: the comparative study of the biological basis of social organization and behavior in animals and humans especially with regard to their genetic basis and evolutionary history
Systematic study of the biological basis of social behaviour. The concept was popularized by Edward O. Wilson in his Sociobiology (1975) and by Richard Dawkins (b. 1941) in The Selfish Gene (1976). Sociobiology attempts to understand and explain animal (and human) social behaviour in the light of natural selection and other biological processes. A central tenet is that the transmission of genes through successful reproduction is the central motivator in animals' struggle for survival, and that animals will behave in ways that maximize their chances of transmitting their genes to succeeding generations. Though sociobiology has contributed insights into animal behaviour (such as altruism in social insects and male-female differences in certain species), it remains controversial when applied to human social behaviour. See alsoethology.