FRS was Emeritus Professor of Ethology at the University of Cambridge and was formerly Biological Secretary of the Royal Society and President of the Zoological Society of London.