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AbstractMammals living in more complex social groups typically have large brains for their body size and many researchers have proposed that the primary driver of the increase in brain size through primate and hominin evolution was the selection pressures associated with sociality. Many mammals, and especially primates, use flexible signals that show a high degree of voluntary control and these signals may play an important role in forming and maintaining social relationships between group members. However, the specific role that cognitive skills play in this complex communication, and how in turn this relates to sociality, is still unclear. The hypothesis for the communicative roots of complex sociality and cognition posits that cognitive demands behind the communication needed to form and maintain bonded social relationships in complex social settings drives the link between brain size and sociality. We review the evidence in support of this hypothesis and why key features of cognitively complex communication such as intentionality and referentiality should be more effective in forming and maintaining bonded relationships as compared with less cognitively complex communication. Exploring the link between cognition, communication and sociality provides insights into how increasing flexibility in communication can facilitate the emergence of social systems characterised by bonded social relationships, such as those found in non-human primates and humans. To move the field forward and carry out both within- and among-species comparisons, we advocate the use of social network analysis, which provides a novel way to describe and compare social structure. Using this approach can lead to a new, systematic way of examining social and communicative complexity across species, something that is lacking in current comparative studies of social structure. [Abstract copyright: © 2019 Cambridge Philosophical Society.]
CitationBiological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
DescriptionFrom PubMed via Jisc Publications Router
History: received 2019-04-08, revised 2019-08-14, accepted 2019-09-03
Publication status: aheadofprint
Funder: National Science Centre, Poland; Grant(s): UMO-2018/31/D/NZ8/01144
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Being at the Bottom Rung of the Ladder in an Unequal Society: A Qualitative Analysis of Stories of People without a HomeMabhala, Mzwandile A.; Yohannes, Asmait; Asmait Skin CareBackground: Homelessness is rising in the United Kingdom, despite investment in measures to eradicate it made by the government and charity organisations. Aim: The aim is to examine the stories of homeless people in order to document their perceptions of their social status, the reasons that led to their homelessness, and propose a conceptual explanation. Method: We conducted 26 semi-structured interviews in three centres for homeless people in Cheshire, North West of England. Results: Three categories—education, employment, and health—emerged from the data and provided a theoretical explanation for the reasons that led to their homelessness. These are vital not only for the successful negotiation of one’s way out of homelessness, but also for achieving other social goods, including social connections, social mobility, and engaging in positive social relationships. Conclusion: Participants catalogued the adverse childhood experiences, which they believe limited their capacity to meaningfully engage with the social institution for social goods, such as education, social services, and institutions of employment. Since not all people who have misfortunes of poor education, poor health, and loss of job end up being homeless, we contend that a combination of these with multiple adverse childhood experiences may have weakened their resilience to traumatic life changes, such as loss of job and poor health.
Active Aging: Social Entrepreneuring in Local Communities of Five European CountriesSocci, Marco; orcid: 0000-0001-9093-2167; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Clarke, David; email: email@example.com; Principi, Andrea; orcid: 0000-0003-3701-0539; email: firstname.lastname@example.org (MDPI, 2020-04-03)Building on the active aging framework, the aim of this study, carried out between 2016 and 2018, is to analyze concrete experiences of older individuals acting as key players of social change in six local communities of five European countries (Bulgaria, Denmark, England, France, Spain). The 19 seniors involved in the study, according to social contexts, individual past experiences, knowledge, and motivations, acted as senior social entrepreneurs, trying to build a pathway towards social solutions for unmet social problems they detected in local communities. Data were collected via templates and questionnaires and analyzed using the thematic analysis. The results highlighted that the 16 local initiatives created by seniors concerned social problems such as food waste, social isolation, multicultural integration, etc. The social solutions implemented by seniors seemed to have the potential to produce social value and, to different degrees, encouraging results and impact. Since this “social experiment” provided evidence that senior social entrepreneuring could be a driver to solve societal problems, policy makers should sustain the spread of both social entrepreneurial mindset and practices at the European level, for catalyzing the active potential of older people for the benefit of European local communities.