New Aspects of Human Ethology 1997
198 pág.

New Aspects of Human Ethology 1997


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NEW
ASPECTS
OF HUT'IAN
ETHOLOGY
Edited by
Alain Schmitt
Klaus Atnranger
Karl Grammer
and
Katrin Schiifer
New Aspects of
HumanEthology
Edited by
Alain Schmitt
Ludw ig- B o I tzmann- I ns ti tu te Jbr Ur ba n E t ho lo gt
Vienna, Austria
Klaus Atzwanger
Research Center Jbr Human Ethologt
Max-P lanck-Sociery
Andechs, Germanv
Karl Grammer
Ludw ig- B o ltzm ann- I ns titute for U rb an E tho lo gt
Vienna, Austria
and
Katrin Schdfer
Institute for Human B iologt
Vienna, Austria
Plenum Press . New York and London
Library of Congress Cataloging_in_publication Data
ethology 
./ edjted by Alajn Schmjtt 
... Iet al. ]
"Proceedjngs of the.l3th Confenence of the Internetjonal SoctetyI;:r:'l::"5:t"rosy, herd Ausust s-ro, igsa.-in"u,.nnu. Aust. ja,_
In_c-'udes b,bl jographtcal refe.ences and rndex.ISBN 0-306_45695_8
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proceedings of thc 13th conference of the International Society for Human Ethorog;-,held August 5-l O, 1996, in Vienna, Austria
rsBN 0-306_45695_8
@ 1997 plenum press, New york
A_Division of plenum publishing Corporation
233 Spring Street, New york, N. y.-10013
http ://www.plenum. com
109876 54321
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrievar 
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transmitted in any form or by anymeans' electronic' mechanicar, prtoto"opying, *i..o?,r.tg, reco.ding, or otherwise, without writtenpermission from the publisher
Printed in tho United States of America
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THE NEW ASPECTS OF THIS VOLUME
The New never grows from nowhere, but is rooted in the Old and Unexpected. The
latter is a function of curiosity and emotional not rational involvement in the subject. We
hope that the following chapters will stimulate emotion and thought, and provoke new
systematic and empirical research. The dilemma is that in one sense, we as humans abhor
speculation and the unknown, but that in another sense, as scientists, we need the specula-
tive as life needs water. Curiosity drives us and fills the gap. And fortunately, theories
pass over, but the frog persists, as Jean Rostand expressed so succinctly the relation be-
tween conjecture and refutation ["Les th6ories passent, la grenouille reste." Carnets d'un
biologistel.
Human ethology studies human behavior in a very interdisciplinary way.In this cen-
tury, it started in the forties from comparative zoology and evolutionary theory, with a
specialization in the direct observation ofbehavior in a "natural" context. These roots pro-
vided not only the drive to search for behavioral universals among cultures, but also to see
humans before the background of the natural (animal) world, as part of the overwhelming
diversity of life. Two factors were of outstanding importance in reconciling the wealth of
"languages" spoken at the Babel of interdisciplinarity: evolutionary theory and the obser-
vation of undisturbed "natural" behavior, which clearly showed the limits of laboratory
and questi.onnaire studies when confronted with social complexity, and thus induced the
involved scientists to go well beyond the frontiers of the discipline they were trained in.
This volume reflects the interdisciplinarity of human ethology. Our aim when organizing
the conference was to bring together ideas some of which "normally" are not considered
to be of immediate and burning interest to human ethology. The authors, zoologists, psy-
chologists, a geneticist, a mathematician and a physiologist have found a transdisciplinary
language to write on human social behavior without losing the specific world views of
their branches. All papers contain many new aspects, and even some brand-new insights
and (yet unpublished) data. In the following, we direct the reader's attention to some of
these aspects. Obviously, there are more; there was never an editors' instruction to restrain
to some pieces of news; the reader has to discover the other's by her/himself, and to judge
their relevance.
Irenrius Eibl-Eibesfeldl has written a contribution which combines a very personal
history of biographical entanglements of the proponents of modern ethology with a
chronologically structured summary of the fundamental concepts needed by the founders
of sociobiology and human ethology. Thus the process of developing a new science is pre-
sented as a profoundly social enterprise, not only as a brilliant logical exercise in re-com-
bining old ideas and creating new insights. Eibl goes further and comments on some of the
newest developments of human ethology. For him, the application of principles derived
The New Aspects of This Volume
from classical (human) ethology to culture, e.g. art, law and urban environments, are the
most interesting and promising future areas of investigation.
Glenn Weis.feldpresents a new allegedly complete list of human basic emotions, which,
he convincingly argues, may be used to systematically classify human behavior. Some of his
emotions very seldom appear in psychologically inspired lists, e.g. esthetic feelings, humor
appreciation, and pride and shame. The list is based on a phylogenetic perspective of man,
and Weisfeld gives adaptive value hypotheses in each case. He argues that emotions are phy-
logenetically much older than cognitions and higher learning mechanisms (and notes that
neurobiology says the same since some time), and are thus most probably heavily related to
fundamental biological processes. In sum, it may be very productive to use emotions as a ba-
sis for the human ethogram. This leads Weisfeld to try to find criteria to identify a basic emo-
tion. Specific adaptive value, involving the whole organism, eventually specific facial or
bodily or visceral or hormonal associated patterns, distinct affect, to list only a few ofthem he
uses to construct his promising "new complete inventory".
Peter K. Smith compares observational and interview data of real and play fighting.
Play fighting or rough-and-tumble play (in short R&T) is one among those human behav-
iors whose existence as an element of the human ethogram is not questioned, and which is
well analysed in classical ethological terms. As far as one can know from the existing
data, it is an universal, that is, a behavior in which all youngsters all over the world are in-
volved, boys more than girls. Most interesting is Smith's discussion of the developmental
and evolutionary function of R&T. In Smith's opinion. it is not very probable that R&T
serves social cohesion or enhances social skills, since these hypotheses are unable to ex-
plain the sex differences. R&T as a means to practice fighting may explain sex differ-
ences, but is rejected by both theoretical and empirical counter-evidence (see 9.3). The
most solid grounds exist for invoking a dominance function, that is. R&T serves to estab-
lish or maintain dominance relations and to inform about strength of others (see 9.4). The
comparison of observational and interview data, particularly interviews with teachers, has
educational consequences. E.g., teachers overestimate the overall frequency of real fight-
ing and, largely, the tendency of R&T to degrade into real fighting. consequently, they in-
tervene more often than necessary.
Karl Sigmund has the talent to simplify complex mathematical connections and to illus-
trate them by adequate and (ethologically) relevant examples. Here,