3 years ago

An intraspecific appraisal of the social intelligence hypothesis.

Alex Thornton, Benjamin J Ashton, Amanda R Ridley
The prevailing hypotheses for the evolution of cognition focus on either the demands associated with group living (the social intelligence hypothesis (SIH)) or ecological challenges such as finding food. Comparative studies testing these hypotheses have generated highly conflicting results; consequently, our understanding of the drivers of cognitive evolution remains limited. To understand how selection shapes cognition, research must incorporate an intraspecific approach, focusing on the causes and consequences of individual variation in cognition. Here, we review the findings of recent intraspecific cognitive research to investigate the predictions of the SIH. Extensive evidence from our own research on Australian magpies (Cracticus tibicen dorsalis), and a number of other taxa, suggests that individuals in larger social groups exhibit elevated cognitive performance and, in some cases, elevated reproductive fitness. Not only do these findings demonstrate how the social environment has the potential to shape cognitive evolution, but crucially, they demonstrate the importance of considering both genetic and developmental factors when attempting to explain the causes of cognitive variation.This article is part of the theme issue 'Causes and consequences of individual differences in cognitive abilities'.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2017.0288

DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2017.0288

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.