so·​cio·​bi·​ol·​o·​gy ˌsō-sē-ō-bī-ˈä-lə-jē How to pronounce sociobiology (audio)
: the comparative study of social organization and behavior in animals including humans especially with regard to its genetic basis and evolutionary history
sociobiological adjective
sociobiologist noun

Examples of sociobiology in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web To the contrary, there has been a ceaseless multiplication of rival and largely incompatible sciences of human behavior: stimulus response, sociobiology, rational choice theory, various structuralisms, many attempts at socioneuroscience, and so on. Jason Blakely, Harper's Magazine, 10 July 2023 In the 1970s, his study of social ants, bees, wasps, and termites led him to create the field of sociobiology, which shattered then-popular dogma that babies are born tabula rasa, or with their minds a blank slate to be formed by nurture and learning alone. Andrea Stone, Culture, 27 Dec. 2021 But the reality is that sociobiology by 1980 had a major public relations problem, especially in the social sciences, which was dominated by what Toobey and Cosmides termed the Standard Social Science Research Model. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 21 July 2011 Along with this activist work, Dagg also writes about her work on sociobiology, as well as her local environmental efforts. Guest, Discover Magazine, 9 July 2019 For fields like population genetics, evolutionary psychology and sociobiology, the gene is a unit of calculation in the exact sense formulated by Johannsen in 1909. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 6 Mar. 2013 Wilson’s sociobiology theories transformed the field of biology and reignited the nature vs. nurture debate among scientists. NBC News, 27 Dec. 2021 Wilson applied his study of ants to other organisms, including people, to develop a science known as sociobiology. Wire Reports, oregonlive, 27 Dec. 2021 His openness may have worked to his disadvantage—Wilson, for example, dismissed Lewontin’s criticisms of sociobiology on the basis of his politics. Grace Huckins, Wired, 3 Sep. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sociobiology.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1946, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sociobiology was in 1946

Dictionary Entries Near sociobiology

Cite this Entry

“Sociobiology.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

Medical Definition


so·​cio·​bi·​ol·​o·​gy ˌsō-sē-ō-bī-ˈäl-ə-jē, ˌsō-shē- How to pronounce sociobiology (audio)
plural sociobiologies
: 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
sociobiological adjective
sociobiologically adverb

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