The social brain hypothesis

  title={The social brain hypothesis},
  author={Robin I. M. Dunbar},
  journal={Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues},
Conventional wisdom over the past 160 years in the cognitive and neurosciences has assumed that brains evolved to process factual information about the world. Most attention has therefore been focused on such features as pattern recognition, color vision, and speech perception. By extension, it was assumed that brains evolved to deal with essentially ecological problem‐solving tasks. © 1998 Wiley‐Liss, Inc. 
Social and Physical Cognition in Old World Monkeys - A Comparative Perspective
Data regarding the relationship between brain size and social complexity support the hypothesis that this increase is due to the demands of life in a complex social group, and whether this pressure only affects primates or not.
The Hippocampus and Social Cognition
Behavioral, neuroimaging, and neuropsychological evidence suggest an important role for memory—and the hippocampus—in social cognition in social cognition.
Brain Evolution: When Is a Group Not a Group?
Does 'Relationship Intelligence' Make Big Brains in Birds?
Although the "relationship intelligence hypothesis" may be valuable, it is doubt that it is supported by sufficient evidence and critically discuss some of the arguments raised by the authors in favour of their new idea.
Social Brain, Distributed Mind
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Experts in action: why we need an embodied social brain hypothesis
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Social, Machiavellian and Cultural Cognition: A Golden Age of Discovery in Comparative and Evolutionary Psychology
  • A. Whiten
  • Psychology, Biology
    Journal of comparative psychology
  • 2018
Some of the variants of the social intelligence hypotheses that have evolved in this time and a selective overview of the scientific discoveries in this field, particularly in primates, over the last 30 years are offered.
Social brains, simple minds: does social complexity really require cognitive complexity?
This paper argues for greater attention to embodied and distributed theories of cognition, which get away from current fixations on ‘theory of mind’ and other high-level anthropocentric constructions, and allow for the generation of testable hypotheses that combine neurobiology, psychology and behaviour in a mutually reinforcing manner.
Cracking Down on Complexity in the Evolving Brain


Evolution in the Social Brain
It is suggested that it may have been the particular demands of the more intense forms of pairbonding that was the critical factor that triggered this evolutionary development.
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  • C. Frith
  • Psychology, Philosophy
    Journal of psychopharmacology
  • 1996
It can be argued that human communication works so well largely because the authors all have a ’theory of mind’, which implies that what people will do can best be predicted from their intentions, their knowledge and their beliefs.
Comparing brains.
Taken together with behavioral and neuroanatomical analyses, these studies begin to suggest the evolutionary pressures that favor different sized brains and brain components.
Neocortex size and behavioural ecology in primates
  • R. Barton
  • Biology, Psychology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 1996
It is confirmed that neocortex size and social group size are positively correlated once phylogenetic associations and overall brain size are taken into account, and among diurnal haplorhines its size is positively correlated with the degree of frugivory.
On the Origin and Progressive Evolution of the Triune Brain
The neuraxis below the level of the hemispheres contains the neural apparatus required for posture and locomotion and the integrated performance of bodily actions involved in self-preservation and procreation.
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  • E. Armstrong
  • Biology, Psychology
    American journal of physical anthropology
  • 1985
A consideration of the brain's energy requirements helps to clarify brain-body relationships.
Evolution of the brain and intelligence
Linked regularities in the development and evolution of mammalian brains.
Analysis of data collected on 131 species of primates, bats, and insectivores showed that the sizes of brain components, from medulla to forebrain, are highly predictable from absolute brain size by