Title: Human Ethology
Date: Jan 2007
Source: Routledge
Notes: The footnotes are currently broken. Feel free to help edit this text.
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    [Copyright]

    Preface

    Acknowledgments

    Mirror-Image Illustrations

    [Series Title Page]

    [Dedication]

  1. Objectives and Theoretical Bases of Human Ethology

    1.1. Inquiry Formulation and Definition

      Summary 1.1

    1.2. Phylogenetic and Cultural Adaptation

      Summary 1.2

  2. Basic Concepts of Ethology

    2.1. The Concept of the "Innate”

      Summary 2.1

    2.2. Phylogenetic Adaptations in Behavior

      2.2.1. Fixed-Action Patterns and Instinctive Actions

      2.2.2. Phylogenetic Adaptations in Perception: Innate Recognition

      2.2.3. Templates

      2.2.4. Motivating Mechanisms, Drives, Biological Rhythms

      2.2.5. Emotions

      2.2.6. Learning and Learning Dispositions

      2.2.7. Cultural Transposition of Innate Dispositions

      2.2.8. Actions, Sequences of Actions, and Goals: The Hierarchy Concept and the Concept of the Pathway Network

      Summary 2.2

    2.3 Decoupling of Actions from Drives and Conscious Self-Control: The

      2.3.1. Neuroethology of Human Freedom

      Summary 2.3

    2.4. The Units of Selection—A Critical Evaluation of Sociobiology

      Summary 2.4

  3. Metholdology

    3.1. Gestalt Perception and Cognition

      Summary 3.1

    3.2. Methods of Data Gathering, Observation, and Description

      Summary 3.2

    3.1. Film and Sound Documentation

      Summary 3.2

    3.3. The Comparative Approach

      Summary 3.3

    3.4. Quantifying Ethology

      3.4.1. Sampling and Statistical Analysis of Observational Data

      3.4.2. Questionnaire Analysis

      Summary 3.4

    3.5 Models

      Summary 3.5

  4. Social Behavior

    4.1. Origins of Sociability

      Summary 4.1

    4.2. The Ambivalence of Approach and Withdrawal in Human Interactions

      Summary 4.2

    4.3. The Human Family as the Nucleus of Society

      4.3.1. The Controversy about Man’s Familial Disposition

      4.3.2. The Mother-Child Dyad: Bonding Theories and Infantile Monotropy

      4.3.3. The Significance of Mother-Child Contacts Immediately after Birth

      4.3.4. Ethological Aspects of Birth

      4.3.5. Mother-Child Signals, Interaction Strategies

      4.3.6. Nursing

      4.3.7. The Father as Reference Figure, Paternal Behavior

      Summary 4.3

    4.4. Family and Marriage

      Summary 4.4

    4.5. Pair Formation, Courtship, Sexual Love

      Summary 4.5

    4.6. Incest Taboos and Incest Avoidance

      Summary 4.6

    4.7. Sex Roles and Their Differentiation

      Summary 4.7

    4.8. The Individualized Group: Family, Kin, and Alliances

      Summary 4.8

    4.9. Rank Order, Dominance

      Summary 4.9

    4.10. Group Identity Maintenance

      Summary 4.10

    4.11. Territoriality

      4.11.1. Universality and Manifestation of Territorial Behavior

      4.11.2. The Need to Maintain Distance

      Summary 4.11

    4.12. Origin and Social Function of Possession

      4.12.1. Object Possession, Food Sharing

      4.12.2. Social Bonds, Rank

      4.12.3. On the Ethology of Gift Exchanging

      Summary 4.12

  5. Intraspecific Aggression: Conflict and War

    5.1. Concepts

      Summary 5.1

    5.2. Aggression Theories

      5.2.1. Learning Theories

      5.2.2. Dollard’s Aggression-Frustration Hypothesis

      5.2.3. Drive Concepts

      5.2.4. Ethological Theory of Aggression

      Summary 5.2

    5.3. Functional Aspects of Aggressive Behavior

      Summary 5.3

    5.4. Socialization of Aggressive Behavior

      Summary 5.4

    5.5. Duels

      Summary 5.5

    5.6. Intergroup Aggression—War

      5.6.1. Definition

      5.6.2. Conventions and the Question of Inhibition for Killing

      5.6.3. On the History of War

      5.6.4. Forms of Aggressive Confrontation

      5.6.5. Ideological and Psychological War

      5.6.6. Causes and Consequences of War: The Question of Function

      5.6.7. Peacemaking and Coexistence

      Summary 5.6

  6. Communication

    6.1. Olfactory Communication

      Summary 6.1

    6.2. Tactile Communication

    6.3. Visual Communication

      6.3.1. Expressive Movements

      Summary 6.3

    6.4. Interaction Strategies—The Universal Grammar of Human Social Behavior

      6.4.1. The Structure of Complex Rituals

      6.4.2. Functional Aspects of Ritualized Behavior

      Summary 6.4

    6.5. On the Ethology of Verbal Communication

      6.5.1. Origin, Roots of Speech

      6.5.2. Biological Programs

      6.5.3. Concept Formation and Verbal Behavior

      Summary 6.5

  7. Behavior Development (Ontogeny)

    7.1. Developmental Theories

      Summary 7.1

    7.2. Curiosity and Play

      Summary 7.2

    7.3. The Development of Interpersonal Relationships[8]

      7.3.1. Sibling Ambivalence

    Child Groups—Child Culture

      7.3.2. Adolescence

      Summary 7.4

  8. Man and His Habitat: Ecological Considerations

    8.1. Ecotype Homo sapiens: Hominization and Behavior

      Summary 8.1

    8.2. From the Individualized Society to Industrial Society

      8.2.1. The Neolithic Revolution

      8.2.2. The Development of Mass Society

      Summary 8.2

    8.3. On the Ethology of Settlement and Residence

      Summary 8.3

    8.4. Social Order and Human Behavior

      8.4.1. Objectives of a Survival Ethic

      8.4.2. Maintaining the Ecological Balance: Qualitative Instead of Quantitative Growth

      8.4.3. Maintaining Evolutive Potential

    8.5. Concluding Thoughts

  9. The Beautiful and True: The Ethological Contribution to Aesthetics

    9.1. Aesthetics and Fine Arts

      Summary 9.1

    9.2. Species-Specific Biases of Perception of Aesthetic Relevance

      Summary 9.2

    9.3. Art as Communication

      Summary 9.3

    9.4. Cultural Manifestations: An Observation on Style and Stylization

      Summary 9.4

    9.5. On the Ethology of Music, Dance, and Poetry

      9.5.1 Music

      9.5.2 Dance

      9.5.3. Poetry

      9.5.4 Science and Art

      Summary 9.5

  10. Biology’s Contribution to Ethics

    Summary 10

    Conclusion

  Bibliography

  Film Publications of Human Ethology

  Author Index

  Subject Index

[Copyright]

13 Routledge

g A Taylor &. Francis Group

LONDON AND NEW YORK

First published 1989 by Transaction Publishers

Published 2017 by Routledge

2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon 0X14 4RN

711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017, USA

Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business

Copyright © 1989 by Irenaus Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers.

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Library of Congress Catalog Number: 2006048043

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Eibl-Eibesfeldt, Irenaus.

[Biologie des menschlichen Verhaltens. English]

Human ethology / Irenaus Eible-Ebesfeldt.

p. cm.

Originally published: New York: Aldine De Gruyter, cl989.

(Foundations of human behavior)

Includes bibliographical references (p.) and indexes.

ISBN 978-0-202-30970-5 (alk. paper)

1. Genetic psychology. 2. Human behavior. 3. Psychobiology. 4. Sociobiology.

I. Title.

BF701.E4313 2007

304.5—dc22

006048043

2006048043

ISBN 13: 978-0-202-30970-5 (pbk)


Preface

With the discovery of conditioned reflexes by I. P. Pavlov, the possibilities for experimenting, following the example set by the classical, exact sciences, were made available to the behavioral sciences. Many psychologists hoped that the component parts of behavior had also been found from which the entire, multifaceted cosmos of behavior could then be constructed. An experimentally oriented psychology subsequently developed including the influential school of behaviorism. Motivated by pedagogical idealism, psychologists indulged in the hope that education could achieve every desired result. Among behaviorists, the Lockean conviction that humans come into the world with “clean slates” crystallized into a doctrine. It seems certain that this conceptual approach restricted research interest. Although behaviorists carefully investigated the various aspects of learning behavior, and extracted some fundamental laws of learning, their theoretical fixation prevented their perceiving other possible approaches. The possibility that some aspects of behavior might, through phylogenetic adaptation, be genetically programmed was not even considered. Anyone referring to a possible antecedent innate human nature was, until recently, dismissed as a biological determinist or reductionist. As late as the 1970s, the majority of behaviorists and sociologists viewed humans as primarily passive beings subject to the formative influences of their surroundings. It was believed that through rewards and punishments almost all human behavior could be “conditioned” (B. F. Skinner, 1938, 1971). Such an extreme environmentalist approach would consign all behavior to learning, relegate all power to the educators, and ultimately, legitimize them to establish behavior norms as well. Parallel to the development of behaviorism in psychology there developed in anthropology a pronounced cultural relativism (discussed critically by W. Rudolph, 1968) according to which culture is a construct on which the laws of biology have no influence. This school of thought is traceable to Franz Boas (1911, 1928, 1938) and its tenets must have reflected the spirit of the times since leading anthropologists acknowledged them (A. L. Kroeber, 1915; M. J. Her- skovits, 1950, among others). Margaret Mead can be regarded as one of the victims of this doctrinal teaching; she was so convinced of the relativism of cultures that she saw and recorded only that which fit those theories. Her reports on Samoa, so often cited, could not stand the test of critical review (D. Freeman, 1983).

The decisive impetus for revising this extreme environmental approach came from behavioral biology (ethology). The work of Konrad Lorenz (1935, 1937, 1961) and Nikolaas Tinbergen (1948, 1951) clarified the notion of instinct, a concept which, until this time, was a philosophical speculation of the vitalists. There were, of course, exceptions, such as W. James (1890) who defined “instinct” in fairly modem terms, as capacities of organisms based on an innate neuronal organization. Lorenz and Tinbergen demonstrated that phylogenetic adaptations determine behavior in well-defined ways, and also voiced the opinion that comparable phylogenetic adaptations influence human behavior. By introducing the dimension of phylogeny into the science of behavior their work incorporated Charles Darwin’s findings; behaviorists had apparently forgotten to consider the evolutionary aspects of behavior in their theories.

About the same time that Lorenz formulated his theories, Erich von Holst (1935, 1939) refuted the classical reflex theory, according to which all behavior is a response to external stimuli.

Ethologists can look back over the last decade with a certain sense of satisfaction, for within a short span of 10 years, six biological researchers have received the Nobel Prize: Konrad Lorenz, Niko Tinbergen, and Karl von Frisch in 1973 (as founders of ethology) and Roger W. Sperry, David Hubei, and Torsten Wiesel in 1981 (as pioneers of neuroethology).[1]

The discovery that even the behavior of higher vertebrates is preprogrammed in well-definable ways through phylogenetic adaptation has initiated a process of reconsideration in the human sciences, to date so heavily influenced by behaviorism. In 1971, R. Sperry wrote that the new discoveries on the self-organization of the nervous system up to the point of functional maturity has hardly been noticed in disciplines beyond the fields of biology and ethology. Currently, however, the biological approach is well acknowledged by most fields of science dealing with humans.

Konrad Lorenz indicated in his earlier works that the findings of animal behavior research could contribute to the understanding of human behavior. He devoted a number of important chapters to human behavior in Die angehorenen Formen moglicher Erfahrung (1943) and in 1950 he designated as one of the most important objectives of ethology the testing of the hypotheses derived from the study of animal behavior through the study of human behavior.

Clearly, this objective consists of more than simply applying to humans the findings and models of animal behavior research. Ethological research on man was needed, and it truly began in the mid-1960s. I have been able to contribute to the development of this field, bringing to it a considerable background of practical field and laboratory experience in animal behavior on a broad comparative basis.

As a student, beginning in 1946, I had the opportunity to study the behavior of amphibians and mammals at the Wilhelminenberg Biological Station (Vienna). A badger that I hand-raised helped me learn a great deal about animal play behavior. It occurred to me that during the course of its play behavior the badger freely combined behavior patterns from a number of different functional systems. Indeed, in its play behavior we can observe the first manifestations of that freedom to perform derived from voluntary motor control and the ability to detach behavior patterns from emotions which also lies at the root of man’s behavioral freedom (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1950).

In 1949-1950, I joined Lorenz at the newly established Research Center for Behavioral Physiology of the Max Planck Society. In addition to my interest in behavioral development, questions regarding communication caught my attention. How do signals guide the course of social interactions? How do they originate, and how does the understanding of signals develop? In this area I was particularly concerned with the ritualization of aggressive behavior (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1955a, 1959).

On a 10-month expedition led by Hans Hass to the Caribbean Sea and the Galapagos Islands, I had the opportunity to study the cleaning symbiosis of fishes and other interspecific relationships of coral fishes (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1955b). I also observed the ritualized fights of marine iguanas, and became acquainted with adaptive radiation from first-hand observation of Darwin’s finches. On another diving expedition (1957-1958), again with Hans Hass, I spend 1 year in the Maldive and Nicobar Islands. My main interest was the behavior and ecology of coral fishes. I assembled a large collection of these fishes and learned much about systematics and functional morphology. On these two research voyages[2] I sharpened my appreciation for interrelationships, especially those concerning ecological factors.

After returning from this expedition I became increasingly involved in the naturenurture debate. I experimentally refuted a number of assertions about the ontogeny of certain behavior patterns and showed how innate and acquired elements in mammalian behavior intercalate (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1963).

In the early 1960s I began to include human behavior in my research. Through investigations with children deaf and blind from birth, I was able to demonstrate phylogenetic adaptations in human behavior (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1973). Between 1963 and 1965 I began with the documentation of unstaged (“natural”) human social interactions. The impulse came from my friend Hans Hass, who provided the technical requisites through the development of a specialized reflex lens (p. 112). We tested this technique in 1964 in Africa and in 1965 on a world-wide expedition (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt and H. Hass, 1966, 1967). From this experience, we developed a program of cross-cultural documentation of human social interactions and rituals on film and tape.

For the longitudinal studies, I selected a number of cultures with different subsistence strategies and which, within certain limitations, could also serve as models for different stages of cultural evolution-from Paleolithic hunters and gatherers to farming societies. In 1970, I was entrusted with an Institute for Human Ethology within the organization of the Max Planck Society.

Cross-cultural documentation formed a principal part of our efforts.[3] We investigated phylogenetic and cultural adaptations, the development of rituals and their function, and, in general, the behavior patterns of communication. In studying strategies of social interactions, I found that certain verbal and nonverbal interactions are structured according to the same universal rules. The exploration of this universal system of rules that structure social behavior is at present one key aspect of our research efforts. To achieve this goal, we are working in conjunction with linguists. In 1967, I concluded my animal ethological studies with the publication of <em>Ethology : The Biology of Behavior.[4]

As a supplement to my textbook on animal behavior, this new text on human ethology is based on the latter half of my life’s work.[5] The findings on animal ethology are only occasionally cited in this work and then only to the extent that they contribute to the understanding of ethological concepts.

I hope that this first text on human ethology presents itself as a unified work, even though not every area could be treated with equal depth. For example, a branch of ethology has developed in the past decades which places particular emphasis on ecology and population genetics. This field, known as sociobiology, has enriched discussion beyond the boundaries of behavioral biology through its stimulating, and often provocative, theses. I will discuss some of its contributions when appropriate in this volume, but, of course, cannot cover this new field in depth.

After vigorous debates between behaviorists, anthropologists, and sociologists, we have entered a period of exchange of thoughts and a mutual approach, which in many instances has led to cooperative projects of researchers from different disciplines. This work offers a biological point of view for discussion and includes data from my own cross-cultural work and research from the staff of our institute. It confirms, above all else, the astonishing unity of mankind and paints a basically positive picture of how we are moved by the same passions, jealousies, friendliness, and active curiosity. It is hoped that it encourages further discussion and thought across traditional academic boundaries.

Before turning to the text, I would like to add that the need to understand ourselves has never been so great as it is today. An ideologically torn humanity struggles for its survival. Our species, who is in a position to send satellites to Mars and Venus and to broadcast photographs of Saturn and Jupiter from space, is helpless when confronted with its social problems. It does not know how it should compensate its workers, and it experiments with various economic systems, constitutions, and forms of government. It struggles for freedom and stumbles into newer conflicts. Population growth is apparently completely out of hand, and at the same time many resources are being depleted. With the continuation of the present exponential growth of the world population looms the catastrophe of a global breakdown of populations. In his book Mutations of Mankind, Pierre Ber- taux (1963) writes: “Assessing contemporary human existence as a biological phenomenon is not only permissible but mandatory. Anyone rejecting this approach fails to recognize the significance of our existence and thus the extent of human responsibility. ...” Our hope is to develop an ethic for human survival through gaining insight into the biological processes governing our lives. We must consider our existence rationally in order to understand it, but certainly not with cold, calculating reason but with the warm feeling of a heart concerned for the welfare of later generations. May this book contribute to such an outlook.

Professor Dr. Irenaus Eibl-Eibesfeldt


Acknowledgments

In the past 20 years, I have spent nearly one-fourth of my time in societies whose members still follow traditional living patterns. Few of them will read the lines in this book, but perhaps some of their children will, which would make me happy indeed. It would be one of the ways in which my gratitude to them could be expressed—for their hospitality and for what they taught me.

I am especially indebted to my wife Lorie and my children Bemolf and Roswitha for their courage and good spirits during the extended absences necessitated by my expeditions and field studies.

Konrad Lorenz, whom I have regarded as my fatherly friend for the past 40 years, promoted my work in many ways. We engaged in endless conversations and he was open to my ideas. His openness always remained a model for me. I also express my special thanks to another close friend: Hans Hass, who, 35 years ago, led me through the reefs of the Caribbean Sea, and who developed in the early 1960s the reflex lens, the key to our cross-cultural documentary work. The unforgettable diving expeditions on the “Xarifa” were followed by no less fascinating expeditions to human communities where we tested new methods of documentation. Some of the thoughts in this volume were developed on these shared journeys. We have also worked together as editors of the human ethology film archives of the Max Planck Society.

I thank my expedition companions of many years. Quite aside from their assistance, they have enhanced, with their human presence, the pleasure of conducting field work. Thus, I thank from my heart: Kuno Budack, Volker Heeschen, Hans Joachim Heinz, Harald Herzog, Dieter Heunemann, Wulf Schiefenhovel, and Heide Sbreszny-Klein. I thank my co-workers at the Institute and my many friends in Europe and overseas, especially my colleagues Jurgen Aschoff, Ingrid Bell-Krannhals, Norbert Bischof, William Charlesworth, Mario von Cranach, Derek Freeman, Elke and Karl-Friedrich Fuhrmeister, Inga Goetz, Karl Grammer, Anna Guggenberger, Bernhard Hassenstein, Klaus Helfrich, Eckhardt Hess, Les Hiatt, Barbara Hold, Franz Huber, Hermann Kacher, Erich Klinghammer, Gerd Koch, Otto Koenig, Renate Kreil, Cornelia von Laue-Canady, Ernie Reese, Margaret and Wolfgang Schleidt, Reinhard Schropp, Gunter Senft, Christa Sutterlin, Pauline Wiessner-Larsen and Wolfgang Wickler.

Special thanks are due to the governments of Australia, Botswana, Indonesia, Namibia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, South Africa, and Venezuela, who fostered our work through granting our work permits and who also supported us to the best of their ability. In the field we had continuous help from the local missions. Individual examples include the help of the Salesian Mission in Venezuela; in the early 1970s, the New Tribes Mission in Serra Parima was also a friendly host. Missions in Irian Jaya and Papua New Guinea also helped with their hospitality, by providing transportation assistance and a well-developed infrastructure.

I would like to mention especially the assistance of the German and Austrian embassies, without whom many plans would not have been realized.

The scientific organizations of the Federal Republic of Germany have consistently fostered our work most generously. The Max Planck Society established an independent research center for human ethology and also made possible the creation of a film documentation program. For this sustained support, I thank the Max Planck Society and its President.

Without the financial assistance of the German Research Society (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) a number of important interdisciplinary projects would not have been carried out. Individual projects were also supported by the Fritz von Thyssen Fund, the Werner von Reimers Fund, and the Maison de 1’Homme. The A. von Gwinner Fund provided me with the decisive initial assistance during the early years of my human ethology field research.

I sincerely appreciate the support of Inter Nationes for subsidizing this translation.

It is, furthermore, my great pleasure to thank the Institute for Scientific Film in Gottingen and its director, Hans Karl Galle, for many years of fruitful cooperation.

My heartfelt thanks to Pauline Wiessner-Larsen and Anette Heunemann for their faithful translation of this book. In addition, I wish to express my deepest appreciation to William Charlesworth, Tom Pitcairn, Anne Rasa, and Wulf Schie- fenhovel, for consulting and assisting with specific sections of the text.

Last, but not least, I want to thank Melvin Konner, and the Editors of the Foundation of Human Behavior series for their interest in my work. I also wish to thank the publisher, and, in particular, Ms. Sheila Johnston, who invested so much work in the final editing of the book.


Mirror-Image Illustrations

The illustrations listed below appear as mirror images when printed since the film sequences from which they were copied were taken with the mirror lens.

2.10, 2.11, 2.15, 2.17, 3.18, 3.19, 3.20c, 3.21A, 3.21B, 3.21C, 3.22, 3.23, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.5, 4.24, 4.25, 4.26, 4.27, 4.28, 4.30, 4.31, 4.32, 4.33, 4.34, 4.36b,d,e, 4.37, 4.38, 4.40A, 4.40B, 4.41A, 4.41B, 4.46, 4.48, 4.49, 4.50B, 4.67b, 4.68, 4.69, 4.70, 4.77, 4.78, 4.80, 4.81, 4.82, 4.83, 5.1, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6, 5.7, 5.8, 5.9, 5.12, 5.13, 5.15, 5.16, 5.18, 5.23, 5.24, 5.26, 5.29, 6.5, 6.13, 6.19, 6.22, 6.23, 6.24A, 6.33, 6.34, 6.35, 6.36, 6.37, 6.38, 6.39a-c, 6.40, 6.45A, 6.45B, 6.47, 6.48, 6.49, 6.54, 6.55b, 6.56, 6.62, 6.64, 6.65, 6.70, 6.71, 6.72, 6.73, 6.74, 6.76, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, 7.6, 7.8, 7.9, 7.10, 7.11, 7.12, 7.13, 7.14A, 7.14B, 7.15, 7.17b, 7.20, 7.21, 7.22, 7.24B, 7.25, 7.29, 7.30, 7.31, 7.32, 7.33, 7.34.


[Series Title Page]

FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR

An Aldine de Gruyter Series of Texts and Monographs

Series Editors

Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, University of California, Davis Richard W. Wrangham, University of Michigan

Human Ethology. 1989

Irenaus Eibl-Eibesfeldt

Evolutionary History of the “Robust” Australopithecines. 1988 Frederick E. Grine, Editor

Early Hominid Activities at Olduvai. 1988

Richard Potts

Homicide. 1988

Martin Daly and Margo Wilson

The Biology of Moral Systems. 1987

Richard D. Alexander

Child Abuse and Neglect: Biosocial Dimensions. 1987

Richard J. Gelles and Jane B. Lancaster, Editors

Parenting Across the Life Span: Biosocial Dimensions. 1987

Jane B. Lancaster, Jeanne Altmann, Alice S. Rossi, and Lonnie R. Sherrod, Eds.

Primate Evolution and Human Origins. 1987

Russell L. Ciochon and John G. Fleagle, Editors

Human Birth: An Evolutionary Perspective. 1987

Wenda R. Trevathan

School-Age Pregnancy and Parenthood: Biosocial Dimensions. 1986

Jane B. Lancaster and Beatrix A. Hamburg, Editors

Despotism and Differential Reproduction: A Darwinian View of History. 1986 Laura L. Betzig

Sex and Friendship in Baboons. 1985 Barbara Boardman Smuts

Infanticide: Comparative and Evolutionary Perspectives. 1984 Glenn Hausfater and Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, Editors

Navajo Infancy: An Ethological Study of Child Development. 1983 James S. Chisholm

In Preparation

Inujjuamiut Foraging Strategies

Eric Alden Smith

Human Reproductive Ecology

James W. Wood

Ecology, Evolution, and Human Behavior Eric A. Smith and Bruce Winterhalder, Editors


[Dedication]

To the Memory of

My Beloved Friend and Teacher

KONRAD LORENZ
(1903 - 1989)


1. Objectives and Theoretical Bases of Human Ethology

The animal is taught by its organs; man teaches his and controls them.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Whether mankind considers himself the son of God or a successful ape will make a clear difference in his behavior towards actual facts; in both cases he will also hear very different commands from within himself.

Arnold Gehlen (1970, p. 1)

1.1. Inquiry Formulation and Definition

There has never been a shortage of attempts to define man and, by interpretation, attribute meaning to his life. For millennia, priests, artists, and philosophers have considered these questions. Religious revelation has often been contrasted with the efforts to gain insight into human nature through observation and introspection, that is, through experience and with the aid of reason. To this empirical-rational approach, biology gave new impetus with the theory of evolution, a theory that shook our anthropocentric perception of the world. Through evolutionary theory, man became aware not only of his animal heritage, but also of the reality of his incompleteness—man could no longer consider himself as the final “crowning achievement” of creation, but rather, at best, as an intermediate link on the path toward a higher level of humanity.

Of course, this new insight led to a new perspective of man, one of a progressively developing creature, setting ever higher goals and striving toward these objectives. But, at the same time, man became painfully aware that he travels on a narrow ridge, risks toppling off, and is burdened with responsibility, in as much as he accepts his further development as his mission.

If, for some, man was simply one animal species among others, a “naked ape” as Desmond Morris provocatively expressed it, others, in contrast, felt that man had progressed so far above animals in his evolution that he no longer had anything in common with them; that he had gone beyond the biological process of evolution by virtue of his culture. Man, therefore, was considered free to arrange his life in accordance with reason, without any limitations on constraints. These alternate viewpoints became unnecessarily polarized, for both approaches have validity. Biological inheritance determines human behavior, as we will show, in precisely definable parameters. But it is equally true that only man possesses a language, with which he can creatively formulate new statements and thus pass on his cultural heritage by tradition. Only Man can be defined as a cultural being even though some primates show some modest cultural beginnings. Art, reason, and responsible morality, as well as open-mindedness and adaptability, are further distinctive human traits, and no reasonable biologist doubts their special role.[1]

It is important, however, that we are also aware of the more primitive action and reaction patterns that determine our behavior, and to not pretend as if they did not exist. It is especially in the area of social behavior that we are less free to act than we generally assume. This is poignantly demonstrated by the astonishing discrepancy between our ability to control the external environment and our inability to shape our social life satisfactorily. At the same time that we enthusiastically view the space photographs of Jupiter from the Voyager space probe, we read in our newspapers about executions in Iran, terrorist acts in Ireland, and mass murder in Kampuchea. Of course we should be hopeful for our future based on our potential for responsible morality, but this is possible only when we also recognize the inherited basis of our actions and take them into consideration. In this sense biology can contribute to our enlightenment and emancipation.

Human ethology can be defined as the biology of human behavior. Like its parent discipline ethology, it too is divided into specialties, since the question as to why humans behave one way rather than another can be defined and answered in different ways. If one’s interest lies in the function of the underlying physiological mechanisms, then human ethology becomes allied with traditional behavioral physiology. Here we are dealing with an explanation of the proximate cause of a behavior pattern. Inquiry is directed, for example, toward the stimuli that trigger specific responses, how the coordination for muscle action is achieved, what motivates and terminates behavior, as well as other questions. One can also ask how and why specific behavioral patterns evolved. In order to answer these questions, which aim at the ultimate causes, one must first understand in which way the behavior in question contributes to fitness, as measured by the number of surviving offspring. In short, one must establish its function, or in this sense its task. Experimental and ecological designs, including the study of the ontogeny, are used to answer this question.

The observation of behavior in the natural context is an important starting point for such an investigation. Whenever we encounter a structure or a behavioral pattern on a regular basis it is common sense to ask what that pattern’s function is, in other words to begin with the presumption that the behavior fulfills some task. It can, of course, be the case that the particular behavior under observation from a selectionistic point of view is either neutral or even a disadvantageous heritage, dragged along as a burden of history, or as a by-product of other adaptations. This is, however, only rarely the case. The various cost-benefit calculations used by sociobiologists constitute a promising new way to study adaptiveness; we shall explore this topic in a special section later in this volume.

Some functions are immediately obvious. If a paleontologist finds a petrified wing impression he needs no experimental procedure to state that this is a flight organ. Should one find the fossil imprint of a structure looking like a camera eye, i.e., with lens, glass body, accommodation structures, and a projection surface like the retina, the investigator can state that he found an eye, an organ used for visual perception. This statement can be made even if the organ was found in a meteorite and it was thus impossible to make any experimental verification of the structure’s function.

Questions about function and development can be asked for cultural behavior patterns just as they can for phylogenetically evolved characteristics. We emphasize this because one occasionally comes across the point of view that human ethologists deal only with the basic "animal” heritage in human behavior. This is false. We also investigate man’s cultural behavior. Thus questions as to specific adaptiveness can be posed both for phylogenetically and culturally evolved patterns and achievements from the biological point of view mentioned above. O. Koenig (1970) even coined the term “cultural ethology.” Excellent examples of the ethological approach to the study of cultural behavior include Koenig’s investigations on the biology of uniforms and the ethological analysis of soccer by D. Morris (1981). We must also correct the frequent equating of phylogenetic adaptation with animal heritage. This is unwarranted because there are many phylogenetic adaptations that are specific to Homo sapiens alone. Consider, for example, our innate propensity for speech or the expression of crying.

Human ethologists investigate complex behavioral sequences of individuals and of interactions among people and groups of people. They thus work on higher integration levels than physiologists, who are concerned with the elemental life processes such as stimulus perception, muscle contraction, and the conduction of nerve impulses. Although these processes are an important prerequisite to the understanding of behavioral events, one cannot deduce all the laws underlying any given social interaction from these elemental processes. Each higher level of integration has its own laws that cannot be derived from those of the levels below. Special emphasis must therefore be placed on the necessity of formulating questions appropriate to each level of behavioral organization.

Human ethology makes use of experimental and analytical methods of behavioral research developed in related disciplines, including techniques of data sampling developed in anthropology and psychology, such as, the interviewing of informants. From animal ethology we take the methods of nonparticipant observation, techniques of recording and documenting, and the comparative approach. Human ethology also places value in studying behavioral patterns in their natural context (Section 3.3) and thereafter proceeding to experimental analysis.

The theoretical basis of human ethology is critical realism (K. R. Popper, 1973; K. Lorenz, 1973, 1983). Hence, the basic assumption is that every “adaptation” reflects features of a reality outside the subject (p. 8).

In order to make objective statements about the real world, our perception must be capable of reconstructing this world from the sensory data perceived. In order to reconstruct the real world we must be able to recognize constancy, even under changing conditions. Special mechanisms of constancy perception as well as our ability to recognize configurations (Gestalt perception, Section 2.2.2) enable us to do this. Since these are phylogenetic adaptations, we can say that the constancy hypothesis is innate.

The relationships between reality, perception, and knowledge can be demonstrated by using a graphic projection model (G. Vollmer, 1983). If a cube is optically projected onto a screen, we can reconstruct it if we know its structure, the type of the projection, and the characteristics of the screen. In this manner we can accurately reproduce three-dimensional objects from two-dimensional projections on our retina. Even when we look at pictures, we interpret the objects portrayed on them in three dimensions. In the reconstruction of three-dimensional objects, the information lost in the projection process must be recovered. This takes place relatively reliably during the course of the perception process, with the exception of special cases, such as optical illusions.

Cognition can be seen as an effort to reconstruct the real, “true” structures of reality outside the subject from the sensory impressions perceived as projections of these structures. Thus we interpret the cosmic signals perceived by our sensory organs as projections of astronomical objects. That the interpretation of these projections fits the outer world is proved by the success of interplanetary space travel.

The ability to reconstruct a real world from sensory data presupposes a knowledge about this world. This knowledge is based in part on individual experience and, in part, on the achievements of data processing mechanisms, which we inherited as phylogenetic adaptations. Knowledge about the world in the latter instance was acquired during the course of evolution. It is, so to speak, a priori knowledge—prior to all individual experience—but certainly not prior to any experience (Section 2.1).

The process of cognition consists of a step-by-step reconstruction of an hypothetically postulated reality, a stepwise liberation from the limitations of our sensory organs (the “screen” . . . ). This reconstruction process works counter to the chain of projections. While each projection effectively reduces information, in the process of cognition we attempt a reconstruction. Naturally, such a reconstruction must remain partial and hypothetical” (G. Vollmer, 1983, p. 64, translation of the German original).

In recent years, promising relationships have developed with other disciplines of human behavior and human culture. In this book we will discuss the work of many researchers who would not regard themselves as ethologists, but whose findings are ethologically relevant. This holds true for psychologists as well as ethnologists, sociologists, political and legal scientists, and art historians.

A particularly close relationship exists with ethnologists and social anthropologists (E. Goffman, 1963, 1967; K. Jettmar, 1973; M. Godelier, 1978; H. Schindler, 1980). Common interests arise from comparative cultural work and from a mutual interest in the general, universal laws of human behavior, as demonstrated, for example, by the structuralism of C. Levi-Strauss (p. 517). These relationships are so varied that they cannot all be cited here. Our common interests touch on questions of early childhood development and socialization, societal structure, hierarchical organization, aggression, ethical norms, and many more. Ties also exist with psychology and sociology. We will cite specific examples of this in the discussion of these themes. There are further common interests with linguistics, both at the level of concept formation and that of speech itself (p. 523). There have long been mutual relationships with medicine, especially psychiatry and psychoanalysis (D. Ploog, 1964, 1966, 1969; J. Bowlby, 1969, 1973). The growing interest in ethological findings by political scientists is noteworthy. In America, biopolitics has developed as a new discipline (R. D. Alexander, 1979; C. Barner-Barry, 1983; P. A. Corning, 1981, 1983b; H. Flohr and W. Tonnesmann, 1983; R. D. Masters, 1976, 1981b, c; G. Schubert, 1973, 1975, 1983b; A. Somit, 1976; A. Somit and R. Slagter, 1983). Art history and archeology have also been inspired by findings from ethology (D. Fehling, 1974; G. C. Rump, 1978, 1980; M. Schuster and H. Beisl, 1978).

Summary 1.1

Human ethology can be defined as the biology of human behavior. The research objectives are the elucidation of the physiological mechanisms underlying behavior, the discovery of the functions fulfilled by behavioral patterns and thus the unveiling of the selective pressures to which the behavior in question owes its existence, and, finally, the investigation of behavioral development in ontogeny, phylogeny, and cultural history, with emphasis on the question as to how and to what extent Man became programmed to act through phylogenetically acquired adaptations or by learning during individual ontogeny. Human ethology makes use of the concepts and methods developed in animal ethology, but adapts them to the special 6 requirements associated with the unique position of man within the Animal Kingdom. Methodological techniques are also utilized from the related disciplines of psychology, anthropology, and sociology. Through points of mutual interest human ethology thus endeavors to bridge the gap between the different human sciences. Human ethologists study not only the phylogenetically evolved behavior of man but also its individual and cultural modifiability. Critical realism is the epistemological basis of human ethology.

Oh, great star! What would you be, had you not those on which to shine?

Friedrich Nietzsche (from Zarathustra’s prologue)

1.2. Phylogenetic and Cultural Adaptation

Life is defined today as an energetic process during which organisms, bearers of this process, extract more potential energy from their environment than they must expend in the acquisition of this energy. In other words, organisms are energyacquiring systems with a positive energy balance. H. Hass (1970), the first to clearly formulate this concept to my knowledge, originated the term “Energon” for such energy-acquiring systems. The life processes are maintained by the multiplicity of organisms and by those energy-acquiring systems developed by them. Although we can trace the development of the process throughout evolution, we have yet to understand its ultimate causes.

The energetic process presupposes structures at its disposal that are “adapted” to the appropriate energy transformations. Each organism must possess structures with which it can extract energy from the environment. These structures are adapted to the appropriate energy sources, that is, they are so constructed that they can tap the specific energy sources and thus aid in the maintenance of the energy-acquiring system.

The environment is not only the source of energy but also the source of a multitude of interfering and even harmful influences against which the organism must protect itself. Organisms must also repair damage and be able to transform their positive energy balance into the procreation of their species. In short, there are a multitude of adaptations that require energy investment, such as reproduction, growth, protection, and similar tasks, which enter the balance as costs (H. Hass, 1970).

Since organisms live in an ever-changing environment, they must be able to modify their adaptations in response to these changes. This may even require changes in their basic construction. Furthermore, there are a variety of changes to which an organism must continually adapt during its lifetime. Thus it must be able to institute short-term, reversible changes in response to temporary environmental changes. The musculature and circulatory systems must be able to adapt to new stresses, and calluses must be able to form on the skin in response to pressure. Finally, an animal must be able to learn from experience in such a way that it modifies its behavior adaptively. Adaptive here refers to fitness as measured by reproductive success or, ultimately, the propagation of the genes of the individual in question (see inclusive fitness, p. 92).

Adaptation is thus a central problem for all organisms. Since the entire naturenurture controversy centers around the question of the source of adaptation, we will add a few basic remarks about this subject here.

Adaptations depict features of the environment relevant to survival. They reflect facets of the external reality, such as, characteristics of the energy source they tap or the environment in which they move. Thus, certain characteristics of water are reflected in the anatomy of fishes and dolphins, by adaptations that are functionally related to the movement of these organisms in this medium. This is what is meant when we say that an adaptation reflects features of the environment. The degree of detail and exactness in which an adaptation depicts the outer world varies from case to case since it is determined by function. The organism only reflects characteristics of the environment relative to fitness and not every detail of the environment. However, the match can be amazingly complete, as for example in the case of mimicry, in which a mimic imitates its model even down to the smallest details. The leaf insects, for example, mimic the leaves of the shrubs on which they live. Interesting examples of mimicry are reviewed in W. Wickler (1968).

K. Lorenz (1941, 1973) has made a significant contribution to the question of what constitutes reality in his biological epistemology. In our adaptations we do not depict the external world—pictorially (iconically), but our thought processes and our perceptual capabilities fit as adaptations in the same way as do our physical characteristics. “Our cognitive and perceptual categories, given to us prior to individual experience, are adapted to the environment for the same reasons that the horse’s hoof is suited for the plains before the horse is born, and the fin of a fish is adapted for water before the fish hatches from its egg” (K. Lorenz, 1941, p. 99, translation of the German original).

The adaptations of an organisms, whether these are bodily structures or adaptations in behavior, represent assumptions (hypothesis) about the world in which it is going to live—assumptions which have been tested by selection.

Our perceptual organizations come into disarray when we move into other environments to which we are not phylogenetically adapted, as for example in the atomic or astronomical environments. Our causal thought processes are proof of this. We associate events by means of rigidly determined programs and extrapolate from the coincidence of events: When-then (coincidence) to causes (because— then). We can only think in causal sequences, and this becomes a problem when we use these intellectual tools to inquire into the origin of the universe. David Hume states that causality may not actually exist in nature, but that it is just a “necessity of the soul.” The remarkable essay by R. Riedl (1981) contains a chapter on the consequences of causal thought: “The Superstition of Causes.” This chapter title is misleading and more appropriately should have been “The Established Faith in Causes,” since for the middle level—the “mesocosmos”—causal thinking is an appropriate adaptation. Accurate knowledge based on an iconic depiction of reality cannot be accomplished and is not really necessary for research. We perceive the world with preconceived perceptual and thought processes that strongly influence the postulation of our hypotheses (p. 105). Our perceptive and cognitive mechanisms, nonetheless, fit well enough to an outer world to enable us to send satellites into outer space, which will eventually arrive at their goal even after years of travel. That our cognition is capable of this is a matter of interest and it is more reasonable to assume that our cognition corresponds to external reality than to take the standpoint which disavows the existence of a world independent of a perceiving subject. In P. Watzlawick’s (1981) Die erfundene Wirklichkeit (“Invented Reality”), these problems are precisely and intelligibly discussed by the various authors. Other notable contributions have been made by R. Riedl (1979), G. Vollmer (1975, 1983), D. Campbell (1974), and G. Radnitzky and W. W. Bartley (1987).

In their organization, organisms mirror facets of the extrasubjective environment. Even though the postulates of critical realism are neither demonstrable nor refutable, as Karl R. Popper states, we can “argue in their favor, and the arguments are convincing” (K. R. Popper, 1973, p. 50, translated from the original German text). This is the position any sensible scientist must take. Whether this is “critical realism” or “hypothetical realism” is, from my point of view, of little significance. G. Vollmer (1983) is of the opinion that one must differentiate between these, since critical realism at least considers the existence of the world as evident, retrospectively unquestioned and intuitively guaranteed, while hypothetical realism differentiates between psychological certainty (hypothesis about the world) and epistemological uncertainty. But critical realists like Popper have a clear understanding of the epistemological uncertainty, and the hypothetical realists proceed from the postulation of an extrasubjective reality, which we reflect incompletely but nevertheless fittingly in our adaptations. This is not surprising, for, using an illustration from Ernst Mayr: the monkey without a realistic perception of the branch on which he wants to jump would soon be a dead monkey—and thus would not be one of our ancestors.

From the above it is evident that every adaptive system must have acquired “information” from its environment at some time relevant to the organism’s adaptations, which reflect these environmental features. For this to occur, the organism has had to have interacted with the environment (K. Lorenz, 1961). Such an interaction can occur during phylogeny through the mechanisms of mutation, recombination, and selection. Information relative to survival has thus been collected each generation and became codified genetically, providing the developmental instructions that guide the process of self-differentiation by which the individual organisms or phenotypes develop. This developmental scheme is so strongly controlled by the genes that each individual develops the various speciesspecific structures during ontogeny. Special feedback mechanisms prevent excessive deviations from the blueprint. This is why sparrows hatch from sparrow eggs and chaffinches from chaffinch eggs and not, accidentally, a duck.

Each characteristic develops within a specified range of variation. This range— the reaction norm—is genetically determined and thus the result of phylogenetical adaptation. The modifications of plants in different habitats illustrate this point. The mountain forms of many plants often have feltlike hairs and are generally shorter-stemmed and more compact than conspecifics growing in valleys. Such variability is clearly adaptive in most cases. However, it can also be an epiphenomenon. There are plants that develop red flowers in acid soil and blue in alkaline soil. The anthocyanins (flower pigments) turn red in acidic cell fluids and blue in weakly alkaline ones. We have not been able to deduce the selective advantage for certain plants to possess both color morphs depending on habitat. Perhaps this characteristic of the range of variation is neutral in terms of selection and may even be an epiphenomenon. The range of variation during development is limited and the environmental pressures cannot force modifications to occur in any arbitrary direction. However, the genetically determined prospective potential is often greater than what is normally observed. Gall wasps possess chemical means of stimulating plant tissue to grow galls, which they would not normally do. Generally the range of modifiability of genetically determined processes of differentiation is rather limited, and the prospective potential decreases with each further step in differentiation.

Phylogenetic development is not directed toward specific goals. The direction 9 taken is dictated more by selection contingencies. In a process analogous to trialand-error learning, an exploration of possibilities takes place at the level of the species. Many writers have been disturbed by the decisive role of “chance” in the development of the amazing diversity of organisms. Once, however, it is made clear that basically it is a question of species maintaining themselves in an environment of unforeseen changes, then it is understandable that such adaptation only works when a continual testing of all possibilities of constructive change takes place. This is the only way that “promising monsters” (R. B. Goldschmidt, 1940) can be created and open new pathways in evolution.[5] These can be ethological (p. 14) or morphological monsters. Thus in every generation of flies there are wingless mutants that are weeded out from the population as being malformed. However, that even such monsters of evolution have a chance can be seen in the subarctic Kerguelen Islands, where only wingless insects live (beetles, butterflies, and flies). The winged forms are continually blown off the island by storms.

From generation to generation, new genetic variants are thus created and tested by selection. They are, in a way, set into the world to test for new changes that might have come about. Extreme specialization limits the potential for further evolution. Whereas the pentadactylid foreleg of the vertebrate had the potential to evolve into the fin of the whale, the wing of a bat or the hooves of a horse, the potential of these latter specialized structures is greatly limited. A fin cannot become reconstructed into an extremity with five fingers or a wing. Specialists, therefore, run a greater risk of extinction when their environment changes drastically. The future lies with the generalists.

During the daily life of organisms there are numerous situations in which a rapid adaptability is advantageous. An insect seeking flowers would benefit from remembering where a plant had just blossomed. It is also advantageous for animals to remember where predators are or which pathway is a safe escape route. It is useful when an animal can learn from individual experience, i.e., is able to retain information about specific data or experiences, to store this information, and to adapt its behavior accordingly. During the course of phylogeny, structures of the central nervous system evolved that permitted individual experiences to be stored in recallable engrams so that future behavior could be adjusted accordingly on the basis of these experiences. Here, as well, phylogenetic adaptations determine whether what is learned is obligatory or optional. Animals learn what contributes to their fitness and, since this varies from species to species, innate learning dispositions vary accordingly (p. 74).

Even though learning is based on phylogenetic adaptations and channeled by them, new perspectives of evolution were opened with learning, which, among others, is one of the prerequisites for cultural evolution.

In general, each animal learns from experience for itself only. However, some species can also learn by imitation. In a free-living group of Japanese macaques on the Japanese island of Koshima, a female discovered the washing of sweet potatoes before eating them. The others saw this and imitated her. Today this behavior has become established as a group-specific characteristic and is a tradition passed on from one generation to the next. Such behavior is sometimes described as “protocultural,” but it was only with the evolution of speech and the subsequent development of writing and other information storage systems that true culture could arise.

In the protocultural stage, one individual has to show another the behavior to be learned. With the development of speech it became possible to carry on a tradition independently of an object by verbal instruction alone. One Japanese macaque must always see another washing potatoes, but one person can instruct another by saying, "We wash potatoes before we eat them.” He could also permanently record this information in writing so that it would be available for centuries to literate individuals. Thus, with the introduction of writing, a new, more powerful data bank becomes available to assist the memory enabling knowledge to be passed on without the presence of another society member. Thus accumulative culture develops.

With cultural evolution a new level of existence is achieved, since culturally acquired knowledge can maintain existence, to a large extent, independently of its inventors. If the inventor of the radio or another technical innovation died without heirs, the invention could still be perpetuated. Theoretically it could even be utilized by genetically unrelated inhabitants of another planet. Ideologies can survive in the same way and thus have an existence of their own. K. R. Popper (1973) speaks of a world of objective thought content, which exists even though it is a product of our mental activity. The products of this world (theories, books, and others) can be studied without knowledge of the ways in which they originated, in the same way as we can investigate spider webs and bird nests without having seen the animals that made them. Books can outlive us and be studied by other intelligent beings. Popper categorizes this world of objective ideas as World 3, with the world of states of consciousness and behavioral dispositions (World 2), and the physical world (World I).[3]

All our “artificial organs” (H. Hass, 1970), from tools to books and from factories to expressways, belong to Popper’s World 3. They demonstrate effectively how much and in which ways our accumulating culture dominates human evolution. New ideas, theories, and inventions act like mutations in the biological realm, and they have to stand the test of selection. The problem to be solved is the survival in offspring and this is achieved by the elimination of mistakes. Popper mentions that anatomical and behavioral adaptations of plants and animals are biological analogs of theories: “Theories correspond (like many external objects such as honeycombs . . . ) to bodily organs and their functions. Theories and organs alike are experimental adaptations to the world in which we live” (K. Popper, 1973, p. 125).[14]

Progress in knowledge is the result of a process quite similar to natural selection but consists of the selection of competing hypotheses. “This interpretation applies to what animals know, prescientific knowledge and also scientific cognition. While the animal and prescientific knowledge grow mainly because those with unsuitable hypotheses are themselves selected out, scientific critics often let our theories die instead of us; they select against our wrong ideas before we ourselves are eliminated because of them (Popper, 1973, p. 289).

Cultural evolution is by no means always a product of rational planning. F. A. von Hayek (1979) pointed out clearly that mankind, with the ability to imitate and to carry on traditions, develops traditions of learned rules of behavior, whose purposes are, in most instances, not understood. Von Hayek continues that in the past, Man has often learned appropriate behavior without understanding why it is correct, and even today many habits usually serve him better than does rational understanding.

The system of traditional rules was tested and developed in a process of screening, which is analogous to selection on at the biological level. Cultural evolution, therefore, is mainly a result of the forces of selection and is, to a lesser extent, the result of conscious rational planning. In a competitive process, the more successful characteristics prevail. Von Hayek is undoubtedly correct when he states that cultural evolution could proceed without any kind of insight and also when he expresses the opinion it has also done so for the majority of mankind’s existence.

If we consider culture to be the totality of traditional adaptations, then his statement that we were not even capable of designing culture is also true. Even today we can only understand partial aspects of our own culture.[15] Nonetheless we must come to terms mentally with the problems of our existence, and through reason come up with solutions. Man has had great success with rational planning in many realms of science, economics, and technology. Furthermore, we can set goals for ourselves and thus significantly influence our further cultural development. The developments initiated by founders of states and ideologists testify to such developments.

Ideologies can reverse developmental trends completely by setting new goals and thus by altering contingencies of selection. Whether this is of advantage or not from the point of view of the fitness of the society would not be determined until later. For those Russian sects that forbade their members to engage in sexual intercourse—and who disappeared soon afterward because of so few new recruits— ideology was shown to be deleterious.

The experiments of modem mass societies, whose ideologies stress the equality of all of its members, are fascinating. With few exceptions, in the majority of cultures, successful men, those controlling the natural resources, also produced more descendants. They could afford to have more women, and the women of their subordinates also stood at their disposal. Successful Yanomami chieftains have more wives and children than others in the tribe (N. A. Chagnon, 1979). In China the wealthy not only had supplemental wives and concubines but also access to the wives of their subordinates. The reigning ideology of the Chou Dynasty (1100-222 B.c.) stated that this was their subjects’ obligation and fostered among subordinates the wish to comply since they believed that only the ruling class possessed certain magical powers, which they transmitted for the common good through reproduction.

In the above instances the ideology supported those controlling the society’s resources and led to growth in the population of the ruling class at the expense of the lower classes (further examples in K. MacDonald, 1983). With Christianity, which interestingly enough spread first among the slaves and the poor of Rome, the ideology of equality—of “leveling” as Nietzsche expressed it—came into existence. It was directed against those controlling the resources and attempted to construct an ethic of sharing and equalization as well as of enforced monogamy. A papal ban against princes was one means of stopping polygamy in the ruling European classes. The ideology of monogamy with its prohibition against birth control was the most decisive step since it removed the privilege of reproduction from the upper classes. Anyone who was capable of providing nourishment for a family could sire offspring.

The division of property was less important, and such differences were eventually tolerated by Christianity. Such an ideology leads to the situation in which there is not a limited number of privileged families reproducing at a higher rate relative to other classes, but one in which all levels of society reproduce. It remains to be established whether the single wife in a monogamous society without birth control has more children than those in polygamous societies. I believe it is possible but cannot cite any figures for this. Perhaps this was a factor responsible for the great success of Europeans throughout the world. The Hutterites of Canada can act as a model as to how a group with a strict monogamy and no birth control achieves a higher birth rate than other groups in the Canadian population. The question here is what sort of effect this pattern of behavior will have in the long term. Populations who obey an ideology of reproductive egalitarity may experience a rapid increase in number over other groups following other prescriptions. At the same time, however, the further evolution of certain traits may be slowed down.[16]

Man is certainly the first being who consciously set goals. Some went as far as to argue that Man, therefore, overpowered nature—that he emancipated himself from the contraints of biology. But whatever man does will be measured by the yardstick of selection. By striving toward a particular goal set by an ideology man directs his future evolution and secures its course within certain limits against the unpredictabilities of chance. However, it will always be selection that will decide whether his choice was correct. Any kind of concept, even the ideas of an insane person, can influence the fate of a people, for better or worse, just as mutations can in the realm of biology.

Today we are experiencing how selection is sifting out the newly established social and economic systems of the world according to their adaptiveness. We cannot know the results of this experiment, but without doubt various goals have selective consequences, and they may ultimately even influence biological evolution.

In the animal world, behavioral changes are the pacemakers of phylogenetic development (E. Mayr, 1950, 1970). If an insect larva shifts to a plant species not yet utilized by the species and becomes imprinted on the new host plant so that the imago henceforth selects this host plant, this new preference will certainly result in other adaptations in the insects’ life habits and anatomy. In choosing this new host plant, the insect was placed under new selective conditions. For example, if the epidermis of the new host plant is firmer, the insect may develop stronger mandibles for biting.

K. R. Popper (1973), in his “speartip theory” of behavioral evolution, independently developed the same ideas as Ernst Mayr. He presumes that specific innate tendencies (the avoidance of danger, search for food, etc.) are subject to mutations without organs of the body being simultaneously affected. Any changes affect only the apparatus controlling behavior—in vertebrates it is the central nervous system and not the morphological structures that carry out the actions. These can be independently altered by other mutations. Mutative changes in the mechanism’s guiding behavior (Popper speaks of a “central tendency structure”[6]) generally disturb the functions of an organism less than mutations in structures executing behavior. It is easier to correct maladaptive changes in the central tendency structure with compensating behaviors. New behavioral tendencies can determine further development. Popper cites changes in feeding habits as an example and mentions in this context the classic Lamarckian example: the giraffe. He is of the opinion that changes in the eating habits must have preceded the anatomical neck modifications.

A Darwinian explanation can thus be found for the much discussed topic of orthogenesis (goal-directed evolution).

If a new goal, tendency, disposition, capability or behavior pattern develops in the central tendency structure, this would influence the effects of natural selection in such a way that previously maladaptive (but potentially favorable) mutations now become adaptive ones if they support the newly developed tendency. This means, however, that the development of the executing organs will be guided by this new tendency or objective and is thus ‘goal-directed' (K. R. Popper, 1973, p. 305).

Popper (1973) speaks of “promising ethological monsters” (see also p. 10), which deviate markedly from their parents in their behavior and thus introduce new developments. Certainly a new development is more likely to be preceded by a new behavior pattern than it is by a change in structure, since a new behavior is less likely to fatally disturb the functioning of an organism as a whole and is also less likely to prove lethal than a monstrous anatomical change. A new behavior pattern that takes advantage of previously existing light-sensitive structures could significantly enhance their selective value. Thus an “interest” in vision could become one of the key factors in the orthogenesis of the eye.[17] In this way, according to Popper, changes in the goal structure lead and the development of the anatomical-physiological structures follow. “As the vitalists claim, the direction can actually be determined by a tendency similar to consciousness—by a goal structure or the capability structure of the organism, which can develop a tendency or a ‘wish’ to use an eye, and an ability to interpret the perceptions which it perceives from it” (K. R. Popper, 1973, p. 307).

I have referred to these concepts in some depth because I feel they are highly significant for Man. What has been stated here does not only apply to genetically controlled behavioral mutations. In the human sphere, new ideas, ideologies, and other mental concepts, as stated earlier, can also become evolutionary pacemakers and determine its future course. Developments like these lead to cultural delineations and thus initiate separate developments, termed aptly “cultural pseudospeciation” by E. H. Erikson (1966).

To what extent innate values channel the course of evolution will be discussed later. There are indications that our concepts of “differentiated” and “higher” levels are universal goal structures and thus determine our behavior (p. 659). Cultural evolution is also strongly influenced by altruism, which does not appear to be exclusively a product of culture.

With cultural evolution, mankind developed an adaptive mechanism that in historical times has no doubt exceeded the biological ones in importance. It is probable that cultural changes in life style are followed by subsequent genetic modifications and there are sound indications for this. Lactose tolerance is observed in the majority of adults in peoples living on milk products—a trait lacking in hunter/gatherer societies. Presumably with the discovery of agriculture and the growth of the habit of drinking milk as an adult, a corresponding genetic adaptation was selected for (L. L. Cavalli-Sforza, 1981; further citations therein). In general we have not changed much in our anatomy in the last 20,000 years. And from the way we handle our culturally acquired knowledge we may even assume that our basic behavioral outfit has remained the same. People with the motivations and intellectual capacity of late upper paleolithic man are now flying jet bombers and confronted with the task of surviving in anonymous society.

Since phylogenetic and cultural evolution are shaped by similar selection pressures, cultural evolution phenocopies the biological evolution in many ways. Examples of this are found in the comparison of cultural and phylogenetic ritualization (p. 439). The same functional laws apply to both areas. Thus the rate of change or of mutation should in neither case be excessive, for an excessive mutation rate is dangerous. Progress depends on the balance achieved between the preserving “conservative” forces and those promoting change. We stick to the proven, but experiment with change in small doses. This is certainly “adaptive,” because it is improbable that the entire store of cultural tradition should have lost its adaptive value from one generation to the next.

Our need for security makes us cling passionately to our “beloved” customs. It is from this secure base that we experiment with new ideas and insights.


Summary 1.2

Living systems owe their organization to processes of adaptation through selection. Adaptations are all structures which contribute to the survival of the individual in question and ultimately to its survival in offspring or in short to its fitness. In their adaptations, organisms mirror features of their outer subjective world relevant to fitness. They represent sets of hypotheses about this world which were tested by selection. Thus a fin of a fish, as well as the motor program for its use, both develop prior to hatching within the egg, represent assumptions about the environment in which the fish is going to live. As a prerequisite for adaptation to occur, an interaction between the adapted organismic system and its environment must take place. During phylogeny, variants of the phenotype, brought about by genetic changes, are tested by selection as to their adaptedness and the genotypes for adaptive traits retained. This way the organisms can be said to inform themselves in a process analogous to a trial and error learning about its environment and that information is coded and stored genetically.

Phylogenetic adaptation is supplemented by adaptation via learning and individual experience, and, in humans, also via traditions. It is in the latter case that information transfer occurs. Cultural evolution phenocopies phylogenesis in many respects, since in both cases the shape of the resulting pattern is determined by selection. Customs must prove themselves in order to be retained. We may, however, learn from failures by eliminating customs without sacrificing the life of the individual at the same time. Behavior patterns are often the pacemakers of further development in both cultural and phylogenetic evolution. Cultural evolution has certainly proceeded in an unplanned manner for most of human existence, and we tend to observe certain customs without insight into their rationale since they have proved themselves beneficial.

Culture, because of its complexities, is difficult to plan, but by the setting of goals its development can be directed.


2. Basic Concepts of Ethology

2.1. The Concept of the "Innate”

A blue whale swims with fully coordinated movements immediately after birth. A newborn gnu trots or gallops after its mother when danger threatens, and a freshly hatched duckling waddles into the water, swims with no prior practice, sifts through the mud for food, drinks, and oils its feathers without requiring any model or instructions for these behavior patterns. Hatching the duckling’s egg among those of a hen’s brood would not alter any of these typical duck behavior patterns. A duckling that hatched with a brood of chicks would, quite contrary to its foster mother’s behavior, go straight into the water.

These obviously innate propensities have long been known to behavioral scientists. H. S. Reimarus (1762), Charles Darwin (1872), W. James (1890), and D. A. Spalding (1873) discussed them and distinguished among them and those behavior patterns that an animal acquires during the course of its lifetime through learning processes. They also pointed out that such behavioral patterns do not have to be fully developed at birth. Some behavior patterns mature during the course of ontogeny. Thus, freshly hatched male ducks show no trace of their species-specific courtship patterns. Even if they are raised, however, in complete social isolation, they will nonetheless develop these species-typical courtship behaviors. This simple distinction between innate and learned behavior has proved itself of value in taxonomy. O. Heinroth (1910) employed courtship patterns as distinguishing characteristics in his detailed classification of ducks. He used these patterns in just the same way as morphological characteristics to correctly identify specific systematic categories. He found that homologous movements were modified to a greater or lesser extent according to degree of relatedness in different species and reconstructed the phylogeny of these movements, which he called “arteigene Triebhandlungen,” species-specific instinctive behavior patterns. In addition to the species specificity of the movements, the term “Trieb” refers to spontaneity as a characteristic, a quality which we will discuss later. K. Lorenz and N. Tinbergen (1939) spoke of “Erbkoordinationen” (fixed-action patterns) and emphasized that these patterns are passed on through the process of inheritance. More specifically, we may say that fixed-action patterns mature implying that the neuronal networks underlying these behavior patterns grow to functional maturity in a process of self-differentiation, according to the blueprint encoded in the genome of the individual. The processes by means of which a nervous system gets “wired” for its function are basically understood, due to the pioneering work of R. Sperry. Fixed-action patterns are frequently associated with orientation movements (taxes) the combination of which form the more complex “instinctive behavior patterns.”

Deprivation experiments have long been used to demonstrate the presence of innate behavioral traits. This methodology has aroused a great deal of criticism. D. S. Lehrman (1953) clearly formulated the argument in a critique directed against Lorenz. Lehrman claimed that the deprivation experiment is meaningless because it is impossible to deprive an animal of all environmental influences. In extreme isolation, an animal is in an environment that influences it, even within the egg or uterus. As a result, it can gain experience and develop the preliminary stages of the behavior pattern in question. He cites the observations of Z. Y. Kuo on the development of precursors to pecking in the chick embryo. I have dealt at length with this and other experiments in Ethology: The Biology of Behavior (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1975, New German edition: 7, 1987).

Lehrman also emphasized that the concept of the innate is defined only from a “negative’’ point of view by ethologists to mean that “which is not learned.” By pointing out a true weakness in the concept of the innate, he made a positive contribution to the discussion of instinct. K. Lorenz (1961) rethought the concept in view of this criticism and defined the concept of the innate positively on the basis of the origin of the adaptation. All adaptations, whether behavioral or morphological represent hypotheses about this world, which have been and which are constantly tested by selection. Some of these hypotheses evolved during phylogeny, others culturally, and, finally, many develop by individual experience, such as by trial and error learning or by insightful discovery. Every adaptation reflects features of a world existing outside the individual, which means, as stated in the previous section, that information concerning these features must have been acquired by the adapted system. To acquire such information, organisms possess three information storage reservoirs: (1) the genetic code; (2) individual memory; and (3) finally, humans have language, the written word, and electronic storing devices, which aid them in creating culture.

The term “innate” refers to phylogenetic adaptiveness. Deprivation experiments are a means to discover whether a behavior pattern owes its adaptiveness to individual learning or to phylogenetic adaptation. By withholding from the developing individual information concerning those features of the environment which the individual reflects in its adaptations, the possibility to adapt by learning is definitely excluded. If adaptive behavior is shown, nevertheless, then we can say that the structure in question owes its adaptedness to phylogeny.

Thus, if a developing bird is prevented from hearing its species-specific song during ontogeny and later still performs the species-typical song, we have irrefutable evidence that the underlying song pattern is based on phylogenetically acquired information, which is genetically coded. The frequently voiced argument that precursors for specific behavior may be found during ontogeny, and that environmental influences could play a role in their development does not invalidate this statement. As I have emphasized repeatedly since 1963, the concept of phylogenetic adaptation always refers only to a specific level of integration. If I assumed the unlikely position that breathing movements of birds were learned, yet the bird developed the species-specific song in isolation, might I then still maintain that this song is phylogenetically adapted? (In this case, the breathing movements would then—so to speak—be the acquired building blocks for the song.) Even if such a learning process as postulated here were fact it would not alter our conclusion about the phylogenetic adaptation of the song, since it refers to a different level of integration. The results of this postulated experiment would nonetheless prove that the information concerning the specific patterning of the song (here: melody, rhythm, and syllable formation) did not have to be acquired through individual learning. The necessary information, therefore, which led to the adaptation at this level, must have been acquired during the course of phylogenetic history.

For the same reasons we can state that the food caching behavior of the squirrel is innate (phylogenetically adapted). Every squirrel hides nuts and acorns in the Fall with a sequence of stereotyped behavioral patterns: it digs a hole, places the nut inside, presses it firmly into the ground with rapid snout movements, covers the nut with earth using alternating foreleg strokes, and finally pats the earth firm with its front paws. This adaptive sequence is also carried out by squirrels which 20 grow up in complete social isolation and which are completely deprived of any opportunity to handle solid objects. The first time such squirrels are given nuts and the opportunity to bury them, they will do so. They will still search for a hiding place on the ground, dig a hole, and hide the nut using the behavior sequence described above. The stereotypy of the movement sequence becomes particularly obvious in captivity, where inexperienced animals will try to dig a hole in the solid floor of a room, where no hole can be dug. They perform all the movements already described, covering and patting the nut, even though there is no earth available; the preset program simply runs its course (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1963).

Now, if someone were to discover that squirrels exercise during their embryonic development some building blocks of this behavior, such as the coordination of antagonistic muscles, we could still, on the basis of our experiments, state that food caching behavior owes its specific adaptiveness to phylogenetic adaptation. We are dealing here with a particular level of adaptation requiring a highly specific prerequisite “knowledge,” which in this case could not have been acquired during ontogeny under the conditions of the deprivation experiment.

J. C. Fentress (1976) conducted a very radical deprivation experiment. Mice groom their heads and snouts by stroking their forelegs from the back to the front over the head, eyes, and snout and, thereafter, licking their paws. Newborn mice cannot yet do this. Fentress amputated the arms of newborn mice and thus deprived them of the opportunity to perform grooming behavior. When the developmental stage at which mice clean their heads with their paws was reached, the deprived mice performed grooming movements with the remaining stumps of their arms with the same timing and actions that is characteristic of normal grooming. The mice even closed their eyes when their paws would normally have covered them, and licked in the air, washing paws that were not present. This experiment should certainly prove the existence of innate, phylogenetically adapted motor patterns, although I hope such radical procedures will prove unnecessary in the future.

Surprisingly, these really rather straightforward relationships are even today still misunderstood by many critics of ethological concepts, who monotonously repeat the same old arguments. D. S. Lehrman (1970) is an exception, for he accepted the Lorenz’ (1965) arguments, although he emphasized that his interests lay in a different area, namely, the detailed analysis of behavioral development rather than an investigation as to whether a particular behavior pattern was phylogenetically adapted or not. We feel, on the other hand, that it is precisely this question of phylogenetic adaptation that constitutes the first decisive step in the investigation of ontogeny. The conclusion that a behavior pattern is phylogenetically adapted does not mean that ethologists stop here with their analyses and ignore problems of ontogeny. The usual admission by the opponents of ethology that inherited components are important in sorting out behavior patterns, and that both genes and environment contribute to behavioral development, which no one has ever disputed, in general, serves only to obscure the problem. Someone designates himself as an “interactionist” and in the same breath maintains that it is impossible to disentangle the contributions of innate and acquired characteristics.[1]

It is especially with reference to the origin of specific adaptations that a researcher can make binding statements.

At the turn of the century, biologists were already working on understanding the processes of self-differentiation during embryogeny; H. Spemann received the Nobel Prize for his study on the embryogenesis of organs in the newt. He showed that the various tissues have a prospective potential. Of all possible ways that the tissues could differentiate, the specific developmental pathway taken is selected by means of specific chemical key stimuli called inductors.

If one transplants the eye cup of a newt embryo into the abdominal region, then the epidermis above the eye cup will develop into a lens in the new location. Substances secreted from the rim of the eye cup trigger those processes which, from the various genetically provided options, result in the development of a lens. They activate “prospective potentials,” which are available as the result of phylogenetic adaptations.

Modifiability is limited; i.e., development is actually safeguarded against excessive deviation from the norm. Neither the fact of polymorphism, nor the given range of modifiability, nor an occasional uncovering of potentialities, which would normally not be activated (p. 9), change the fact that the process of self-differentiation is based on developmental instructions provided by the genetic code. This holds true for the development of any organ or organ system, such as the nervous system, the liver, the excretory system, and the sensory organs. In order to develop a retina or a kidney glomerulus, a growing organism certainly requires a great deal from the environment such as food, oxygen, humidity, and a certain temperature, but none of these “environmental factors” contain the information for the specific cytoarchitecture of these tissues.

How strict the determination of the development of the nervous system is, can be demonstrated by the investigations of R. W. Sperry (1945a, b, 1965, 1971). If a piece of skin from the back of a frog embryo is transplanted to the abdomen, before the sensory nerves have developed, this piece of skin is sought out by the growing nerve fibers and innervated as if it were at its original site. Thus, if the frog is tickled on this ventrally located back skin, the frog will still scratch its back. This and many other experiments demonstrate a precise and prefunctional growth of neuronal networks and nerves on the basis of genetic instruction. It seems as if selective chemical affinities determine which cells make contact with which others. Likewise, the developing nerve fibers may be matched to their target organs through specific chemical makeup of the organ (C. S. Goodman and M. J. Bastiani, 1986; C. S. Goodman et al., 1984; J. Dodd and T. M. Jessell, 1988; A. L. Harrelson and C. S. Goodman, 1988). Cultured nerve cells form complex networks with fully operational connections between the cells, even though there are no tasks for them to perform. Xylocaine suppresses all electrical functions, yet organized neuronal networks do develop in xylocaine-treated cell cultures (P. G. Model et al., 1971).

(continued) upon both) might be revived just because some behavioral scientists have become interested in human behavior.” (R. C. Bolles, 1979, p. 29); “Genetic heritage and instincts are obviously important elements in the organization of cerebral mechanisms of behavior, but the age-old debate of nature versus nurture, its dichotomy of percentages (50-50?) and the possible existence of a unique nature are losing scientific interest” (J. M. R. Delgado, 1979, p. 31). And the usually insightful R. D. Alexander (1979a) writes: “For many years we have asked: Is this behavior learned or genetic? Finally we are coming to realize that the answer is always both.”


Summary 2.1

The concept of the “innate” is no longer defined negatively as “that which is not learned,” but positively according to the origin of adaptations. We consider behavioral and perceptual faculties as being phylogenetically adapted if their organic-physiological substrate (the nerve cells in their special connections with sensory and executing organs) develops under genetic control in a process of selfdifferentiation to functional maturity. The objection that such a distinction is theoretically possible but in practical terms unverifiable, because the animal is always under some kind of environmental influence, can be answered with the fact that it is possible to withhold specific information relevant to a specific adaptation. If the animal nonetheless performs the adapted behavior, its phylogenetic adaptiveness is demonstrated. The statement is valid only for a specific level of integration of the adaptation.

2.2. Phylogenetic Adaptations in Behavior

The survival of an animal depends upon many very different capabilities. It must be able to feed, reproduce, and defend itself, for example. All this requires that it be furnished with various programs which coordinate and guide behavior. The animal must move through space and be able to interact with the environment. It must know what to do and what to avoid. It must perceive and process stimuli and be so structured that it can respond to specific stimulus categories with specific actions, for example, to court a sexual partner, but to respond to a predator with flight, playing dead, or defensive behavior. It must behave adaptively at the appropriate time, thus requiring feedback circuits that signal deviations from physiological equilibrium (homeostasis). Motivating mechanisms must ensure that the animal searches actively for prey, social partners, resting sites, or inquisitively seeks new information. Preferences and aversions must be built-in, just as complex regulatory systems that activate or stop behavior at appropriate times are. Animals must be provided with the norms (central reference structures) against which they can match their behavior.

In man, such norms determine what we perceive as “good” or “evil,” and these are the basis of what we experience as “good” or “bad” conscience. Furthermore, animals and human beings must be able to adapt their behavior individually to changing environmental conditions. Adaptive modifiability of behavior through learning requires complicated neuronal systems, which, for example, determine what is associated with what and what constitutes a reward. The programs include information regarding whether a species is typically monogamous, and when it should deviate from this pattern, whether it lives in groups and develops hierarchies, follows incest taboos, differentiates sex roles, and much more.

For these kinds of performances, animals and humans require a certain basic endowment of phylogenetic adaptations, even if they are required to learn a great deal in addition. These adaptations may be in the form of movements, like readily available tools, existing as knowledge of specific releasing stimuli, and in the form of activating mechanisms (“drives”). Naturally, movements or “drives” as such are not innate to the animal. We have already stated that this term is used as a “shorthand” description, and that the neuronal networks underlying the previously mentioned characteristics grow by a process of self-differentiation to functional maturity. 23

How the neuronal network is “wired” for a particular function is, to date, known for only a few behavior patterns (S. Goodman and M. T. Bastiani, 1984). It is only in a few invertebrate species that the generator systems underlying certain motor patterns have been traced back to the neuronal level (G. S. Stent et al., 1978; J. C. Fentress, 1976). Analysis of data-processing mechanisms at the neuronal level have been carried out by D. H. Hubei and T. N. Wiesel (1962, 1963), F. Huber (1974, 1977), and J. P. Ewert (1974), to name only a few. I will not discuss these remarkable findings here but must refer to my detailed presentation in Ethology: The Biology of Behavior. We still know very little about the neuronal substrate which controls behavior.

Genes must not only control the differentiation of the neuronal networks underlying instinctive behavior but they also control the development of the specific chemistry by which particular neuronal networks are activated and which facilitate and inhibit the activity of neurons in a specified manner, so that the sequence of behavior patterns progress in the proper order. Studies in egg-laying behavior of the marine snail Aplysia were the first to demonstrate how genes are involved. The investigators (R. H. Scheller et al., 1982, 1983; L. B. McAllister et al., 1983; R. H. Scheller and R. Axel, 1984) localized a group of genes responsible for the development of a group of related neuropeptides, whose ordered release controlled the appearance and sequencing of the fixed-action patterns of egg-laying.

The claim that no one would ever be able to determine the genetic contribution to the process of differentiation of behavior does not dishearten biologists. Although we are certainly just at the beginning of such investigations, decisive breakthroughs have already been achieved.

When studying behavior, we generally perceive the events and their dependence upon controllable variables. We depict these changing relationships in systems (cybernetic) diagrams. They represent a level of reality, display the functional organization (“Wirkungsgefuge”) of the system and its appropriateness at this level, and allow predictions to be made that can be tested by experiment. Examples of such systems diagrams can be found in the work of B. Hassenstein (1973a, 1983), E. von Holst and U. von St. Paul (1960) (see also N. Bischof, 1975, p. 210).

When we distinguish between phylogenetic adaptation on the motor side, on the receptor side, motivating mechanisms, learning dispositions, and so on, we must keep in mind that, in doing so, we categorize and isolate parts from the functional whole. To a certain extent, any of these aspects can be studied separately. I can thus investigate the neuronal generator (drive) systems underlying a fixed-action pattern, or the basic feedback circuits for constancy in visual perception, as individual entities.

We must, however, never forget that in categorizing adaptations we are dealing with subsystems that must work with others in a functional whole. Although one can, for example, study innate expressive movements and the innate releasing mechanisms involved as independent entities, one must remember that they both operate within the framework of a communicative system. We must also realize that we are far from understanding the many physiological mechanisms underlying the programs controlling behavior. We recognize specific innate dispositions, such as obedience to norms, but we do not yet know in detail how they are constructed. Learning disposition as well as different “drives” can be based on quite different constructs. We conceive of them on the level of functional categories of behavior 24 even though the mechanisms underlying them may not be unitary at all (p. 162).

2.2.1. Fixed-Action Patterns and Instinctive Actions

In his studies on the taxonomy of ducks, O. Heinroth (1910) found that he could use courtship behavior for minute taxonomic classification, just as one does with morphological structures. These patterns proved to be characteristic for each species, and Heinroth called them species-specific instinctive behavior patterns (“ar- teigene Triebhandlungen’’). The patterns were characterized by their constancy in form. They consisted of distinct behavioral sequences that could be homologized within closely related species. These motor adaptations have been investigated more closely since then, and their innate character has been verified (for examples, see p. 21). They are known as “fixed-action patterns.” Together with orientation movements, they comprise a higher functional unit: instinctive behaviors (K. Lorenz and N. Tinbergen, 1939).

The term “/zxed-action pattern” may imply a strict rigidity, and this has led to investigations on its variability. Measurements have been made of the time interval between the appearance of two behavioral patterns (R. H. Wiley, 1973) or the duration of a specific pattern (J. A. Stamps and G. W. Barlow, 1973). However, such studies do not deal with the decisive characteristic of the form constancy itself. Because the sequencing and the relative phase interval of the muscle actions involved remain constant, a transposable movement configuration (“Bewegungsgestalt”) is established. Thus the movement pattern is therefore always recognizable, even if the movements are carried out at varying speeds or amplitudes. In this sense, a fixed-action pattern can definitely have variability, but the relative phase interval of the muscle actions involved remains constant. Variability results furthermore from the fact that several simultaneously activated movements can be superimposed upon one another (examples, p. 170; ambivalent behavior).

In this connection it must be especially emphasized that while each fixed-action pattern is form constant not every form constant movement is necessarily a fixed- action pattern. Learned movement sequences can also be of a high degree of stereotypy and thus, by their form constancy, attain the characteristics of a transposable configuration. This is why handwriting patterns are unique for each individual person. Whether the signature is written rapidly or slowly, its configuration remains constant. The criterion of innateness must be met in addition to form constancy before we can speak of a fixed-action pattern. This is often forgotten. Furthermore, fixed-action patterns are also accessible to the modulating influences of feedback and experience.

Since Erich von Holst’s studies (1935, 1936, 1937, 1939) we know that fixed- action patterns in vertebrates are activated by spontaneously active motoric cell groups whose neuronal activity is centrally coordinated. Thus even fully deaf- ferentiated nervous systems (those fully isolated from relevant input) can produce well coordinated impulses and transmit them to the musculature. Eels with a completely deafferentiated spinal cord can swim with perfect coordination. Comparable drive systems in invertebrates have been recently investigated more closely. In many species, they have been found to generate the movements of courtship, flight, walking, and swimming. Usually there are feedback systems involved in the control of these movements. The studies by J. C. Fentress (1976) and E. R. Kandel (1976) give good reviews of these questions.

Fixed-action patterns often combine with orienting movements to form higher 25 functional units, which we call instinctive behavior patterns (K. Lorenz and N. Tinbergen, 1939).[18] These building blocks of behavior can, in turn, combine with learning processes to form still more complex functional entities (examples in I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1975b, 1987).

Humans also display phylogenetic adaptations on the motor side. Heartbeat and respiration mature during the embryonic stage. The newborn baby has a broad repertoire of functional movements, including vocalizations.

Premature babies can hold onto a stretched rope with their hands. Newborns make walking movements when they are held upright and moved over a surface (see Figs. 2.1-2.4). These primary walking movements are not under voluntary control. The babies cannot vary the length of their pace. The legs so to speak run with them. If babies are put on their belly into warm water, they move their arms and legs in a typical quadruped movement coordination (diagonal walk). If they are placed on the mother’s stomach immediately after birth, they can push themselves upward toward the breast with their legs (Fig. 2.5). They have a special automatic searching movement (search automism; H. F. R. Prechtl and W. M. Schleidt, 1950; Fig. 2.6), and without any guidance they can grasp the nipple with their lips, begin sucking, and coordinate these movements with their breathing so that they do not aspirate any liquid. There are other movements that accompany sucking. For example, they clench their fists during nursing, and use this grip to hold on when they grab something. They indicate their satisfaction or dissatisfaction during nursing by vocalizations. Their vocal repertoire is quite differentiated. A nursing baby has over five different vocalizations (apart from different forms of crying), each with a specific function (M. Morath, 1977; Fig. 2.7):

a. The contact sound is an utterance lasting 0.1 second and is given immediately after awakening. If the mother does not respond, the baby begins to cry. This sound has a mixed frequency with an upper limit of 8 kHz.

b. The displeasure sound consists of a series of rhythmically repeated short utterances of 14 seconds duration each. Each individual component resembles the contact sound. This sound signals displeasure to the mother during certain specific interactions, such as when she cleans the baby’s nose.

c. The sleep sound is made at intervals of about 15 minutes during sleep; it signals well-being. Each sleep sound lasts about 0.3 second and shows a mixed frequency with an upper limit of about 0.3 kHz. This pleasant sound is most often heard when the baby changes its position during sleep. If the baby remains quiet for an extended period of time, the mother will check for the cause of this silence, yet she responds without even knowing why.

d. The drinking sound is a rather pure tone lasting 0.2 second with overtones as high as 8 kHz. It is uttered rhythmically with drinking, especially when the child nurses. It signals that all is well.


Figure 2.1. The handgrasping reflex of a newborn. From Sie und Er, 1967, p. 36.

Figure 2.4. Diagonal movement coordination of a crawling newborn (after M.B. McGraw, 1943).

Figure 2.3. Primary stepping movements in a newborn. From Sie und Er, 1967, p. 36.

Figure 2.2. Footgrasping reflex of a newborn. From Sie und Er, 1967, p. 36.



Figure 2.5. A newborn baby with the umbilical cord just cut, can crawl forward across its mother under its own power. Photo: S. Austen.

e. The contentment sound is a pure tone with overtones up to 5 kHz and a duration of 0.3 second. It is sometimes repeated at 0.5-second intervals. The sound signals well-being and satiation.

There are a large number of highly specific reflex movements, which have been utilized in clinical diagnoses because they are typical for specific maturational levels and health of a baby (H. F. R. Prechtl, 1958; Fig. 2.8).

If a baby is held on its back on one’s hands and then dropped for a short distance, the baby spreads its arms out and then pulls them back over the chest (the Moro reaction; Fig. 2.9a, b). The baby will only do this if it is not already holding something. If the baby was holding something before being dropped back, it tightens its grip. The newborn baby exhibits a number of expressive movements, and its responsive behavior will be discussed below.

Babies also rub their eyes in a rather stereotyped fashion, which I have never seen described elsewhere. They rub their closed eyes with the backs of the fingers, especially the index and middle fingers, and the back of the hand, moving them from the outer toward the inner edge of the eye and occasionally rubbing back and forth several times. In this way, the baby avoids scratching its eyes. We retain this eye-rubbing behavior for life. This was observed in babies of every culture we studied (Figs. 2.10, 2.11), and not once did I see a baby accidentally poke itself in the eye with its fingers.

Infants also react to the taste substances that produce “sweet,” “sour,” and “bitter” sensations with specific facial expressions. This is important since they must be able to signal to the mother whether something tastes good or not and what sort of flavor quality they are perceiving. The fact that even anencephalic babies display these reactions proves that these are not individually acquired facial expressions (J. E. Steiner, 1973, 1974, 1979).

Figure 2.6. Rhythmic nipple searching behavior (search automism) (after H.F.R. Prechtl, 1953).

Figure 2.7. Spectrogram of a baby’s vocalizations as described in the text. From M. Morath, 1977.


Moro reaction Doll-eye reaction Glabella reflex Oral search reflex Sucking reflex Handgrasping reflex Footgrasping reflex Magnet reflex Escape reflex Generalized stretch reflex Alternating stretch reflex Side position reflex (vojta) I Placing reaction Reflex walk Automatic reaction Galant reflex Spontaneous crawling (Bauer refl.) Tonic labyrinth reflex (TLR) Symmetrical tonic neck reflex (STNR) Asymmetrical tonic neck reflex (ATNR) Labyrinth placement reflex (LSTR) Neck placement reflex on the body Body placement reflex on the body Body placement reflex on the head Amphibian reaction Landau reaction Readiness to jump Equilibrium reactions

Prone position

Supine position

Four-footed stand

Supporting reaction while sitting Forward

To the side

To the back

Figure 2.8. The diagnostically important reflexes of the newborn. From A. Vossen, 1971.

A series of behavioral patterns mature during the course of development. This can be verified by studying humans under specified conditions of sensory deprivation. I have investigated children born deaf and blind. These individuals grow up in eternal darkness and silence. They can never perceive their companions’ facial expressions nor hear their voices; yet they develop their facial expressions sufficiently for us to recognize the basic expressions. Deaf and blind children 30 smile when the mother caresses them; they laugh during play, cry when they hurt themselves, and emit all the appropriate sounds while doing so. When angry, they frown and clench their teeth. They even stamp their feet in rage, just like any angry person would do (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1973a, b; Figs. 2.12-2.14).

Figure 2.9. (A) The Moro reaction in a newborn Eipo baby. Photo: W. Schiefenhbvel. (B) The Moro reaction in a newborn European baby. The reaction is elicited when the person holding the baby with the hand lets the baby fall back slightly. From A. Vos- sen, 1971.

To the objection that these children could have learned these expressive behaviors by touching their mother’s face and thus acquire the necessary information to perform appropriately, I would reply with the observation that even deaf and blind thalidomide children, who could not raise their arm stumps, display these typical facial expressions as well.

The facial expressions of deaf and blind born children are certainly less refined than those of sighted children. But essentially this could be due to the fact that many of the differentiated expressions are activated visually and acoustically during communication with others, and these channels are closed to these deprived children. In support of this contention is the astonishing cross-cultural correspondence of many facial expressions, even in fine detail. The eyebrow flash is an example (p. 118). For many universally occurring expressive behavior patterns we find homologies in anthropoid apes, for instance, the open mouth face (pp. 135 ff.) and pouting (p. 461). When we are frightened we raise the shoulders (Fig. 2.15). This neck-shoulder reaction is an innate protective response with which we protect the vulnerable carotid area of the neck from injury.

There is also a head protective response, in which one or both hands are placed over the head, with the palms down. We observed this in fear situations, particularly when a person was afraid of having his head struck. Crying children often lay one hand over the head as if they want to protect themselves from blows (Figs. 2.16, 2.17). This is practically an automatic reaction, even if there is no threat of blows. Many of the expressive movement patterns are fixed-action patterns. More examples will be given in a later section (6.3.1).

Figure 2.10.

(a) to (i) Crying Yanomami baby, who rubs its eyes with the back of its hands. Sometimes the fist is clenched during the eye-rubbing. From a 25 frames/second 16 mm film, frames 1, 3, 5, 9, 11, 22, 25, and 28 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Figure 2.11. (a) to (f) Sleepy Himba baby rubbing its eyes with the back of the hand. From a 25 frames/second 16 mm film, frames 1, 8, 13, 19, 26. and 38 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

2.2.2. Phylogenetic Adaptations in Perception: Innate Recognition

Perceptual tasks must satisfy various demands. Animals and humans must move in space and be able to determine which are solid obstacles and which move in relation to themselves. They must not only be able to perceive objects but also react to them adaptively, depending on whether the object is, for example, a predator, prey, or a sexual partner. Furthermore, perceptual skills must take into account different locations, distances, and light conditions, all of which require complex assessment mechanisms. These and a wealth of other data processing mechanisms are at our disposal and many of them are available as phylogenetic adaptations.

Figures 2.18 to 2.20 each show two identical pictures, in which one represents the other rotated 180°. We interpret these “landscapes” differently because our perception operates under the assumption that the light comes from above. That objects are normally illuminated from above and thus cast corresponding shadows is something we experience anew each day.

We might assume that perceptual capability is derived from individual experience, but perhaps this is not the case at all. R. Dawkins (1968) showed that unfed


Figure 2.12. Three facial expressions of a 10- year-old girl, deaf and blind from birth, (a) Neutral; (b) smiling; (c> crying. From a 16 mm film. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.


(a) The same girl as seen in Fig. 2.12 expresses anger by biting into her hand, 3-day-old chicks preferred pecking at three-dimensional objects (semispherical nailheads). They also preferred photos of such objects over two-dimensional flat objects if the objects were arranged so that their illuminated side was on top. This preference is not based on the individual experience that objects (feed corn) are illuminated from above. Even chicks that Dawkins raised in cages illuminated from the bottom preferred the pictures of nailheads lit from above, quite contrary to their personal experience with lighting. They obviously responded on the basis of phylogenetically acquired experience that light falls from above and perform on the basis of this assumption; the contrary individual experience did not alter their response at all.

(b) Expression of despair after being left alone. After an angry protest she clasps herself (anger mixed with fear). From a 16 mm film. Photo: I. Eibl- Eibesfeldt.

Figure 2.14. The warding-off gesture in the previously shown girl. From a 16 mm film. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Figure 2.15. Neck-shoulder reaction of an Eipo man who is startled and frightened by a rubber spider. From a 50 frames/second 16 mm film, frames 1, 24, and 30 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Figure 2.16. Head protection reaction of a crying Balinesian boy. From a 16 mm film. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Figure 2.17. (a) to (d) Head protection reaction of a crying G/wi Bushman boy. From a 25 frames/second 16 mm film, frames 1, 16, 40, and 56 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Apparently there is some kind of perceptual bias based on phylogenetic adaptation in the perceptual apparatus. This enables an animal to interpret specific environmental stimuli and respond to them adaptively (that is, so that normally fitness is augmented).

This prior knowledge has been investigated experimentally in many different animals. It guides spatial and object orientation and permits an animal to recognize certain contingencies innately and to respond to them with a preset program. Crickets, for example, recognize their individual species courtship and rival songs; their information processing mechanisms have been minutely analyzed down to the neuronal level (F. Huber, 1977, 1983). Moths react specifically to sex pheromones (D. Schneider, 1962; K. E. Kaissling, 1971) and coral fishes respond to the color patterns and markings of their conspecifics. Most of these fish could not have gained this knowledge in the course of their development, because they mature from the egg far away from their parents among the marine plankton. Only after the larval stage do they reach the coral reef, which is inhabited by a multitude of species. They must already know which fish to court when they are sexually mature and which to fight. In all these cases the animals apparently have data processing mechanisms that act like stimulus filters and are interconnected with the motor systems so that specific behaviors are elicited by specific stimuli. We call these “innate releasing mechanisms” (IRM; Tinbergen, 1951). These mechanisms are specialized unilaterally for specific perception, e.g., enemy or prey objects. The triggering stimuli are called key stimuli. In the case of intraspecific communication and interspecific symbiotic situations it is not only advantageous for the animal perceiving stimuli to react adaptively, but just as important that the partner involved be understood appropriately. Thus, in the service of communication, reciprocal adaptations took place and special signals evolved, such as the color patterns in coral fish. We use the term releasers for such signaling devices. One particular category of releasers are the expressive movements. These are behavior patterns that have been especially differentiated for the sake of communication (see Ritualization).

Figure 2.18. Both pictures are identical. However, depending on orientation (apparent shadow), we perceive the upper picture as a depression and the lower (which is actually the same picture rotated 180°) as a mound. Drawing: H. Kacher.

Figure 2.19. Depending on the orientation of the picture, we perceive one as a steep slope on the left terminating in a plain on the right, or a plateau on the left meeting a drop-off on the right. From Umschau in Wissenschaft und Technik (1972).

Figure 2.20. Spanish landscape, in a normal viewing position and rotated 180°. Again, we interpret the landscape completely differently due to our assumption that light comes from above. Photo: I. Rentschler from H. Schober and I. Rentschler (1979).

Key stimuli and releasers generally activate very specific behavior patterns, as for example those of escape, prey catching, courtship, or fighting. Conspecifics are senders of signals, which elicit quite diverse kinds of behavior. Of course, they do not send all their signals simultaneously. However, it does occur that releasers can activate opposing behavior patterns simultaneously, for instance, those patterns for seeking contact and those for defense. This often leads to conflicts.

Releasers can be imitated by models used in experiments. Male European robins react aggressively to the red breast feathers of rivals. The same reactions can be elicited by mounting a tuft of red feathers on a branch in the robin’s territory. Models can be used to increase the effects of a natural releaser and thus create a supernormal stimulus. Finally, a behavior pattern can be elicited by a number of separate characteristics of an object. When these key stimuli are presented individually, responses of a certain strength result. But when several such stimuli are presented simultaneously, their releasing effects can be additive (further elaboration on this topic, especially regarding experimental data, is found in Ethology: The Biology of Behavior).

What is the situation in humans? Can we also confirm a preset knowledge, a capacity of innate recognition?

Let us begin with the simpler processes of perception. Gestalt psychology has produced a wealth of interesting insights in this area. The experimental investigation of visual perception led to the formulation of various laws of vision, which in principle are universally valid. Various cultural influences, as far as is known, result in only minor changes. Furthermore, it was found that certain phenomena, such as Pragnanz (i.e., our preference for simple but meaningful figures, pp. 42, 46) or categorical perception, are “transmodal” in that they are found in other sensory modalities besides vision.

Experiments conducted by Gestalt psychologists were never done with visually inexperienced individuals. However, the fact that environmental data were in principle processed in identical ways everywhere (so as to result in similar illusions and misjudgments) suggests that innate programs are involved. This assumption is reinforced by the fact that visual illusions persist even in the face of contrary experience. If a moonlit sky is partly cloud-covered, we have the impression that the moon is moving across the clouds. We know, of course, that in reality the clouds are moving across the moon, but we do not perceive it as such. Our perceptual apparatus forces this illusion despite our knowledge to the contrary. Our perceptual mechanisms proceed from the fact that objects normally move across a stationary background, and this assumption has been proved to be accurate on earth. Animals and humans move against a stationary background, and it is essential for survival that moving objects be recognized as such without having to reflect on them, since they could be enemies or prey. In the case of the moon, in contrast, it is now the background (the clouds) that moves and not the object itself, and this leads to our false interpretation. The fact that we continue to be deceived supports our contention that we are dealing with a phylogenetically pre- 38 programmed perceptual process.

If we observe two equally long lines meeting at right angles (one vertically, the other horizontally), we tend to overestimate the length of the vertical one. If we look down from a 2-meter high wall, this distance appears to us longer than the same distance in the horizontal. This is important for a heavy, climbing mammal, because it warns the animal of the danger of falling and reduces the likelihood of it carelessly leaping down from a great height. G. J. von Allesch (1931) referred to the “non-Euclidean” structure of our spatial assessment of phenomena.

In the Miiller-Lyer illusion (Fig. 2.21A), the vertical with outward diverging lines appears to be longer than the other one. We persist in this perception despite our knowledge to the contrary. We estimate object size by its relationship to neighboring objects (Figs. 2.21B C, and D), which is probably related to our capacity for perceiving constancy (R. H. Day, 1972). We thus can recognize objects of equal size as such at varying distances.

Size constancy is based on several parameters. Our perception utilizes converging optical axes with binocular vision and accommodation. As we move our head, the apparent motion of an object against its background is used to determine the object’s distance from us, even if we use only monocular vision. Closer objects appear to move faster in the opposite direction than do distant ones (movement parallax). Binocular vision has the advantage of stereoscopic perception, enabling the retina to perceive three-dimensional objects in both the right and left eyes. Other criteria for depth perception include air opacity (illumination perspective) or albedo, linear (geometrical) perspective, and texture gradients.

Texture gradients can be used in two-dimensional drawings to give the impression of depth and thus an estimate of relative distances between objects in such pictures. Thus, the two identical human figures in Fig. 2.21C (C and D) appear different in size, because the upper person is perceived as further into the background. In contrast, the people in A and B also look approximately the same size (but are actually different) for the same reasons.

Geometrical illusions are basically distance illusions. The mechanisms which have evolved for the perception of object constancy can be deceived in artificially constructed situations. Other illusions operate in a similar way. Day summarizes this as a general rule as follows: “. . . any stimulus which serves to maintain the perceptual constancy of a property of an object as the visual representation of that property varies will, when independently manipulated with the retinal image not varied, produce an illusion” (R. H. Day, 1972, p. 1340).

It is not known which of these criteria are used as a result of individual experience and to what extent phylogenetic adaptations prepare us to perceive depth. Depth perception has been demonstrated in infants at an early age, and in some animals there is experimental proof that this capacity is innate.

If a table is covered with a thick glass pane projecting far beyond the table’s edge and under it lies a cloth with a checkerboard pattern stretching downward and spread out on the floor beneath the glass, freshly hatched chicks and newborn lambs will avoid walking across this visual cliff. E. J. Gibson and R. D. Walk (1960) placed 36 infants (ages 6-14 months) on a small cushion right at the borderline of the table and the visual “cliff’ and had their mothers call to them. Nine infants stayed on the cushion. Of the 27 who crawled to their mothers, 24 clearly avoided the drop.

If 8-week-old infants who cannot yet crawl are placed right over the visual cliff, their pulse rate slows; when they are back on the tabletop their pulse accelerates (J. Campos et al., 1977). Clearly, infants at this early age can perceive apparent depth differences. One would expect their pulse rate to increase, however, above the visual cliff, if the babies were afraid of being there. The decrease in pulse rate suggests that the new situation merely elicited heightened awareness by the infants and not fright. On the shallow side the infants were in a familiar situation whereas they had never before been above a visual cliff. These studies demonstrate that depth perception is present early in life and, as other investigations have shown, is probably innate in humans. J. Campos et al. (1977), on the other hand, consider that the fear of falling is acquired. Only one-third of the children in his tests, who had reached the crawling stage, avoided the visual cliff. The others crawled right over it when their mothers called to them. But this does not prove that the perceptual process involves individual learning, for a maturational process could have been involved.

Figure 2.21(A). The Miiller-Lyer illusion. Both verticals are the same length, but we perceive them as different.

Figure 2.21(B). Equality illusion. The central circle enclosed by smaller ones looks larger than an equally sized circle surrounded by the larger ones.

Figure 2.21(C). Size illusions created by the size of neighboring objects and their spatial configuration, illustrating their significance for size constancy perception: distance in twodimensional pictures is suggested by height of an object, size gradient, and frequency of nearby objects. These criteria determine an estimated distance by means of which we judge the height of an object. The human figures in A and B appear to be approximately equal in size despite their true discrepancy, because the smaller one is seen in its higher position in the picture and in the context of nearby objects. Size illusions arise when key objects of one size do not vary but the signals of distance do (as in C and D). Thus the higher human figure in C (and to some extent in D) appears to be much larger than the lower one, although they are identical. From R.H. Day (1972).

Figure 2.21(D). The Miiller-Lyer illusion is one of perspective. The left-hand figure suggests the far corner of a room and is perceived as having a higher vertical than the right figure, which looks like the near corner of a room. People living in rooms are more susceptible to the Miiller-Lyer illusion than those who do not. Appropriate experience thus reinforces a basically universal kind of visual information processing (see Fig. 2.22). From Schober and I. Rentschler (1979).

The contradicting results of the different experimenters find an explanation in the more recent investigations by N. Rader, M. Bausano, and J. E. Richards (1987) and J. E. Richards and N. Rader (1981). Infants in a walker fail to avoid the visual cliff. Infants who would avoid the visual cliff when crawling, will cross the visual cliff in a walker. When in a walker, the infant seems to act as if held and guided by a caretaker. Cliff avoidance of the infants was dependent on the age when the infants started to crawl. Babies who crawled prior to the age of 6.5 months crossed the cliff. They start with tactile orientation and continue to do so. In contrast, those infants who start to crawl after age 6.5 months are visually oriented from the beginning and respond to the visual cliff even though they have less crawling experience (N. Rader et al., 1987).

If we briefly project a single spot of light against a wall in a dark room and replace it by an identical spot displaced along the horizontal to the right we perceive the illusion of motion. Our built in hypotheses assume that the spot moved to the right. If an object disappears behind a screen, we still know that it is there. According to the classical theory, the baby learns this by manual exploration of what is hidden behind the screen. T. G. Bower (1971) covered objects in front of a baby with a screen for different periods of time. When he removed the screen and the object was still there the babies did not show any signs of unrest. However, if the object had disappeared, the infants appeared restless provided the time interval was not too long. In babies as young as 20 days old, the heart rate increased significantly when the object had disappeared. In further experiments, Bower found that 8-week-old babies anticipate that an object disappearing behind a screen, by its active movement, should appear on the other side. If it fails to appear or if it appears too fast the babies behave in an irritable manner. It does not matter, however, at this age, if the object changes. If a ball disappears behind the screen and a cube reappears, the baby is not disturbed as long as the movement pattern fits. The object identity might be learned.

Two-month-old infants can already recognize identical objects in various spatial positions and distances. If they are offered a cube measuring 30 cm/side at a distance of 1 meter and a cube 90 cm/side at a distance of 3 meters (thus with identical retinal image size), the infants successfully differentiated between the two cubes. The task consisted of working an electric switch in the pillow with their heads when the appropriate reinforcer was seen, for which the subjects were rewarded by the appearance of a person who smiled (T. G. R. Bower, 1966). If one conditioned the children with a 30-cm cube at 1-m distance as the positive stimulus, then they recognized it as the same object at the 3-m distance, even though the retinal image site differed.

Experience no doubt plays a role in depth perception and object constancy. Nonetheless we can assume that infants possess an innate capacity for a rough, approximate orientation.

The finding that similar illusions are experienced in different cultural groups is in favor of this interpretation, although the amplitude of the response varies due to local experience. The Miiller-Lyer illusion and the horizontal-vertical illusion have been verified in a number of different cultural groups (Fig. 2.22).

Inhabitants of open terrains are less responsive to the Muller-Lyer illusion and the horizontal-vertical illusion than those of urbanized environments where vertical and horizontal lines are more prevalent (M. Segall et al., 1966). This explains the difference in the graphs for Europeans and non-Europeans in Fig. 2.22. With respect to the horizontal-vertical illusion, the Banyankole are an exception. That perception is influenced by ecological conditions has also been shown by V. M. Stewart (1973). Urban blacks in Zambia were found to be more sensitized to the illusions than those living outside cities. No differences were found between black and white people living in cities in the United States.

Gestalt psychologists formulated a number of laws that operate for non-European as well as European cultures (S. Morinaga, 1933; T. Obonai, 1933, 1935; T. Obonai and H. Hino, 1930). According to the laws pertaining to figure and ground, a picture is organized into two components, a figure (in the foreground and sharply resolved) and a background (more diffuse). The recognition of the figure against the ground is the active process of our perception mechanisms, as illustrated by the Rubin cup. If the cup is white, we initially perceive the profiles, which are resolved as dark against a white background. If the cup is black, then it is the first to be perceived (Fig. 2.23). After a few seconds, however, we perceive the profiles by means of a shift of attention, which will be discussed later. Artist Maurits Escher uses this perceptual principle in many of his works.

Our perception organizes the incoming sensory data in such a way that we perceive wholes rather than isolated parts and that our perception tends toward the simplest form (principle of Pragnanz). Thus, two rectangles which overlap crosswise are perceived as a cross and not as five rectangles. The main laws by which this perceptual organization takes place are similarity, proximity, and closure. Similarity refers to the tendency to group like-stimuli, such as dots, together. According to the law of proximity, neighboring points or lines are joined into a unified figure sooner than distant ones (Fig. 2.24). If the far ends, of what appear to be converging lines, are joined in Fig. 2.24, an entirely new shape is discerned. Enclosed objects are perceived as figures (law of closure; Fig. 2.25). We also combine similar elements into a unified configuration (law of similarity).

The law of experience operates when we recognize known objects in accidental configurations (such as animal shapes in the clouds). I would add that this phenomenon involves more than just individual experience. Our tendency to phys- iognomize (to perceive specific expressions in random patterns) is probably based on innate releasing mechanisms (IRMs, p. 55). This is an example of a priori knowledge based on phylogenetic experience—the biases of our perception.

One characteristic of Gestalt perception of particular importance is the tendency toward Pragnanz: out of a mass of unordered, irregular formations we can recognize primary configurations because of their regularity and order (law of the good figure). Max Wertheimer (1927) found that if we view slightly asymmetrical or distorted figures, such as a triangle missing one comer, in a tachystoscope for fractions 42 of a second, we tend to perceive the objects without these irregularities. The missing comer of the triangle is replaced perceptually, and the asymmetrical shape becomes symmetrical. We not only even out irregularities, we also tend to exaggerate certain key characteristics of configurations. When subjects are asked to recreate from memory shapes seen previously, they tend to exaggerate certain characteristics or to make these more uniform than they were before (Fig. 2.26). A zigzag line becomes steeper when drawn repeatedly. In the reproduction of a given shape, the following tendencies occur: (1) symmetry increases; (2) the figure is simplified; (3) subdivisions are enhanced; (4) incompatible details are isolated; (5) borderlines are joined; (6) similar components are repeated; (7) oblique lines are straightened.

Figure 2.22. Frequency distribution curves showing the percentage of subjects susceptible to the MiiHer-Lyer (a) and horizontal-vertical (b) illusions as line lengths were changed. In the first example, most subjects perceive the line with outward diverging ends as longer. If the other line is lengthened, fewer people are responsive to the illusion. The same process occurs with the horizontal-vertical illusion. Initially the vertical line is perceived as longer (that is, when both are actually equal in length). If the horizontal line is lengthened, the percentage of people identifying the vertical as longer is reduced. The distribution curves in various cultures are similar but not identical. The Banyankole and Bete are African tribes (see text). (A) Solid line, Europeans (7V = 251); dashed line, non-Europeans (7V= 1103). (B) Solid line, Evanston (N= 198); dashed line, Banyankole (A = 261); dotted line, Bete (7V = 79). From M.H. Segall et al. (1966).

All these modifications increase order, simplicity, and completeness. The tendency for creating order is so strong that it will produce order even where none exists. W. Metzger spoke metaphorically of the “love of order of our senses.”

This love of order is reflected in children’s behavior, for they will arrange blocks on the basis of color even before they are able to speak; they correctly complete segments cut out of figures (Fig. 2.27), and protest when a missing piece is wrongly completed.

D. Dorner and W. Vehrs (1975) gave subjects the task of arranging red and green squares on a grid board so that they would present either a pleasing or not so pleasing arrangement. The experimental results yielded distinct differences between pleasing and displeasing arrays. The pleasing ones displayed crosses, parallel rows, and other geometrical figures (Fig. 2.28). Apparently we are satisfied es- thetically by discovering orderly relationships within originally disordered configurations.

Figure 2.24. Law of proximity. The lines closer together are combined perceptually and look like converging beams.

Figure 2.23. Rubin’s cup. The dark cup contrasts against its white background, and the two light profiles are only discovered later. If they were dark, the profiles would be seen first, as figures against a white background.

Figure 2.25. If we join the far lines together, they appear to be united configurationally (law of closure).

Figure 2.26. Leveling and exaggeration: (a) and (d) show slightly asymmetrical deviations. Reproducing them from memory will result in either symmetrical drawings (leveling) (b,e) or exaggeration of asymmetry (c,f). From S. Ertel (1981) after Ar- menheim (1956).

Figure 2.27. Tendency toward completion of shapes in the direction of more perfect figures. From S. Ertel (1981).

Figure 2.28. Displeasing (a) and pleasing (b) grid board configurations. The arrangement of field (b) exhibits various configurations of order. From D. Dbrner and W. Vehrs (1975).

Figure 2.29. The Necker cube (a) and the stairway illusion (b) can be seen to oscillate between alternative perspectives.

Figure 2.30. The automatic structuring processes of our perception. In 2- to 3-second intervals the perceived pattern changes; our perception interprets relations, discards them, and reinterprets, which causes the whole pattern to “simmer” from the competing interpretations. After J. Marroquin from D. Marr, 1982, p. 50.

The active performance of Gestalt perception becomes evident in a phenomenon called “reversible figures.” If we look at the Necker cube, we first see one of the squares as the front side of the cube and the other as the rear side. After 2 or 3 seconds, however, the rear square appears to become the front surface. Our perception is constructed in such a way as if we were asking, “What else can be seen here?” (E. Poppel, 1982; Figs. 2.29a, b). The same phenomenon of autonomic structuring processes of our perception can be observed in Fig. 2.30.

Our ability to abstract configurations is the basis of our capacity to categorize visual objects in the environment. We construct schematic representations, acquired schemata—of trees, houses, people, dogs, etc. Without this organizing ability we would be unable to cope with the environment. Small children utilize this capability when they say "Wow wow” to a dachshund, for example, a type of dog they have never seen before. Repeated perception of similarities permits the recognition of invariant structures and thus the formation of perceptive schemata.

In a remarkable investigation, S. Ertel has shown that this tendency toward Pragnanz also exists in the highest cognitive functions of humans; and it is even reflected in language behavior.

The organism begins with the phylogenetically programmed hypothesis that there are regularities in nature, and that they can be discovered (S. Ertel, 1981):

On all levels the organism expects regularities—permit me the comparison—like a spider waiting for flies in its web. Invariance is the primary hypothesis, which—from the viewpoint of perception in the narrow meaning of the term—is developed to a great extent prior to any previous experience. Perceptual Pragnanz or conciseness operates when there is no information to the contrary preventing the primary hypothesis to be used. Generally the invariance hypothesis is adequate for most experiences. The laws of vision, according to which objects are seen so redundantly under certain circumstances, lead generally to the best representation of reality (pp. 123-124).

This pressure to conform can also lead to errors. The geocentric world view is a classic example. “Disruption of configurations and liberation from the primary perceptual organization does not mean: the abandonment of the perceptual level (as some abstract artists do constantly), but rather: the recognition of disturbed planetary epicycles, small spots on the sun, irregular peaks and deflections in scientists’ measuring devices, and the searching out of asymmetries and anomalies, which may lead to the dissolution of some of the good old ideas and thus lead to a better understanding at a higher level” (S. Ertel, 1981, p. 124). K. Lorenz used to say that it belonged to a scientist’s virtues to be prepared to throw some pet hypothesis overboard each morning.

S. Ertel illustrates tendencies toward Pragnanz in language behavior with a number of quotations:

1. Mao Tse-tung

The world moves forward and the future is brilliant; no one can alter this general tendency of history.

2. Hitler

They will not conquer us militarily, economically or spiritually. Under no circumstances will they experience a German capitulation.

3. Communist Manifesto

To date, the history of all societies has been the history of class struggle.

4. Mohammed

Are not those who would make a distinction between Allah and his messengers and who say: we believe in some and not in others and want to choose an intermediate path between them: these are the true nonbelievers, and for these nonbelievers we have prepared horrible punishments.

These quotations vary in content but according to Ertel all utilize the same train of thought: world development cannot be stopped; the armies cannot be defeated; historical interpretation is fully valid; and man must heed all prophets without exception. The authors create a strict order in the realm of ideas that excludes everything that does not fit and which delineates the statement clearly and thus polarizes it strongly against the others.

For comparison, Ertel contrasts the above statements with those of weak Prag- nanz for each of the same thoughts. They conform more to the real world but are less easily remembered and concise:

1. Mao Tse-Tung

There is a certain progress observable in some parts of the world that will probably continue in the future, even if it is hampered by conflicts between nations.

2. Hitler

They will hardly defeat us militarily, at least initially. We can also withstand them economically for some time, and the German people also appear to have the necessary spiritual strength. As long as current conditions do not substantially change, we could hardly conceive of capitulation.

We are confronted here with two different styles of thinking, which Ertel calls A-style and B-style. They can be recognized lexically, for there are A and B expressions (Table 2.1). One can determine the degree of dogmatism in any body of text by searching out the use of A and B expressions in it.

In word-picture matching experiments Ertel required subjects to match Type A and Type B nonsense words with figures either showing or lacking Pragnanz. Subjects had no difficulty sorting Pragnanz-type words like “must” with Pragnanz- type pictures; and, conversely, they easily matched non-Pragnanz-type pictures with non-Pragnanz-type words like “can.”

The Dogmatism Quotient (DQ) reflects the Pragnanz level of cognitive activity that underlies the production of the amount of text being investigated.

A dogmatism index analysis of position papers and programs of German political parties displays a U-shaped curve from the left through liberals to the political right (Fig. 2.31). A remarkable fact is that the DQ is sensitive to certain effects (such as applause; see Figs. 2.32-2.34). It is worth noting that the DQ is sensitive to affective responses. It increases with the level of fear, anger, and aggression, but also with positive emotions (euphoria, being in love, and triumph). Fear limits vision and love makes blind. We will come back to these facts in the discussion of human rationality later on. For now, it will suffice to note that a number of elementary laws of perception transmodally influence the cognitive realm. 47

Table 2.1. A and B Expressions from Ertel’s (1981) DoTA Dictionary

A Expressions B Expressions
Category 1 Frequency duration and distribution Lasting, always, every time, never, each time, etc. Occasionally, in general, on occasion, usually, often, now and then, normally, mostly, sometimes, etc.
Category 2
Number and quantity
All, without exception, without limits, uniquely, whole, not in the least, every, everyone, etc. A number of, a little, some, certain, largely, mostly several, a large number, a pair, partly, etc.
Category 3
Degree and extent
Absolutely, entirely, totally, in principle, etc. Especially, a little, to some extent, highly, scarcely, etc.
Category 4
Certainty
Excluding, unquestionably, certainly, not in the least, naturally, etc. Apparently, presumably, scarcely, possibly, hardly, etc.
Category 5 Exclusion, inclusion, and applicability Alone, all else but, exclusively, one and only, either/or, neither/nor, solely, nothing but, etc. Among other things, on the other hand, beyond that, furthermore, including, for one thing, further, etc.
Category 6
Necessity and possibility
Must, have to, have to be, not permitted, cannot, cannot permit ourselves, not able, etc. May, can, allow, be in a position to, not needing to, not having to, etc.

Figure 2.31. Top graph: Political programs, including the post-1945 period. Lower graph: Political publications from the Weimer Republic. DKP, Communists; SPD, Social Democrats: FDP, Free Democrats and other liberals; CDU, Christian 48 Democrats; CSU, Christian Socialists. From S. Ertel, 1981.

Figure 2.32. The DQ in political speakers of the German Bundestag (Parliament) before and after applause. Numbers (4, 2, 1,2) are the fourth sentence, second sentence, first sentence, and second sentence, respectively. SPD, Social Democratic Party; CDU/CSU, Christian Democrats/Christian Socialists. From S. Ertel (1981).

Figure 2.33. The DQ curve of Adolf Hitler’s speeches. Early speeches, Reichstag addresses, and “other” speeches after 1933. From S. Ertel (1981).

Syphilis i nfeetion

Tertiary stage Somatic 1st

menigitic cerebral suffering Paralytic

syphilis depression bout

Remission

2nd

Paralytic bout

1861 1865

1870 1875

1880 1885 1889

Figure 2.34. The DQ curve for the life work of Friedrich Nietzsche. From S. Ertel (1981).

Perceptual constancies of space, size, and color are of particular importance. E. von Holst (1957) investigated their organization. The effect of spatial constancy is such that we perceive objects in space at rest, even when we turn our eyes or head, so that their images, in fact, move across our retina. This is achieved when the instruction for the eye to move is duplicated centrally and stored as an efferent copy. The resulting movement from the instruction is then reported by the eye as a reafferent signal, which, in turn, is compared with the efferent copy, and is canceled when both agree. Passive movement of the eye does not result in an efferent copy, since there is no instruction for the eye to move, therefore the displacement of the retinal image will appear as a movement of the object that in fact has not moved. We can easily convince ourselves of this by pressing a finger against the eyeball: objects in the visual field appear to move, and the passive movement of the eyeball is misinterpreted as a movement of the environment. Another experiment allows us to perceive the efferent copy: If we paralyze the muscles of the eyeball with novocaine and ask the subject to move the eye to the left, then the subject will subjectively experience that the objects in the visual field leap to the left. Since, in fact, neither the environment nor the eye moved in this case, the spatial perception must have a central origin, namely in the efferent copy of the instruction to turn the eye; since the efferent signal is not canceled by reafference, we erroneously perceive the movement (Figs. 2.35 A and B).

Size constancy operates on the same principle in which convergence and accommodation are achieved. Color constancy is based on the ‘‘assumption” on the part of the perceptual apparatus that the predominant color in a field of view is the color of the light source. The organism must perceptually extinguish this light in order to see objects in their true colors. Thus the color ‘‘white” was invented, which has no color value. The perceptual apparatus also provides each color with a complementary color, which is produced as a perception and with 50 whose help the undesired color can be canceled.

Intended i mpulse Objective event Perceived event
a. Visual di recti on unchanged X X Cross moves to right
Eye moved passively to left
b. Visual di recti on to left X
Eye is s1
X
:ati onary
Cross moves to left
c- Visual direction to right X
Eye mov
X
I M
es left
Cross stands still Eye movement and perception

Conscious

Intended impulse Perception

Unconscious

Command _____________________ ^Message

to move Efference copy i eyes <

Figure 2.35. (A) Experiments to determine the functional organization of spatial constancy. From E. von Holst (1955). (B) The functional organization of spatial constancy according to E. von Holst (1955).

This kind of information processing can also lead to erroneous interpretations. If a small grey field is viewed within a predominantly red area surrounding it, we perceive this grey as green, since our perception assumes that the light source is a red one. We create the green to reduce the excess redness, a phenomenon known as simultaneous contrast. Thus our perception has built-in assumptions based on phylogenetic experience and these are reflected in these kinds of perceptual inferences.

It was long believed that color categories were culturally acquired. Subjects from different cultures were presented with colors to name, and it was found that the same number of colors were not named in all cultures; often several colors were combined under one category. However, we also have general color concepts as “bright” or “colorful.” If, however, subjects were asked to arrange colors into categories, it was found that this arranging followed the same pattern across cultures. Even if a subject had no name for a particular color, similar colors were placed into the same categories (literature cited in P. Kay and W. Kempton, 1984). Thus color perception is not culturally determined; instead, the same color categories are perceived in all cultures.

Perceptual categories are also found in other sense modalities. Just as we arrange the continuum of lightwaves into classes of primary colors, we categorize acoustic impressions (Fig. 2.36). If a person hears a series of artificially produced sounds that change gradually from ba to pa, the person will hear only ba up to a certain point and thereafter pa, but never anything in between. All test subjects experienced the transition at the same point in the experiment, even those with different language backgrounds. Even 1- to 6-month-old infants hear in categories. We will return to this topic in the chapter on “verbal communication.”

Like color categories, temporal categories are also a product of the human brain (E. Poppel, 1983, 1984). The shortest detectable auditory time unit is three thousandths of a second. Events occurring within two thousandths of a second of each other are perceived as a single unit. For the visual system the data are different. Here, intervals from about twenty thousandths of a second on are experienced as distinct. However, when two events are separated by this interval, it is impossible to determine which of the two signals occurred first. At least thirty thousandths of a second must separate events for us to be able to place them in sequence. This holds true for visual, auditory, and tactile stimuli. According to E. Poppel the event identification system arises from a brain mechanism which functions like an oscillating system with a frequency of 30 Hz.

The experience of sequencing of events requires an additional mechanism that combines sequential events into perceptual configuration that we experience as “now.” This “now” has a duration of about 3 seconds. It is a universal, basic phenomenon of human temporal experience, and its length corresponds to the units of speech (p. 696). Thus, in Poppel’s formulation, the brain divides the continuum of speech into 3-second time units. This is also reflected in the duration of musical themes and the length of lines in poetry.

Metronome beats of equal volume are subjectively structured, for the perceived loudness fluctuates in 3-second intervals. Thus our perception in this case is certainly not “objective.” It orders, categorizes, and interprets the events.

Figure 2.36. The categorial shift from ede to ete. The graph shows ten vocal sounds with gradually increasing vocal onset time. At the vocal onset time of approximately 80 msec the utterance is perceived with the new quality ete. From W.J.M. Levelt (1987).

A comparable segmentation was found in movement patterns in four independent cultures (Europeans, Trobriand Islander, Yanomami Indians, and Kalahari Bushmen). The analysis of these documents of unstaged social interactions revealed a time constant of about 3 seconds. In this way, behavior becomes structured into units which fit the perceptive 3-second bias. And this is probably what is “meant” to be, since movements often serve communication (M. Schleidt et al., 1987).

K. R. Popper (1973, p. 165) is therefore correct in asserting that no sensory data or perception can exist that is not processed by some theory. However, he diminishes the significance of sensory data as the basis, and hence induction, when he states that: “The data are therefore no basis or guarantee for theories, and they are no more certain than any theory or ‘bias’ but are probably less certain. . . . The equivalents of primitive, uncritically accepted theories are contained in the sense organs and these have been less thoroughly tested than scientific theories. ...”

To this I would counter that the theories which are built into our perception have been more “comprehensively tested” over millions of years of evolution than scientific theories. Popper (1973, p. 108) states that “The natural laws are our invention, made by animals and man, genetically a priori, but they are not necessarily a priori valid. We attempt to ascribe them to nature.” Popper here follows Kant that human reason established these laws, imposed them on our “sensory swamp,” and only thereby created order in nature. This is no doubt true for the process of categorical perception, in which a continuum is arranged into categories by the perceptual apparatus. In general, the way we think and look at the world represents a reality that is valid within the average measuring range of the Mesokosmos toward which we are adapted—as Popper does emphasize elsewhere. K. Lorenz (1959, p. 263) comments follows: “It is as unlikely that the fins of fishes determine the physical properties of water, or that the eye determines the characteristics of light, as that the way we think and view the world has ‘invented’ space, time and causality.”

Perception and the motor apparatus form one functional system in whose development maturational processes play an important part.

Two-week old infants reach for visually presented objects. Hence, the expectation that visual entities can also be touched is already present. The reaction is still little differentiated, resulting in what C. Trevarthen (1975) calls “prereaching.”

Children make intentional grabbing movements before they are physically able to grasp objects by bringing their arms and hands together in front of the body. They have a significant tendency to perform these grasping movements more frequently when the object is of an appropriate size for grasping. If in a choice situation a ball of appropriate size and an oversized one are offered, infants make more intention movements toward the appropriate ball rather than the oversized one. This shows that grasping objects is coordinated by visual information about the graspability of the target object, which is already available to the child before it had any experiences with holding objects (J. S. Bruner and B. Koslowski, 1972).

Newborn infants turn their heads in the direction of a sound source and attempt to look at it, as if they “knew” that one could see the source of the sound. They do this according to an inborn central fixation program. Children blind from birth behave in the same way (D. G. Freedman, 1964). We will later consider the social significance of this reaction (p. 195).

Infants also want to focus and learn to bring into focus a blurred slide projected to them by sucking on a pacifier (I. V. Kalnins and J. S. Bruner, quoted in R. C. Hulsebus, 1973). Hence, children come into the world with the expectation that objects have sharply defined contours, and they need to create this condition when they do not see objects in focus. This can be accomplished by accommodation of the lens, but also by other behavior patterns.

T. G. R. Bower (1971) found that 2-week-old infants only reached for graspable objects and not for pictures of them. D. DiFranco et al. (1978) could not confirm Bower’s findings. In their studies, children reach for three-dimensional objects as well as for pictures. In principle, this does not alter the conclusion that children at an early age associate visual impressions with tactile expectations, as other studies have verified.

If a symmetrically expanding shadow or dark spot is projected onto a screen in front of a 14- to 20-day-old infant secured in a chair, then the infant interprets this perception as an object on a collision course with itself. The infant lifts an arm protectively before its face, turns away, and blinks. An asymmetrically expanding spot does not elicit this defensive response, since it is interpreted as a passing object (W. Ball and F. Tronick, 1971). Figure 2.37 depicts a variation of a study by J. Dunkeld and T. G. R. Bower (1976), which was repeated with slight modifications by A. Yonas et al. (1979). They found that blinking was a good indicator of collision expectation. Their test subjects blinked their eyes when objects moved toward them on collision course. This work, in principle, confirms the results obtained by Ball and Tronick.

Previously, developmental psychologists had maintained that the infant perceived various facets of reality separately but would not know that the tactile impressions, for example, are related to visual or other attributes of the object. It was held that the child learned these relationships primarily in the first two years of life, acquiring, among other things, object constancy and achieving (after

Figure 2.37. Procedure of shadow projection used by Dunkeld and Bower, with which the test infants were given the impression of an object moving (rotating) toward them. From J. Dunkeld and T.G.R. Bower (1976).

shape of 2-dimensional picture

J. Piaget’s theory) a new cognitive organizational level. The studies of T. G. R. Bower, W. Ball, and F. Tronick verify that integration capacity does not have to rest solely upon individual experience.

The interpretation of stimuli apparently proceeds on the basis of phylogenetic experience. It is certainly advantageous to avoid objects approaching rapidly without having to undergo the painful personal experience of a previous collision with them. The necessary “knowledge” for this adaptive response is contained in information-processing mechanisms as a result of phylogenetic adaptation. In this and similar cases, these adaptations are so structured that specific stimuli or stimulus configurations release specific motoric acts, that is, elicit specific behavioral patterns—in our example, defensive and avoidance behavior. These mechanisms are termed innate releasing mechanisms (IRM’s; N. Tinbergen, 1951).

They act like a stimulus filter, in that they only effect the release of certain behavior patterns when certain key stimuli are presented but remain impervious to other stimuli. They can be understood using a lock-and-key analogy. IRMs are not only specific to visual stimuli. If a newborn infant is touched at the corner of its mouth with a finger, the baby turns its head from side to side (search automism), and finally grabs the finger with its mouth to suck it. Targeted orientation toward the point of tactile contact can also be elicited (H. F. R. Prechtl, 1958; H. F. R. Prechtl and H. G. Lenard, 1968). Here a tactile stimulus is connected with a particular behavior pattern by means of an innate releasing mechanism.

IRMs have been investigated in animals both in model experiments and neu- roethological studies (J. P. Ewert, 1974a, b; F. Huber, 1974; other examples in I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1987). Many social responses of animals are mediated by such IRMs. Reciprocal adaptations between the sender and receiver of signals took place in such contexts. Signals evolved for various sensory systems (visual, auditory, olfactory, tactile, and even electrical). Expressive behavior patterns as well as morphological structures such as color patterns and manes serve this purpose. Signals that evolved to serve the specific function of communication are known as “social releasers.”

IRM mechanisms play an important role in human social behavior as well. If newborn infants hear a selection of tape recordings of the same loudness, one of them being of a baby crying, they will start to cry when they hear the recording of crying, but not when they hear recordings of other vocalizations (A. Sagi and M. L. Hoffmann, 1978). The sound of crying releases crying, a process known also as mood induction. The term “imitation” would be a poor choice here, for it suggests trial and gradual practice, but here we are faced with, as it were, preprogrammed response based upon an innate releasing mechanism. Visual perception studies have shown similar results.

A. N. Meltzoff and M. K. Moore (1977) discovered that 12- to 21-day-old infants are capable of imitating such facial movements as mouth opening, tongue extension, and lip protruding, as well as a number of finger movements (Figs. 2.38, 2.39). In a late study (1983a-c) they were even able to demonstrate this ability in the first 72 hours following birth. The investigations of J. Dunkeld (1978), S. W. Jacobson (1979), A. P. Burd and A. E. Milewski (1981), and J. Kugiumutzakis (1985) confirm these results. The latter found that eyebrow movements as well as mouth movements were responded to with similar expressions. T. M. Field et al. (1982) demonstrated that such an “imitative” ability is already present in newborns at an average age of 36 hours. They mimed expressions of astonishment (open mouth), pouting (protruding lips), and joy (smiling and wide open lips) and elicited the same expressions from the infants (Figs. 2.40, 2.41). M. Kaitz et al. (1988) demonstrated that newborns responded to tongue protrusion by reproducing this gesture but failed to imitate the facial expressions of happiness, sadness, and surprise.


Figure 2.38. The model and its imitation in a 2- to 3-week old infant. From A.N. Meltzoff and M.K. Moore (1977).

Figure 2.39.

A 19-hour-old girl imitates tongue extension and mouth opening. Photo: A.N. Meltzoff.


Some researchers, however, reported that they had no success at all eliciting such imitation in very young babies (M. Hamm, M. Russell, and J. Koepke, 1979; L. A. Hayes and J. L. Watson, 1981; H. Neuburger et al., 1983; B. McKenzie and R. Over, 1983; O. M. Ewert, 1983). A. N. Meltzoff and M. K. Moore (1983a, b, c) discuss possible reasons for this. In this context, experiments performed by A. Vinter (1985) are of particular interest. She offered the babies static and moving models. Only the moving models were imitated. If a person just stuck out his tongue without moving, the babies seemed to have difficulty in perceiving the stimulus pattern.

These results lead to the conclusion that infants are capable of responding to observed facial and hand movements with corresponding behavior, copying the behavior of the model in their own behavior with no need for prior learning experience. This would require the existence of structures that are, in principle, similar in function to IRMs.

A. N. Meltzoff and M. K. Moore (1983a, b, c) and T. M. Field et al. (1982) consider the possibility of this interpretation in their discussion but conclude that the concept of the IRM was not sufficient to explain the undoubtedly inborn capabilities of the babies. They felt that the responses made by the infants were not sufficiently stereotyped to correspond to this ethological concept. Furthermore, they believed that the behavior patterns normally elicited by an IRM should always be different from the behavior patterns eliciting them. This, however, is not always so. Fighting cichlid fish answer tail beats with tail beats and ram-butting with rambutting. The effect is, as it were, imitation. However, it is actually an IRM-mediated response. If we should find that the ability, i.e., to respond at once to perceived behavior patterns with the same behavior, included any nonspecific behavior patterns, including those which definitely have no signal function, then it would be appropriate to distinguish this inborn ability from responses to specific releasers. However, at this time, there is no need for this. The stimuli responded to are basic facial expressions and thus, in all probability, social signals. In any case, the performance presupposes projections from the sensory to the motor areas of the brain that allow perceived movements to be translated into an individual’s own movements.[19] This kind of primary imitation would be distinguished from learning through imitation, which involves trial and error corrections and extensive visual and proprioceptive movement control where one can trace a gradual learning process.


Figure 2.40. Facial expressions made by T.M. Field and their imitation. From T.M. Field et al. (1982).

Figure 2.41. Frequency with which infants imitated the three displayed lip movements. From T.M. Field et al. (1982).

The argument that the responses are too variable to be explained with the IRM concept does not hold true since ethological concepts do not exclude individual and situational variability. Responses are by no means all-or-nothing behaviors, although ethological terminology (‘‘fixed-action pattern”) has led to misunderstandings (p. 25). Imitative behavior of infants of the type discussed can be fully explained with the IRM concept. The objection that there are so many facial movements one could scarcely conceive of an IRM for each one of them is untenable. Why should the many innate mimic expressions not have corresponding recipient adaptations?

Be it as it may, our American colleagues have been most successful in demonstrating the existence of highly differentiated innate capabilities. This is a tribute to the experimental skill of the Americans and English, which seems to have its roots in the skillful experimental heritage of American behaviorism.

The surprising ability to respond to facial movements at such an early age contrasts with the findings of several investigators, who report a very slow development of face recognition in babies (R. Ahrens, 1954; F. L. Fantz, 1966; D. Maurer, 1985). In these experiments, however, the babies were shown static presentations of simplified drawings. The length of time the babies looked at these (fixation time) was taken as a measure of preference. Babies only started to look somewhat longer at 2-dimensional models of human faces at an age of 2 months. This led to the conclusion that the recognition of face develops slowly. I doubt, however, that these experiments are conclusive. One would need to work with presentations in which babies could also perceive movements to come to a valid conclusion.

Animal experiments with models performed by ethologists have revealed that some of the visual releasers are configurational, namely, based on very simple relational characteristics. These studies also demonstrated that a specific behavior is often elicited by a number of key stimuli, each operating independently, which when presented together as a whole elicit a summation effect. Finally, artificial “super releasers” could be fabricated (e.g., key stimuli simulating a sexual partner) whose effect was greater than the normal stimulus. This also occurs in humans. K. Lorenz (1943) noted that we respond to specific cues of infant characteristics with affectionate behavior. We perceive them as cute or cuddly, the latter expression referring to the parental care behavior released by those stimuli. Our stimulus “detectors” are adapted to certain anatomical proportions of infants. They have large heads relative to their torsos and relatively short extremities, something the doll industry has cleverly exploited.

More specific childlike features include a large forehead relative to the rest of the head and relatively large eyes compared to the small face. B. Hiickstedt (1965) tested 330 male and female subjects in various age groups with schematic profile drawings of children’s heads, in which the forehead arch and the height of the top of the head were varied. Cranial emphasis was preferred by female subjects in the 10- to 13-year-old age bracket and by males 18 to 21 years old. Female subjects preferred a supernormal (i.e., exaggerated) upper head even more than male subjects did. Hiickstedf s results (see Fig. 2.42) were verified by B. T. Gardner and L. Wallach (1965) and W. Fullard and A. M. Rieling (1976).

All these baby characteristics have been exaggerated by the model experiments of industry. Many dolls and comic book characters utilize these childlike proportions in an exaggerated way (Fig. 2.43A). The child appeal of Mickey Mouse has improved over the last 50 years. The size of the head and eyes and the curvature

Figure 2.42. Infant schema. Top: head with normal shape (left) and exaggerated shape (right). The latter drawing was preferred by 10- to 13-year-old girls and 18- to 21-year-old boys. Bottom: modifications of the frontal bone curvature (left) and the upper head height (right) in B. Hiickstedt’s study. Isolated exaggeration of both characteristics resulted in preference for the mean (but not maximum) proportional exaggeration. From B. Hiickstedt (1965).

Figure 2.43. (A) Infant schema. Walt Disney’s familiar creations: Donald Duck’s nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie; Little Eagle Eye; and Tramp. (B) The development of Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse during the 50 years of its existence. The size of the head in relation to the body increased and so did the relative size of the eyes, while the extremities got shorter and thicker. All these changes increased its appeal to the child. Courtesy Walt Disney Productions. (C) Infantilized depiction of women from a magazine, Picapiedras, Bogota.


of the cranial vault increased (S. J. Gould, 1980). The size of the eyes changed from 27 to 42% of the size of the head and the size of the head from 42.7 to 48.1% of the size of the body. The forehead curvature could not be changed, since the head was conventionally drawn as a circle. But the ears were moved backward, so that the distance nose-ears was increased. The teddy bear underwent similar changes. The extremities became increasingly shortened and the head curvature increased continually from 1900 to 1985 (R. A. Hinde and L. A. Barden, 1985). The stepwise improvement indicates selection by the market (Fig. 2.43B).

Whereas all these proportional characteristics mentioned so far did not arise in the service of communication (since they are one-sided and only effect the recipient), the chubby cheeks of infants and young children are social releasers serving as signals to release parental behaviors. Presumably the Corpus adiposum buccae strengthen the cheeks for sucking, but our most closely related primate species do not have this adaptation. Infants elicit friendly (smiling) behavior just by their appearance alone, even from strangers (M. Schleidt et al., 1981; C. L. Robinson et al., 1979). Other appealing child signals include behavior patterns. Thus, we consider their uncoordinated movements cute. Since a friendly mood also inhibits aggressive impulses, small children are often used in appeasement ceremonies (see greeting rituals, p. 493). The female face also exhibits childlike features, predisposed to eliciting caring behavior. This is often emphasized in drawings (Fig. 2.43C).

Courting couples display many childlike behavior patterns; people in sorrow also elicit comfort by this means. Such appeals to the infant schema are blended together in television commercials to make them appealing, not irritating, to viewers.

How strong the bias of our perception is, is shown even in our response to animals that possess some of these characteristics. It is clear that some kind of fundamental reaction is involved, for even very small children already cuddle simple infant-schema models such as teddy bears.

Difficulties arise in attempting to ascribe our highly emotional response to child characteristics by means of typical learning paradigms. The child pays for the care it demands through its charm alone. In all other respects its behavior is rather burdensome and irritating—it cries, is dirty, and needs much care.

As to the role played by IRMs in adults, we have to rely on circumstantial evidence. When adults respond to simple models with the appropriate predicted behavior, this may suggest that their reaction has been activated by IRMs. However this criterion alone is not sufficient to support this hypothesis. The Pragnanz tendency of perceptual mechanisms, the “cognitive love of order,” leads us to continuously formulate schemas (templates) and general concepts. When children draw trees, houses, and people, they continually schematicize and select out the generalized invariable elements of their subjects. This is, as mentioned earlier, achieved by innate perceptual mechanisms (p. 42). When we draw a caricature of a person with a few lines we schematize. We then emphasize certain characteristics of the individual in line with the tendency toward Pragnanz, and we simplify the whole. A caricature, however, must contain certain essential elements which cannot be omitted if the Gestalt is to be recognized. This is not strictly the case with the schematic representations to which we respond by means of innate releasing mechanisms. There are cases in which some basic configuration must be presented but, in many cases, components of the complex releasing situation 62 can be presented in isolation. For instance, the chubby cheeks of babies, the head-body proportions, and the face-head proportions each have a releasing quality by themselves, their effects being additive when they are presented together. This also holds true for other social signals where we can observe that the same characteristics are emphasized and exaggerated cross-culturally to indicate maleness or femaleness, and even features which in reality are not very noticeable (Figs. 2.44, 2.45).

Thus, in various cultures men’s shoulders are artificially emphasized with clothing or special adornments. This amounts to emphasizing a characteristic that is today no longer anatomically significant. If we analyze the hair growth patterns on a man we find that tufts of hair would develop on the shoulders if hair growth were increased to a significant length (P. Leyhausen, 1983). We can assume that males had more hair in earlier times than they do today and that the hair growth patterns served to enlarge the body outline of our upright ancestors (Fig. 2.44A). Hair growth declined during the course of hominization, but the receptor adaptation may have remained, which resulted in a preference and thus drew particular attention to this region of the body.

E. Jessen (1981) presented German and Tanzanian children of various ages with drawings of simple geometric figures (circles, squares) and placed triangles standing either on their base or apex. The children were asked to designate the figures as either male or female. Children 4 to 6 years old could not differentiate between them, but 7- to 16-year-olds could. The 7- to 12-year-old children interpreted characteristics in the figures that reflect individual, culturally determined experience: for example “skirt” as a female characteristic and “stout belly” as a male feature (for European subjects; Tanzanians chose other features). During puberty, however, there is a pronounced change in the character assessment. Pubertal children characterized soft and round features as females and angular, coarse, and rough ones as males. The most frequently selected choice for male was the triangle standing on its apex, probably an abstract exaggeration of the shoulder emphasis mentioned earlier. This transformation in perception occurred similarly in both European and Tanzanian subjects. Thus, through the development of new perceptual filters in both cultures, identical emphasis appears in the perception of people.

We must expect that some IRMs, such as those responding to attributes of sexual partners, mature functionally during the course of ontogeny. During this time, however, the organism is exposed to so many experiences that it is only possible in exceptional cases to experimentally demonstrate the existence of IRMs. So, in the case of responses to simple key stimuli and releasers that appear later in life, we have to depend mainly on circumstantial evidence. Subjects born blind but whose vision was later restored by cataract operations could offer possibilities for experimentation, however, only positive results of such studies would be significant. We know from animal studies that fully functional visual systems present at birth soon degenerate if they are not used (see Ethology: The Biology of Behavior).

The tactile drawings of subjects blind from birth are of particular interest in this regard. The subjects were given ball point pens to use for drawing, which, on a particular writing surface, left relief line traces. The way in which the lines were drawn reflected a number of universal perceptual principles. In drawing outlines of objects, the subjects accounted for the viewer’s position. Thus any parts of a structure that were hidden from the viewer’s visual field were not shown in the drawing; only the lines of the covering object were included. A table seen from the top was drawn as a rectangle (tabletop). From a side view, subjects drew two table legs, which is as the viewer would see them. The view from below showed four legs. The blind subjects also utilized convergence and thickness of lines to depict inclinations, proximity, and distance (J. M. Kennedy, 1980, 1982, 1983).

Figure 2.44. (A) Hair growth pattern in males: (i) front view; (ii) back view. If man had more hair, tufts would form on the shoulders. From P. Leyhausen (1983). (B) Examples of artificial shoulder emphasis in males: a Yanomami Indian with feather ornaments, a Kabuki actor (Japan), and Tsar Alexander II of Russia after a contemporary

64 portrait. Drawing by H. Kacher from I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt (1970a).

Figure 2.45. (A) Women’s fashions emphasize the hip region and often the buttocks as well: (a) Marie Antoinette, after an engraving;(b) Pauline Lucca, 1870, photo from M. Von Boehn. (B) Dancers from Kaleuna (Trobriand Islands). Their skirts emphasize the hip region. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt. 65

G. P. Sackett (1966) demonstrated perceptual maturation in rhesus monkeys. He raised the monkeys in social isolation in cages with nontransparent walls, which were built so that the monkeys could not even see their own reflections in the sides of the cages. Each day the monkeys were shown slides of landscapes, fruits, and other rhesus monkeys. After each projection of a slide the monkey could select the picture itself by activating a lever, which caused the slide to show for 15 seconds. Self-initiated projection could be repeated over a 5-minute interval. The monkeys soon learned how to use the lever, and the choices they made during self-projection were a good measure of preference for individual pictures. Initially, the monkeys showed a preference for seeing conspecifics, because the frequency of projecting other monkeys was higher than for other slide subjects. Furthermore, pictures of other monkeys elicited contact sounds, approach, and play invitation behavior. One of the slides showed a monkey in threat posture. This picture, too, was initially preferred along with the other monkey slides. However, after IVi months there was a drastic change in their responses to this slide. While the subjects continued to prefer other monkey slides, the picture of the threatening monkey produced defensive reactions and fright calls; the rate of viewing for this slide dropped substantially. Apparently the subjects now interpreted the monkey’s threat face and threat posture as dangerous, and since they had no prior social experience with conspecifics, this perceptual ability could only arise from the functional maturity of IRMs. The development of fear of strangers in humans is a closely related phenomenon (p. 170).

2.2.3. Templates

Templates are a special category of perceptual adaptations. They permit incoming signals to be compared with some built-in reference pattern and behavior to be adjusted appropriately. Thus chaffinches must learn their species’ song, but they know which song pattern is the correct one to imitate. If chaffinches raised in social isolation hear tape recordings of various bird songs, they choose their own species song as a model for learning (W. H. Thorpe, 1958). Their selection process is based on an innate template. Similar relationships hold in the swamp sparrow Melospiza georgiana, but here the template is tuned to recognize speciesspecific syllables. Swamp sparrow syllables can be used to compose a wide variety of songs; these are learned. But songs composed of alien species’ syllables were not accepted by the swamp sparrows even if they produced a song corresponding to the pattern of the swamp sparrow song (P. Marler, 1976, 1978). For swamp sparrows then, the template for the recognition of syllables is a phylogenetic adaptation, but the template of the entire song must be acquired through learning. This happens before the sparrows are actually able to sing. If they are isolated after acquiring the template, then they learn their song later on the basis of this acquired pattern. They must hear themselves vocalize; if they are deafened they develop atypical songs.

It is likely that norms for our human behavior are also laid down in comparable 66 neuronal structures. As templates they determine what is right or wrong, good or bad or, in other words, “expected behaviors.” The universality of certain behavioral norms expressed in the widely recurring themes reinforcing the “right” social conduct and manifesting themselves as attitudes even against the strongest teaching attempts to the contrary indicate that some of these templates are innate. Deviation from the norm makes humans feel uneasy, while conformity elicits satisfaction. M. Gruter (1979, 1983) suggests that brain amines (endorphins) are responsible for this.

2.2.4. Motivating Mechanisms, Drives, Biological Rhythms

Man, like every other animal, is subject to changing moods, which are not always induced by corresponding fluctuations in the environment. Motivating mechanisms ensure that we do not wait passively for stimuli in order to respond. They create a specific behavioral preparedness we call “moods” in which we actively seek out stimulus situations that permit the performance of specific behavior patterns. When we are hungry, we search for food; when thirsty, we search for water. If we are bored we are driven by curiosity to seek entertainment. Our senses respond selectively to specific stimuli depending on the mood we are in at the time.

This searching for releasing stimuli has been known as “appetitive behavior” since the time of W. Craig (1918). Once a hungry individual has found food, various behavior patterns run their course, which are concluded by the final consummatory act of feeding. Often, the individual will experience many different behaviors before reaching the final consummatory act. The performance of a behavioral sequence leads to satisfaction of the specific need and in animals and humans a change of mood has taken place as a result. Many disparate mechanisms combine to achieve this change. The individual often causes changes in the environment through its actions, and thus a consummatory situation is achieved. Feedback from internal receptors are another means of inducing a change in appetence—so are hormonal changes. Most interesting of all, but least understood to date, are changes in mood brought about by changes within the central nervous system, in the sense of a discharge of a reaction by performance of a particular consummatory act.

The mechanisms underlying hunger and thirst have been studied in depth. Sensory cells measure the blood sugar level, that is, the osmotic value of tissue fluids. Deviations from the norm release behavior that finally restores physiological equilibrium or homeostasis. But even before this is accomplished the individual ceases eating or drinking. Eating, drinking, and stomach distention are registered and then hunger or thirst are turned off, preventing excessive consumption. Time is required for homeostasis to be restored, since nourishment has to be resorbed. But, if within a certain time, physiological equilibrium has not been restored, the appetitive behavior will be instigated anew. If the glucose receptors of the hypothalamus are destroyed, mammals overeat, their hunger continuing unabated (literature in I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1987).

Not every appetitive behavior is motivated by physiological disequilibrium. The sexual drive, for instance, has an entirely different motivational basis. Hormonal influences produce a lasting readiness for sexual activity. An oscillating sexual motivation determined by external stimuli, internal sensory stimuli, and central nervous contingencies is superimposed on this readiness. In man the decline in the sexual drive after orgasm is in part (but not exclusively) determined by the fullness of the seminal vesicle; but this is certainly not the only factor involved, because there are men who can experience an orgasm without an ejaculation. Women, of course, always experience a nonejaculatory orgasm, but the neuroethology of the female orgasm has not been closely studied.

Many vertebrates exhibit, on occasion, a distinct appetence for fighting, and this has led to the postulation of an “aggressive drive.” Internally, readiness for aggressive behavior is linked in the human males, among other things, to the androgen hormone level. Both performance of the behavior as well as achievement of the final consummatory act reduce aggressive appetence (p. 367).

Again different is the physiology of curiosity. We are, without doubt, highly inquisitive beings, actively searching for new information. Entire industries are based on selling us news which we basically do not need at all. Newspapers, magazines, television, and radio ensure that we do not become bored with life. A tourism industry grossing billions is quite successful in luring us to travel to far off lands. This industry is responsive to the human need for new experiences and change. However, we do not know in detail how the curiosity-motivating mechanisms are constructed. However, it is certain that the inquisitive person does not seek physiological equilibrium, but stimulation and excitement, nourishment for the imagination. Once his need is satisfied, he seeks rest. M. Holzapfel (1940) was, to the best of my knowledge, the first to suggest that there is also appetence for rest and quiet.

The discovery of a neurophysiological basis of motivation was of prime significance for the development of ethological theory. Konrad Lorenz saw long ago, that animals have an internal need to carry out specific behavior patterns. In extreme cases the drive can become so strong that it will be released without an adequate releasing stimulus, so that a behavioral sequence can even occur as a vacuum activity. From these observations, Lorenz developed the theory of centrally produced action-specific energy, which would build up and later have to be discharged. Interestingly enough, he initially considered innate behavior patterns as chain reflexes. Only Erich von Holst’s work caused him to completely reject the reflex concept. Von Holst showed that fully deafferent eels[20] swim with perfect coordination, demonstrating a neurological basis for spontaneous locomotion. Automatically active groups of motor cells (the so-called automatisms) produced spontaneous impulses and coordinated them centrally so that the appropriate impulse patterns reached the appropriate muscles. Since then such central generator systems have been discovered for a whole series of behavioral patterns (literature cited in J. C. Fentress, 1976; E. R. Kandel, 1976; G. S. Stent et al., 1978; C. R. Gallistel, 1980; E. Delcomyn, 1980; G. Hoyle, 1984).

It is well-founded that even our need for locomotor activity (running, swimming, walking) is based on the spontaneous action of groups of motor neurons in the central nervous system. In other words, this activity is neurogenically motivated. In animals many innate behavior patterns are probably so motivated as well. The classic example suggesting this is provided by the starling that Lorenz kept as a pet. This well-fed bird, lacking any opportunity to hunt, flew up from time to time, snapped at a nonexistent object, flew back to its perch, executed the killing motion, and then swallowed. Because of the lack of opportunity to perform these movements in their natural context, they occurred as a “vacuum activity.” There are many other examples of vacuum activities, and some have been observed in mammals (P. Leyhausen, 1965). These activities are not involved in restoring homeostasis.

Even learned behaviors can develop their own appetence (motivation, e.g., skiing). This is not surprising, since automatic motor cell groups also underlie acquired behavior patterns. What distinguishes them from fixed-action patterns are the new stable phase relationships between the automatisms that have arisen as a result of learning processes.

The phenomenology of excitatory buildup and abreaction (discharge) is well known, but its physiology is not yet fully understood. There are indications that the metabolism of cerebral amines may play a key role. We know that specific transmitter substances collect in submicroscopic vesicles near the synapses (the sites where two nerve cells connect). The transmitter substances created by the presynaptic cell will be released spontaneously or upon stimulation into the gap between the synapses. They occupy receptors on the postsynaptic cell membrane. Each neurotransmitter molecule, according to the lock-and-key model, has a specific equivalent molecule at the synapse of the postsynaptic cell. The electrical characteristics of the postsynaptic cell membrane change when these two molecules join, a change that either raises or lowers the probability of an electric discharge at the postsynaptic cell. Thus neurotransmitters can either inhibit or facilitate cell activity and thus control activity.

Neurotransmitters are not only produced within the nerve cells but also in the dendrites and other sites. Adrenaline is an example of this type of transmitter. It is produced as a transmitter by some nerves but is also transported to the brain by the bloodstream and acts as a neurohormone at this site. The most important neurotransmitters of the brain are the catecholamines (epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine), the endorphins (endorphin, enkephaline), serotonin, and the amino acids 7-aminobutyric acid (GABA), glycine, and glutamic acid. Some 60 neurohormones and neurotransmitters have been identified, and it has been shown that certain of these predominate at specific brain sites. Thus serotonin is concentrated in the Raphe’s nucleus in the brain stem, norepinephrine in the blue nucleus of the brain stem, and dopamine in the black substance and the ventral crest of the mesencephalon.

Serotonin has both excitatory and inhibitory functions. It is involved in circuits mediating sleep and emotional arousal and inhibits aggressive behavior in rats. Accordingly, a decrease of the serotonin level leads to increased aggression. This seems also to be the case in man (L. Valzelli and L. Morgese, 1981). High-ranking vervet monkeys are characterized by high blood serotonin levels. If one keeps high-ranking individuals in isolation, the blood serotonin levels decrease to the serotonin levels of low-ranking individuals. If high-ranking isolates are permitted to see a low-ranking individual through a one-way mirror, these monkeys threatdisplay. However, the lack of response by the low-ranking monkeys will cause the levels of serotonin to decrease further in the high-ranking individuals. Only if he can observe the effects of his display will the level of blood serotonin rise. Thus, social behaviors have their physiological repercussions (M. T. McGuire and M. J. Raleigh, 1986).

The catecholamines are “energizers.” They increase arousal (drive induction) and act as incentives for learning. The endorphins, on the other hand, reduce arousal (drive reduction) and seem to act as a satisfier. Both serve rewarding functions (L. Stein, 1980). Endorphins (brain opioids) suppress pain and induce states of comfort and relaxation. Isolation-induced stress of young animals and of adults in gregarious species can be soothed by drugs, which promote endorphin synthesis in the brain. Drugs which inhibit the synthesis, in contrast, cause an increase of stress vocalizations (J. Panksepp et al., 1978).

GABA is the main inhibitory transmitter of the brain and glutamic acid is probably its principal excitatory neurotransmitter.

Advances in the chemistry of the brain lead to the discovery of the receptors for drugs like opium, heroin, and valium, which, in turn, lead to the search for the natural substances that normally activate these receptors. The catecholamines were found to be those for which cocaine and amphetamine act as a drug substitute; endorphins (opioid peptides) were found to be “endogenous morphines”—the body’s own “narcotics.” Rapid advances are being made in the whole field of brain chemistry. For reviews see M. Angrick, 1983; K.G. Bailey, 1987; R.C. Bolles and M.S. Faneslow, 1982; A. Herz, 1984; M. Konner, 1982; J. Panksepp, 1981, 1986; J. Panksepp et al., 1978; V.P. Poshivalov, 1986; M.R. Rosenzweig and A.L. Leiman, 1982; S.H. Snyder, 1980; K. Vereby, 1982).

Research on biological rhythms has provided excellent examples of endogenous motivation. Many organisms display activity fluctuations within a 24-hour rhythm. A large number of studies established that the regular alternation of periods of wakefulness and rest is determined by endogenous factors, known as internal clocks, which correspond approximately to the 24-hour rhythm. The alternating periods are brought into phase with the normal day by means of external time cues (Zeitgeber), for example, light-dark periodicity. Organisms kept under constant conditions will show a periodicity in their activity, whose cycle approximates a 24-hour period. We speak therefore of a “circa diem” or circadian rhythm (see J. Aschoff, 1981, and E. D. Weitzman, 1982 for additional references). The exclusion of external time cues results in a free-running activity period that deviates from the natural circadian cycle, but which can be brought back into phase by reintroducing external time cues. Chicks incubated and maintained after hatching under constant conditions and living without external time cues show circadian rhythms. Their internal clock is already present as a phylogenetic adaptation.

Humans also have circadian rhythms for sleeping and waking, changes in body temperature, potassium excretion, and many other processes (Figs. 2.46, 2.47).

Physicochemical and psychic states change during the course of the day, so that drugs can have differing effects at different times, an important factor for chemotherapy.

People kept under constant conditions show a periodic change between the states of sleep and waking, this period being usually somewhat longer than the natural day. Interestingly enough, various physiological processes have their own circadian rhythms. Body temperature, for example, is regulated by an oscillator with a shorter period than the one controlling the sleep-wake cycle. Therefore, under constant conditions internal desynchronization arises (Fig. 2.48) that is subjectively felt as a sense of discomfort (J. Aschoff and R. Wever, 1980, 1981; R. We ver, 1978).

Newborns are initially polyphasic. P. Stratton (1982a, b) noted a 40-minute cycle of vocalization in a 1-day-old infant. J. N. Mills (1974) raised infants under relatively constant conditions (continuous light). After 8 weeks the subjects developed a circadian rhythm. This started off asynchronously with the natural day 70 and showed a free-running circadian rhythm. Such patterns are also seen under normal conditions. The beginning of the sleep period shifted daily, thus indicating the presence of a rhythm of approximately 25 hours (N. Kleitman and T. C. Engelmann, 1953; N. Kleitman, 1963). There are, however, also cases of shorter periods (Figs. 2.49, 2.50).

Figure 2.46. Circadian rhythms of several variables, measured on a 31- year-old male subject living in standardized conditions under a strict 24-hour routine. After R.A. Wever (1978).

Grip strength

Time of day (hours)

Figure 2.47. Circadian rhythms of three variables, measured in several test groups living in identical conditions to the subject in Fig. 2.46. From J. Aschoff and R.A. Wever (1980).

Figure 2.48. Example of internal desynchronization. In the test situation, a person living in a bunker under constant conditions without time cues first has a combined free- running rhythm in body temperature and wakefulness of 25.7 hours. From the 14th day onward, the two processes desynchronize and become independent of each other, temperature developing a 25.1 cycle and the sleep-wake cycle 33.4 hours. From R.A. Wever (1975).

In addition to circadian and the less studied ultradian rhythms, seasonal periodicity is also present in human behavior, which J. Aschoff (1981) has shown for suicide, mortality, and conception.

2.2.5. Emotions

Behavior and perception are accompanied by subjective experiences we call feelings, mood changes, or emotions. Both behaviorists and ethologists have avoided dealing with such subjective “accessory phenomena.” This is reasonable in animal studies, but not in human studies. We can interview people and obtain statistically analyzable data on their experiences. One can discuss feelings or investigate relevant literature on such studies and thus draw appropriate conclusions about human emotional responses. We find, for example, that all cultures identify the same kinds of emotions: anger, hatred, love, jealousy, envy, fear, a bad conscience, to name but a few. This is noteworthy, because we could not have taught each other all these emotions. We cannot learn the subjective correlates to specific behavior or perceptions; what we learn is the object of the hatred or love and not the emotion itself. We can talk to others about our emotions, and the fact that we can communicate about emotions presupposes a shared biological basis.

Emotions may derive their origin in programmed neuronal connections within 72 the visceral-limbic system. We can obtain data on the functional operation of this emotive circuitry from introspection and responses from test subjects (J. Panksepp, 1982), relate them to concrete behavior, and thus infer the relationships between the emotions, which is useful in forming further hypotheses (see also R. Plutchik, 1980; C. E. Izard, 1971).

Figure 2.49. Longitudinal observations in a human infant on the development of a 24-hour periodicity while sleeping and awake. After a polyphasic start a free-running circadian rhythm develops (between the sixth and sixteenth days), this finally synchronizing with the natural day. From N. Kleitman and T.C. Engelmann (1953).

Subjective experiences correspond to biochemical processes in the brain (see also pp. 69, 79). Social facilitation is basically associated with the activation of cerebral chemical processes underlying emotions. If we perceive someone smiling, cerebrochemical processes are presumably activated, these inducing a friendly mood and smiling in response. The same is true of crying, a process which activates sadness and crying in sympathy. Social signals, such as facial expressions and vocalizations, trigger chemical processes that cause us to reflect the same emotions and expressions as those we perceive from the social partner. M. R. Liebowitz (1983) has published a number of interesting speculations about the brain chemistry of love. The study of the biochemistry of emotions is still in its infancy and it is no doubt a highly promising one (D. M. Warburton, 1975).

Figure 2.50. Longitudinal observations in circadian rhythm development of the sleeping and waking periods of three children with self-selected daily schedules. Note the durations of individual circadian fluctuations. After T. Hellbriigge (1967).

2.2.6. Learning and Learning Dispositions

Most animal organisms can modify their behavior adaptively through individual experience: they learn. The learning capacity of various species is not just based on a general ability to learn but also on what is learned and when learning takes place. Animals learn preferably that which contributes to their fitness, and this varies from species to species, as do their innate learning dispositions. Initially behaviorists were not aware of this fact; only much later did researchers like K. and M. Breland (1966) acknowledge the presence of species-specific learning dispositions.

Classical learning theory distinguishes mainly between two types of learning: “classical conditioning” or “conditioned reflex type I” and trial and error learning (“instrumental” or “operant” conditioning, also known as “conditioned reflex 74 type II”). If a neutral stimulus immediately precedes a stimulus that releases a specific reaction, eventually the previously ineffective stimulus may release the response. Thus if a dog is shown a piece of meat, it salivates (unconditioned stimulus: unconditioned response). If a bell is sounded, however, just before the meat is presented, the dog associates the bell signal with subsequent feeding, and after a number of paired trials starts salivating at the sound of the bell alone. An initial perception is followed by a positive experience, and this leads to the signal activating specified behavioral patterns. I. Pavlov worked with restrained dogs that could not do much more than salivate. He spoke of conditioned reflexes. If he had worked with unrestrained animals, he would have seen that he had actually activated an entire repertoire of appetitive behavior for food searching and intake. B. Hassenstein (1973a) updated the terminology to “conditioned appetence.”

Negative experiences evoke specific aversive behavior: if a painful stimulus such as an electric shock is preceded regularly by a previously neutral signal, the latter will subsequently elicit the fear and escape reactions associated with the shock. This is negative conditioning or “conditioned aversion” (B. Hassenstein, 1973a).

The operant conditioning processes which arise from the perceived changes brought about by acting on the environment, must be distinguished from associative learning based on perception coupled with positive or negative experiences. Man and animals actively experiment by trial and error and learn from the success of their performance. In this way, new uses of already existing behavior patterns or even new movement coordinations will arise. An animal conditioned to open its cage by pressing a lever so as to free itself or to obtain a food reward will retain this behavior, and systematic reward parameters can enable the experimenter to link a chain of behavior patterns into a highly complex sequence.

B. F. Skinner developed a high degree of skill at conditioning, e.g., by teaching doves to play ball games. W. Verplanck told me that his students conditioned professors by systematically reinforcing specific behavior patterns. If one of the professors was accustomed to placing a foot on a chair during a lecture, the students increased their apparent attention to his discussion. Female students would inconspicuously raise their skirts just above the knee. If the lecturer left the chair, the students feigned less interest and the skirts were lowered a few inches. Soon the lecturer was standing with one leg on the chair, and finally climbed up on it. Another professor who continually changed his position during lectures was conditioned with similar tactics to prefer a particular part of the room and finally to deliver his talk from one corner of the lecture hall.

When negative experience follows some behavior pattern the behavior is extinguished. This is called “conditioned inhibition.” The basic learning processes involved are shown below (Table 2.2) (after B. Hassenstein).

Table 2.2. Elementary Learning Processes from the General Concept “Learning by Experience”

___________________ Learned___________________

Type of experience___________ Releasing stimulus situation_____________ Behavior____

Reward Conditioned appetence Conditioned action

Punishment Conditioned aversion Conditioned inhibition

According to E. von Holst (1939), new motor coordinations arise through a new arrangement of central automatisms which enter into new stable phase relationships. They form a new, transformable movement configuration. Acquired behavior patterns are form constant; this is the reason that signatures can be used in identification (p. 25). Sensory feedback from the executing organs is not always necessary to form these new phase relationships. Rhesus monkeys confined to a chair learned to reach toward a cylinder at one location with a fully deafferentated arm in order to shut off an electrical shock announced acoustically (E. Taub et al., 1965). They could not see their hands during the training phase or during the test. Von Holst indicated that it is not always advantageous to practice the components of a new motor sequence individually. This would necessitate that, for each learning step, the phase relationships present between the motor cell groups must be interrupted and rearranged. To what extent this rule holds true remains to be tested. It is also conceivable that already learned components can be integrated to form new and more complex behavior patterns.

Not all motor learning involves integration. Through a detachment process, behavior can be reduced to smaller units, this being a prerequisite for their voluntary availability (Section 8.1). The development of directed grasping from reflexive grasping is an example of this kind of “differentiation.”

Normally an animal’s behavior is modified on the basis of individual experience so as to increase the animal’s chances of survival. Such behavioral changes presuppose the presence of special phylogenetically developed, genome-coded programs that prepare the individual for changes in its surroundings.

Generally, in the formation of a conditioned appetence or aversion, an immediately preceding stimulus is associated with the conditioned stimulus. We mentioned the pairing of the stimuli of food and bell, whereby the bell must sound just prior to food presentation in order to be associated with it. If the bell is sounded afterward it is not associated with the presentation of food. The organism is operating with an if—then assumption, associating cause and effect on the basis of phylogenetic experience. When two events occur simultaneously as described above, we tend to assume a causal relationship between them. E. R. Guthrie’s (1952) contiguity theory assumes that everything which is linked temporally and spatially becomes associated. This, however, is not always the case. Innate programs provide the basis for other causative linkages. J. Garcia and F. R. Ervin (1968) evoked physical nausea in rats using x-ray radiation. This nausea, however, was not associated with the acoustic and optical signals present at its onset. In fact, the test animals later responded by not eating foodstuffs which they had consumed 1 to 2 hours prior to the test (see also J. Garcia et al., 1968). Humans also associate nausea with prior food intake and develop the appropriate aversions. Once again a predisposed knowledge based on phylogenetic experience determines our concept of causality. There are various programs for causal linkages and thus different forms of the causality concept. What is associated with what for reinforcing or extinguishing behavior is programmed by species-specific learning dispositions.

Originally it was assumed that every stimulus associated with the fulfillment of physiological needs (hunger, thirst, sexual requirements) would act as a positive reinforcer. Later it became evident that there are many other needs whose fulfillment would be reinforcing.

Specific reactions such as digging and standing upright can be reinforced in 76 hamsters using food as a reward, while other responses, such as territorial marking, facial grooming, and body care behavior in contrast, are suppressed by the same experimental procedures (J. S. Shettleworth, 1975).

In humans learning is also induced by curiosity (p. 580) or the challenge of solving a task. This holds true even for babies. If a buzzer is sounded when an infant turns its head to the right, it quickly learns to make this movement, but as soon as it realizes what the task is, it loses interest. When the program is changed, however, and the buzzer sounds when it turns its head to the left, its interest is reawakened until it has recognized the regularity of this process. A change in task will sustain interest (T. G. R. Bower, 1977; H. Papousek, 1969; E. R. Siqueland and L. P. Lipsitt, 1965). It is rewarding and apparently enjoyable for an infant to cause a reaction or activate something. A child smiles more when it has learned to make a mobile move through the performance of some learned task than if the mobile moves by itself. This has been verified even in 2-month-old infants (J. S. Watson, 1971, 1972, 1979; J. S. Watson and C. T. Ramsey, 1972).

At a very early age, babies recognize smiling and other forms of friendly attention, such as encouragement and praise, as rewards. They can be utilized as positive reinforcers. The expectation of being praised, however, may be innate, because disappointment when such expectation is not fulfilled can be observed even in small children.

Punishment does not always extinguish behavior. Some actions can be inhibited through punishment, while others are enhanced. The effect of punishment varies between and even within a species depending on the motivation involved. If a rooster is punished with an electric shock every time it displays, it will stop displaying; a conditioned extinction has been developed. If the same rooster, however, is punished each time it shows submissive behavior, then this behavior is reinforced, and the rooster becomes more and more submissive. The function of these responses are obvious. Submission is a response to punishing stimuli emanating from conspecifics. Through submission, continued maltreatment is avoided. Similarly, children maltreated by their mothers do not always show avoidance reactions. In contrast, they are, as a rule, strongly bonded to their mothers. Chicks, ducklings, and rhesus monkey young will follow their mothers even when they are punished for doing so (D. W. Rajecki et al., 1978).

This behavior is adaptive under natural conditions, because when in fear or pain it is best to seek the protection of the mother. In animals, it is improbable that the mother herself should be the source of pain, and even in such cases, the seeking out of her protection is useful as a submissive appeal. The youngster would certainly die if abandoned. Adult baboons seek out higher ranking group members when they are frightened, even if they are the cause of their fear. We know from human behavior that fear evokes the desire for a strong, guiding personality. Bonding through fear is used advantageously in dictatorships (I. Eibl- Eibesfeldt, 1970a).

Fear not only induces infantile behavior patterns associated with appeals for sympathy, but also induces a childlike readiness to accept and learn. Thus adults in fear are more amenable to change their beliefs or ideologies. When people are brainwashed, a conversion by means of fear takes place. Timid behavior patterns, however, will hardly be extinguished by punishment.

Dogs punished by their trainers are more strongly bonded to them than those that are handled kindly (A. E. Fisher, 1955). Objects offered to young animals as surrogate mothers are accepted even when they deliver punishing stimuli. Chicks that had been hit and knocked over by an imprinting object followed it particularly closely. Young monkeys even accepted surrogate mothers that punished them for so doing by expelling a draft of cold air (L. A. Rosenblum and H. F. Harlow, 1963). Juveniles of monkey mothers that had been brought up in isolation and that were mishandled by these mothers displayed a stronger preference for them than the young of a control group (B. Seay et al., 1964).

The presence of the mother or surrogate mother provides the young with security. Hen chicks peck at foreign objects or unfamiliar conspecifics more vigorously in the presence of the imprinting object than when this is absent. Young rhesus monkeys are less anxious in strange surroundings when they have some imprinting object with them (even a towel; D. K. Candland and W. A. Mason, 1968). A badger I raised quickly calmed down in unfamiliar surroundings when I held an object with its own scent marks in front of its nose (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1950).

The human mother is undoubtedly a source of comfort to children and here, as well, it is known that abused children generally have a very powerful bond with their parents and protest, to the amazement of the authorities, when they are removed from their care and placed in a foster home. D. W. Rajecki et al. (1978) found this surprising, and felt that the ethological statement that a child is adapted to its mother had to be revised:

Ethological theory emphasizes that infant behavior systems have been shaped by the ordinary expectable environment and depend on that environment for their functioning, yet infants of many species form bonds to objects not typical in any species environment, or even to sources of maltreatment, (p. 417)

Elsewhere they write:

In terms of the behavior of social objects, can we possibly view abuse or maltreatment as constituting part of an ordinarily expectable environment? These conditions hardly seem conducive to the survival of the offspring, yet infants do become attached to objects that severely maltreat them (p. 417).

To that we may respond that child abuse is relatively uncommon. Furthermore, throughout the entire course of history, a child has had no other choice than to stay with its biological mother. Certainly, a child that avoids its own mother out of fear would hardly have any chance of survival.

In humans, fear evokes infantilization, which has the fatal tendency of making them attach themselves in blind trust to leaders offering security (p. 184).

M. E. P. Seligman (1971) promoted a preparedness theory of phobia, which postulates that humans are biologically prepared to learn to fear certain objects and situations which are threatening to survival. Rapid acquisition, irrationality, and resistance are the main characteristics of this type of learning. We seem indeed to learn very fast to avoid snakes and to fear spiders, but we seem much less prepared to associate dangers with a car, even though we are exposed on a daily basis to threats from the traffic. Resistance to extinction of electrodermal responses established to fear-relevant stimuli has been demonstrated experimentally. Ease of acquisition, however, has so far received only minimal or equivocal support (R. J. McNally, 1987).

The hedonics of operant learning advanced with the discovery that rats rapidly learn to self-stimulate certain hypothalamic areas electrically, the stimulation being 78 their only reward. Special pleasure centers and pathways were postulated (J. Olds, 1956), that is, natural reward systems that are normally activated by the performance of certain behaviors. Later investigations suggested that the hedonic pathways maintained by intracranial self-stimulation share a common pharmacology, whereby the hedonics of motivation is paralleled by a hedonics of learning. According to the interesting, although still speculative, investigations by L. Stein (1980), neurohormones motivate, steer, and terminate response sequences by providing satisfaction at each step. Dopamine acts as an incentive activating pursuit behavior, noradrenaline acts as a reinforcer guiding response selection via knowledge of response consequences, and enkephalin brings the behavioral sequence to a satisfying conclusion, thus causing gratification. Less is known about the aversion centers, except that there are corresponding areas in the brain mediating displeasure and discomfort, causing aversive responses (for an excellent discussion of the subject of motivation and learning, see K. Bailey, 1988).

Learning can be obligatory at a particular period in ontogeny and within a specific functional system. Thus many animals demonstrate sensitive phases during which they are particularly receptive to specific learning experiences. Examples are acquisition of knowledge concerning the characteristics of a sexual partner or knowledge of the species-typical song. They often cling so firmly to what they have learned during these sensitive periods that the phenomenon has been called “imprinting.” In contrast to classical learning theory, primacy of learning experience, in this case, outweighs recency. Imprinting has been investigated in depth (K. Immelmann, 1965, 1970, 1975; E. H. Hess, 1975; P. Marler and S. Peters, 1977; W. H. Thorpe, 1961; St. Green and P. Marler, 1979) ever since Lorenz (1935) discovered sexual imprinting. Song sparrows (Melospiza melodia), zebra finches (Taeniopygia castanotis), and other songbirds memorize their species’ song during a sensitive period which occurs before they are able to sing, and the birds later sing from memory. In other birds, inborn templates determine what is learned (p. 66).

Object imprinting is a learning disposition first recognized by Konrad Lorenz. Ducklings and goslings have an innate following response. They walk toward objects larger than themselves, particularly when these objects utter certain attracting sounds—here, an innate preference for the species-specific “attraction” call of the mother could be demonstrated. Surrogate objects such as a ball, a stuffed cube, a hen or even a person can elicit the following response. These then become the surrogate mother for the young. Obviously, no phylogenetic protection preventing such mistakes has evolved, since, in nature, there is such a low probability that a duckling would be raised by a different species. A program which relays the information: “Follow the object you are near when you hatch!” is sufficient to bond mother and offspring. The bond thus established is a powerful one. If the duckling follows a certain object for a while, it becomes “imprinted” on that object and the readiness to follow other objects disappears (K. Lorenz, 1935). If a gosling follows a human for a short period of time, for example, it will no longer even attempt to follow its natural mother. The bond thus formed ranges from merely resistant to change to irreversible, depending on the species. The sensitive period is another important characteristic of imprinting. It is only during this phase that the duckling can be imprinted. What is actually imprinted is the following of a certain object. Behavior patterns from the sexual behavior functional system are also imprinted at the same time with respect to a certain class of objects, although these behavior patterns have not yet matured. In this case, the imprinted animal abstracts the species characteristics of the imprinting object. If the imprinting object is a person, the bird will later court humans. The situation with the program to follow is more complicated. It seems that in some cases, the following response to auditory stimuli can be universally imprinted to a class of objects, whereas the animal will follow only a specific individual mother or mother surrogate if visually stimulated. Lorenz established this in his experiments on graylag geese. Goslings from different broods were mixed and then released as a group. They recognized and followed their mother, or their foster mother, respectively (in this case Lorenz himself). The program to follow is constructed in such a way that the juvenile feels comfortable and self-assured in the presence of its mother; it then explores and behaves aggressively toward other young introduced into the group. The absence of the mother illicits fear. The juvenile then attempts to contact her with distress calls. Pain and fear enhance the search for contact, even when the following response is experimentally punished (J. K. Kovach and E. H. Hess, 1963; J. E. Barrett, 1972; E. A. Salzen, 1967).

Neurobiological studies revealed that the imprinting experience causes a reduction in the number of the spines of the dendrites of the neurons, which process the imprinting stimulus. Since the spines are the contact zones with other neurons, there is a corresponding reduction in interneuronal connections. When domestic chicks got imprinted to follow a pure tone, the spines of particular neurons in the auditory area of the chicks forebrain proved to be reduced by 45% versus the nonimprinted controls. After imprinting to the natural call of the hen, which is characterized by a broader sound spectrum, the reduction in the number of spines in the same neuron type amounted to 27% of the controls (E. Wallhausser and H. Scheich, 1987). Through the reduction of spines the neurons become irreversibly tuned for the perception of only particular stimuli. A similar narrowing of the perceptive potential of neurons was found to take place during the song learning of the Beo (Gracula religiosa), a bird belonging to the starling family (G. Rausch and H. Scheich, 1982). This reduction of synaptic connections thus distinguishes imprinting from other processes of learning, which are characterized by the increase of interneuronal connections.

Object imprinting can take place at a time well before the behavior patterns targeted for the object have actually matured. This is the case in sexual imprinting. Hand-raised male jackdaws and parakeets are found to be sexually imprinted on humans when mature. Even if they are only kept with conspecifics afterward, as soon as they attain maturity, they prefer humans as sexual partners and court them. Thus sexual imprinting has occurred long before. This shows us that recent experience does not always carry the most weight.

People also develop inhibitions during a particular sensitive period against sexual attraction to a member of the opposite sex with whom they have grown up. Their relationships are fraternal in nature, even if the other person is unrelated (see incest taboo, p. 261).

2.2.7. Cultural Transposition of Innate Dispositions

Phylogenetic adaptations of the kind described in the previous sections affect human cultural behavior in manifold ways. C. G. Jung believed that the artistic creations of mankind were the expression of an archetypical foreknowledge. Although his studies were restricted to psychoanalytic interpretation, which largely dispensed with comparative cultural investigations, his intuition was correct.

If we examine the figures and amulets made by humans in order to banish various kinds of danger we are struck by the fact that these often display an erect penis. This is usually combined with a threatening facial expression and other menacing postures (Fig. 2.51). These are examples of phallic threat, which we can interpret as ritualized threat mounting and for which various homologous behavioral patterns exist in a number of monkey species (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1970;

I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt and W. Wickler, 1968; W. Wickler, 1967a).

When a vervet monkey troop forages on the ground, several males will "stand guard” with their backs to the troop. They spread their legs slightly and display their colorful sexual organs. In these monkeys the scrotum is blue and the penis is bright red; here signal effect appears to have been selected for. The guarding is directed toward conspecifics of other vervet monkey groups, and if they approach too closely, the guards develop erections. Similar display behavior has been observed in a number of other primates (D. Ploog et al., 1963; W. Wickler, 1965, 1967a). This behavior can be interpreted as a ritualized threat mounting. Mounting is used as a sign of dominance in many mammals, and as such, is detached from its original function of copulation; it has become a sociosexual signal.

A comparable phallic threat is found in humans. Various New Guinea tribes emphasize the phallus with phallocrypts (penile sheaths). If the Eipo wish to mock an adversary, they loosen the cord that holds the tip of the penile sheath to the hips and jump up and down in one place, usually on some elevated spot that can be seen far away. The penile sheath thus swings prominently up and down. When they are frightened or surprised, they click their thumbnail against the sheath to ward off the possible danger with this threat gesture (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1976). Phallic threat occurs indirectly in other cultures through the use of wooden figures to mark boundaries or frighten away evil spirits. Smaller figures of this nature are also used as amulets to drive away misfortune ascribed to evil spirits. Such apotropic figures and amulets are found throughout the world. In the literature they are often misinterpreted as fertility demons, probably because investigators did not know how they were arranged and used. Even the word “demon” indicates the deterrent characteristics of these figures’ expressions. The figures from Bali, for example, display their threat function by their bared teeth, protruding eyes, and other characteristics of hands and even buttocks that clearly signify repulsion (Figs. 2.52, 2.53).

In ancient Greece, phallic symbols (Hermes) were placed at crossroads and along borders. They depicted a man’s head with a beard and an erect penis. Many Romanesque figures adorning the windows and entrances of churches are phallic and act as guards to repulse evil. In earlier times, mens’ clothing often emphasized the genital regions in many parts of Europe. This is especially obvious in the clothing of medieval mercenaries (Lansquenets). It is certainly no accident that phallic display on one’s own body was maintained so long among these people, for the mercenaries had to compete for employment by particularly aggressive display. Phallic display has largely regressed in mass society as part of the suppression of provocative stimuli, but there are still figures of speech suggesting male dominance threat. Thus the Arabs have the expression "Phallus in your eye,” the English “Fuck you” and the French equivalent is “Allez vous faire foutre.” Aggressive verbal contests between Turkish men also refer to the sex act (p. 541). Here, so to speak, instinctive behavior is verbalized, a topic we will discuss in more detail subsequently. Aggressive mounting in humans still occurs, in exceptional cases, with the intention of humiliating and subjugating the other party. Thus the last Algerian consul was ritually raped by the rebels. Until recently, young Hungarian shepherds suffered a similar fate if they trespassed onto another’s grazing territory. The erect phallus often becomes a sign of elevated rank and demands respect. There are many idols shown with an erect penis (old Germanic, Egyptian, Indian, Mexican). D. Fehling noted that the phrase used by some authors in antiquity, ”a man with testicles” expressed great respect for the person being described. There are also modern terms with similar significance, such as the Italian “cazzo” and the German negative counterpart “Schlappschwanz.” Other examples are cited in I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt and W. Wickler (1968), I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt 1970, D. Fehling (1974) and D. Rancourt-Laferriere (1979).

Figure 2.51. Apotropaic figures from Bali in frontal and lateral view. Each of the crouching figures shows a threatening facial expression and a phallic threat. The lateral view shows that each also pulls its buttocks apart. Offerings are placed on the small tabletop on the upper figure’s head, thus combining threat with appeasement. Photo: I. Eibl- Eibesfeldt.

Figure 2.52. Japanese phallic amulets. Upper: phallic bear. The phallus on the base is normally screwed with the baseplate into the figure. Lower: amulet with threatening facial expression and hidden penis on the rear behind a sliding plate. Drawing: H. Kacher after the original from I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1970).

Figure 2.53. Eipo with phallocrypt (In, Irian Java/West New Guinea). Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

The above examples should suffice. In the section on art we will concern ourselves further with the theme of cultural transposition of innate dispositions.

2.2.8. Actions, Sequences of Actions, and Goals: The Hierarchy Concept and the Concept of the Pathway Network

Craig’s schema—appetitive behavior-releasing stimulus—consummatory act describes the exceptional case. Usually an animal is led by a series of behavioral steps (actions) toward a final goal, of which, in most cases, it is not aware, but which the observer may be able to discern. Since each behavioral step has its own appetite component (appetence), an animal thereby follows a chain of appetences.

Niko Tinbergen (1951) showed that in spring, sticklebacks migrate in schools to their spawning sites in shallow water. Once they arrive, males take up their territories and only then do they undergo color changes, become aggressive, prepare for courtship and nest building, and perform other reproductive behavior patterns. Tinbergen developed the concept of a hierarchical organization of functional centers that are mutually inhibitory on one integrational level and which are stimulated by external and internal motivating factors and are activated by specific releasing stimuli. He designates the organization of functional centers of different integrational levels as instincts of various levels, and speaks of a "hierarchy of instincts.” Increasingly interconnecting networks occur at lower level consum- matory acts (swimming, biting), since these individual behavior patterns can also be used in different behavioral contexts (fighting, courtship, etc.). Electrical brain stimulation studies on chickens (E. von Holst and U. von St. Paul, 1960) suggest a similar hierarchical organization of behavior. The manifestation of the behavior patterns at a certain level is organized by their individual threshold values and by specific innate releasing mechanisms. Thus, via various appetitive behavior patterns, the animal progresses through this hierarchical system to the consum- matory act, of which it need not have concrete knowledge. The almost machinelike functioning of insects is a typical example of this hierarchical organization. In birds and higher mammals, however, we may assume that appetitive behavior is probably guided by a conscious awareness of the consummatory goal. Thus a male dog in a hunting mood will intentionally seek out some distant chicken farm that it obviously remembers from prior experience, and obstacles or detours will not prevent the dog from finding it. All this depends upon the dog’s particular motivation created by its "parliament of instincts.” If the dog is not only motivated for hunting but also fearful, the appearance of danger may cause it to abandon its search or make a wider detour. If the male encounters a female, her presence may temporarily interrupt his hunt, and depending on his mood he can be diverted from his former goal, but to the observer he will act as if driven by specific goal expectations. Objectively, however, we cannot prove the role of insight in such a situation.

In contrast, human behavior is guided primarily by the awareness of concrete goals. A regulated series of behavioral steps leading to specific goals is always present, but each goal can be attained in various ways. Thus we can describe behavior in the form of a pathway network with several choice points. The decisions made at these points depend upon the person’s motivational state, the stimuli, and quite decisively on personal experience. This makes human behavior very variable but not entirely unpredictable. Cultural convention and phylogenetic adaptation drastically restrict the range of possible behavior. Generally, people follow similar strategies to attain the same kinds of objectives. There is a universal grammar structuring our social interactions, which will be explained later section.

Summary 2.2

The fixed-action pattern (inherited movement coordination) is a fundamental ethological concept. Form-constant behavioral sequences arise from central nervous generator systems, these often being already coordinated centrally so that well-ordered impulses are transmitted to the muscles. Feedback can be either inhibitory (negative) or facilitative (positive) depending upon the existing program.

Fixed-action patterns are not rigid but are form constant; that is, the phase relationships of the muscle actions utilized in the movement, like a "musical score,” remain constant, enabling the movement to occur as a transposable yet recognizable configuration. Furthermore, fixed-action patterns are not defined by form constancy alone. As the name suggests, its innateness is an essential criterion. 84 Thus in a process of self-differentiation based upon developmental instructions laid down in the genes, the neuronal networks and their connections together with sensory organs and effector organs responsible for a particular behavior pattern, grow to functional maturity. Fixed-action patterns are, in general, integrated with orientation movements to form higher functional units known as instinctive acts. The study of children deaf and blind at birth of infants, comparisons between species, and cross-cultural studies strongly suggest that human beings are equipped with a basic repertoire of fixed-action patterns.

Perception as well, at different levels, is determined in part by phylogenetic programs, and some transmodal capacities can be ascertained in the same way in different sensory realms. This holds true for categorical perception as, for example, in color perception and syllable perception. The “orderliness of the senses,” however, also shapes higher cognitive functions. The Pragnanz tendency can also be verified across sense modalities. Our perception emphasizes certain characteristics more distinctly and levels out others. This, in general, acts to simplify or schematize our visual as well as linguistic perception.

The key stimulus-IRM concept is particularly significant for explaining certain human responses. Specific stimulus receptors and information processors have evolved as an adaptation to stimuli which report on contingencies relevant to the organism. They are so constructed that they respond to a few key characteristics of the stimulus situation. They act as stimulus filters and are so integrated with the motor system that specific behavioral sequences, such as avoidance of predators or prey capture, are elicited upon presentation of the appropriate key stimuli. We speak, therefore, of innate releasing mechanisms (IRMs). Reciprocal adaptations between sender and recipient have evolved for social communication, and the signals used in such social communication are known as releasers, for example, facial expressions and some of the “signals of babyishness.”

The neuronal structures in which an a priori knowledge about expected behavior is preserved are called “templates.” Behavior is compared against them and they thus have a normative function.

Behavior is not always just a “response,” however, as classical reflex theory has postulated. More often, organisms are constructed so that they are in themselves active creatures, driven by a multitude of differently structured motivating mechanisms. Their effect leads animals and man to search with appetitive behavior for stimulus situations that evoke specific behavior patterns. Neurogenous motivation is of great importance here. Automatic groups of motor cells drive the fixed-action patterns. Emotions are experienced as subjective correlates of behavior and perception. They are universal entities in man.

The individual modifiability of behavior is often determined by phylogenetic adaptations in a very specific way, for there are innate learning dispositions. It is not true that everything can be learned and forgotten equally well at the same time or that the temporal and spatial coincidence of events is always considered as having some causal relationship. The phylogenetically developed hypotheses underlying learning in organisms are often much more highly differentiated. Thus organisms associate relevant events: nausea is associated with something eaten previously and not with events occurring at the time the nausea commences. An organism can react with different learning responses, depending upon functional relationships and motivations, to one and the same stimulus situation. Specific information is often acquired only during a well-defined sensitive period. Phylogenetic preprogramming also plays a role in human cultural expressions, such as in sculptures with an apotropic function.

Behavior is organized hierarchically. This ordering becomes less binding with increasing levels of development. The network integrating various behavioral systems increases as does the instrumental availability of the preprogrammed behavioral repertoire.

2.3 Decoupling of Actions from Drives and Conscious Self-Control: The

2.3.1. Neuroethology of Human Freedom

Freedom has different meanings. Human beings want to be free from restrictions by others. They want to act upon their own decisions and to express their opinions freely. This social aspect will be dealt with later. Humans furthermore subjectively experience that they can choose to do some things and avoid others; that they have freedom of choice between various alternatives. A person sets goals for himself, mentally contemplates various strategies for their achievement, and finally chooses some strategy that he thinks appropriate. The weighing of alternatives necessitates that he judge things from a distance, even when the goal is the satisfaction of a drive. Humans are able to postpone the fulfillment of a drive and thus to decouple themselves from it so that they can create a relaxed field that permits them to weigh alternatives and respond sensibly. Animals display this ability to a limited extent, and their appetitive behavior is played out in a field without tension[21] (G. Bally, 1945). If, however, the animal perceives releasing stimuli that correspond to its motivational state, its innate mechanisms are fully activated so that a largely predetermined sequence of instinctive behavior patterns are released, leading to some cut-off, consummatory (drive-satisfying) act or situation. Mammalian play is a great step toward the autonomy of behavior, since here is the first time that we find actions actively decoupled from specific drives, i.e., the motivating systems which normally activate them.

A badger can “play fight” without becoming aggressive, and is thus able to use its behavior patterns so “freely” that it can combine those of several different functional systems in a way that could not occur in a “serious” encounter (Section 7.2). In play, actions appear to be decoupled from the higher level of organization that normally activate them. This permits experimentation and active learning, during the course of which even new patterns of movement may be acquired. And this lies at the roots of our ability to distance ourselves from a problem and attain a degree of “rational freedom.”

In humans the ability to act freely in terms of selecting between alternatives is particularly pronounced. This we experience subjectively as “freedom of choice.” This “freedom” must not be equated with “nondeterminism,” for goal perceptions and norms used in making choices structure our decision-making process. “Freedom” in the sense of “nondeterminate” would be a concept devoid of any meaning.

Freedom, according to F. Seitelberger (1981, p. 27), “exists not in real or conceptual objectivity, but in the self-reflection of the acting subject. Therefore freedom does not mean acausality but autonomy. . . .” In this connection, Seitelberger indicates the significance of cerebral cortex development—the “ corticalization” which results in our drives being controlled consciously, this leading to their humanization.

However, corticalization is only the first important step toward behavioral selfcontrol. The second step is lateralization, the division of tasks between the two brain halves. The studies of R. W. Sperry (1964), R. W. Sperry and B. Preilowski (1972), J. Levy (1972), and M. S. Gazzaniga et al. (1963, 1965, 1977) have shown that the two cerebral hemispheres are so specialized for different tasks that, roughly speaking, speech and verbal/mathematical thought processes are localized in the left half while the right half controls the integrative capabilities of perception and emotional and artistic talents.

People whose left hemisphere is damaged have impaired speech but are emotionally intact. They show sympathy and emotionality and are also musically competent. Those with right hemisphere damage, in contrast, are emotionally disturbed; they have shallow emotions or show atypical euphoria, and lose the ability to empathize with others. They have no sense of humor, are not musical, and have extremely limited integrative faculties.

Thus our left hemisphere is to a certain extent the analytical and technical brain, while the right is the emotional and integrative one. The hemispheres are joined at the base by a thick bundle of nerve fibers, the corpus callosum. During orgasm, for example, we can register theta waves from the right hemisphere, these being indicators of activity while alpha waves can be registered from the left hemisphere, these being typical of the brain at rest.

Interestingly, the posterior section of the corpus callosum is thicker in women than in men (C. de Lacoste-Utamsing and R. L. Holloway, 1982). Maybe this difference in the connection between the two halves of the brain could be responsible for differences in the emotionality between men and women. Actions lacking in emotionality appear to occur less frequently in women than in men. This could be due to a woman’s role in infant and child care, which requires constant emotional bonding in almost all circumstances and a man’s role in defense and aggression, which frequently requires detachment of emotion for effective action. Certainly an excess of love is less harmful than an excess of aggression, which must therefore be particularly well controlled. Men need aggressive emotionality in particular phases of fighting competition, but aggression needs to be controlled to prevent a fight from escalating and becoming overly destructive. In this sense, for men, a more distinct separation of the more rational brain from the more emotional brain could be advantageous.

The left visual field projects into the right hemisphere and the right visual field into the left hemisphere because of a partial crossing over of the optic nerves in the optic chiasm. Auditory nerves also cross in the same way, while olfaction is ipsilateral. If the corpus callosum is severed, the verbal left half of the brain is unaware of what the right half sees, and vice-versa (Fig. 2.54). If, for example, the word “nut” (as in nut and bolt) is projected onto the left visual field, it will be transmitted from there to the right hemisphere and conducted further via various cognitive networks to the motor cortex controlling the left hand. The test subject can select the nut from an assortment of other objects with the left hand without any visual guidance. But if asked, the subject cannot say what the left hand is searching for and finding, because the left hemisphere (representing the verbalizing test subject) is unaware of what has happened. As a representative of the rational brain, the left hemisphere attempts to interpret behavior. As the experiments of J. E. LeDoux et al. (1977) show, such hypotheses need not correspond to the 87

Figure 2.54. Projection diagram of the left and right visual fields to the left and right visual cortex, arising from the partial crossing in the chiasma opticum. The diagram also shows other sensory inputs from the right extremities to the left hemisphere and from the left extremities to the right hemisphere. Auditory input shows a similar crossing, while olfaction is ipsilateral. The figure depicts writing with the right hand as programmed by the left hemisphere. From R.W. Sperry (1974).

actually perceived reality. They showed a split-brain patient (after separation of the two hemispheres by severing the corpus callosum) two different pictures: on the left a winter landscape with snow (for the right hemisphere) and on the right side a hen’s foot (for the left hemisphere). The subject then was given a series of other pictures and asked to point out what he had seen before. With his right hand (left hemisphere) he chose the picture of a hen, and with his left hand (right hemisphere) a picture of a shovel! When asked what he had seen, he replied (by means of the verbally competent left hemisphere): "A hen’s foot, which is the reason I chose the picture of the hen, and a shovel for removing the hen’s droppings” (Fig. 2.55).

The patient behaved as if the left hemisphere formulated a hypothesis based on what it perceived, at the same time rationally integrating the visual impressions of the right hemisphere without being aware of what should have corresponded to the visual information seen on the right.

The differential functional specialization of the hemispheres allows man the freedom to modify the influence of different aspects of his personality by varying their activation. We can consciously switch our thoughts to objectivity and, in doing so, the left hemisphere becomes, so to speak, a mirror in which we reflect our alter ego localized in the right hemisphere. The evolution of speech may have been responsible for this capacity of conscious reflection. Speech translates actions, and this requires a certain capability of self-observation, thus achieving a certain objectivity toward oneself (p. 527).

Introspection shows us that we are indeed able to adapt to different levels of objectivity or emotionality, and it seems to me as if the two hemispheres are like two brothers who at times become rivals and struggle for dominance. The left hemisphere, in its striving for objectivity and sobriety and in art, for abstraction, may attempt to dominate and even intellectually belittle our emotional ego. We sometimes think of such a person with a left brain dominance as a “cold intellectual.” Studies with subjects having a severed corpus callosum indeed show that two distinct perceiving and feeling personalities actually coexist here. They are normally joined symbiotically, are aware of each other, and act in concert, but man can also deliberately attach more weight to one or the other side of his nature (ego).

P. D. MacLean (1970) categorizes specific behavioral capabilities to hypothetical developmental stages of the brain, speaking of a "triune” (or "tripartite”) brain. These three divisions are anatomically distinguishable. The old reptilian brain encompasses the anterior brain stem, the reticular system, and the mesencephalon. The paleomammalian brain grew out of the reptilian cortex and corresponds to the limbic system, which was overgrown by the expanding neomammalian brain. This model explains a number of characteristics of hierarchical neural organization. In simplified terms, the protoreptilian brain controls phylogenetically preprogrammed behavior. The paleomammalian brain improves our ability to adapt through learning, a first step toward the release from the rigid instinct dependency. The neomammalian brain provides the objectivity enabling the organism to detach specific actions from rigidly programmed control. Play only becomes possible at this level of development. In man’s social behavior the agonal reptile heritage of a sociality based upon dominance and submission is supplemented by mammalian affiliative sociality characterized by the capacity to act in a friendly manner and by individual bonding which characterizes love (see p. 167).

Lateralization in the form of differential specialization of the two hemispheres enables the tripartite brain to develop into a ""fourune” or ""quadrupartite” one, following MacLean’s terminology.

Summary 2.3

Vertebrate cerebral evolution involved an increase in corticalization enabling the organism to temporarily decouple behavioral patterns from the rigid brain stem control, thus creating a tension-free field providing the opportunity for detached reflection and experimentation on a trial-and-error basis. In humans, through the process of lateralization brain functions have become even further specialized by separating the brain’s hemispheres into a rational-analytical left and an emotional right brain with configurational-integrating and creative abilities. This division of labor enables man to detach himself objectively from his emotional ego and thus to exert conscious self-control by means of reflection and introspection. Our capability and tendency to engage in dialectic and polarizing thought processes is probably based on this division of labor specialization. A quadrupartite brain has developed from the tripartite (‘"triune”) brain of higher mammals.

2.4. The Units of Selection—A Critical Evaluation of Sociobiology

With the appearance of E. O. Wilson’s Sociobiology (1975), a new branch of ethology came into being which included theories and approaches from ecology and population genetics. Sociobiology has evoked a lively discussion, which was sometimes productive while at other times less so. The cost-benefit calculations of this discipline have, however, without doubt contributed to our understanding of evolutionary mechanisms.

Cost-benefit calculations are based on the fact that fitness is ultimately measured by genetic survival. Organisms that do not pass on their genetic material will die out. Everything which reduces reproductive success is therefore considered as a cost. Thus every risk and investment in time and work must be calculated as such. If one individual invests in another, then the balance must not be a negative one if he is to increase his fitness. The benefits factor, measured by success in passing 90 on one’s own genes (reproductive success), must outweigh the costs. An organism acts adaptively when it behaves in such a way as to maximize the propagation of its genes through its behavior. It is therefore often stated that organisms are perfect machines for gene propagation, a suitable if highly oversimplified concept. It must be made clear that one can be misled by taking this statement too literally and conceiving of organisms as nothing but accessories which the genes created for their own propagation. This might have been true at the most primitive levels of development, when the first self-replicating molecules formed protective sheaths and other organized structures. In higher organisms, however, a level of existence is achieved where such a description does not apply. One should therefore avoid using the term “selfish genes”[22] (R. Dawkins, 1976), for there are already enough uncritical readers who take this expression literally. To define the problem, it is probably opportune for didactic reasons to state that everything a gene “does” aids in its survival. One must always remember, however, that organisms and genes form a functional unit and that it is of little use to discuss whether a hen is the method by which eggs reproduce themselves or vice versa. Emotional terms or aspirations such as “selfish” can only apply to organisms and not to genes themselves.

There was also a terminological confusion concerning the units of selection. For Dawkins it was the genes. Others spoke of individuals or closely related groups of individuals as the units of selection. Both meant, of course, different things with the same expression. Those who spoke of the genes meant the units that were ultimately selected. Those speaking of individuals meant the units on which selection actually operated. How selection operates and what is ultimately selected by this process were not clearly separated.

The question of how animals and man should behave in order to facilitate the propagation of their genes has evoked numerous mathematical cost-benefit models. Of the many problems tackled by sociobiologists, the question of how altruistic behavior evolved has received most attention and emphasis and this has created a new discipline. Models of individual, kin, and group selection were discussed.[23] Darwin (1859) was the first to recognize the problem of altruistic behavior when he investigated the social insects. The problem appeared to him almost unsolvable and in contradiction to his theory. He presumed that a form of group selection was operating here. The sociobiological calculations were the first to demonstrate that these and other examples of altruism can be explained by individual selection.

Sociobiologists, to begin with, prefer models based on the assumptions of individual rather than group selection for two reasons: (1) mutations appear in the genotypes of single individuals and thus they must first be propagated by individual selection throughout the population. (2) Differential reproduction of individuals throughout the Animal Kingdom is probably more significant than the differential suppression and disappearance of entire groups of organisms. Individual selection is therefore more significant than group selection in most animals (G. C. Williams, 1966). The latter, however, should not be excluded completely. It should only be considered though when simpler explanations will not suffice.

The development of the concept of inclusive fitness (originated by J. B. S. Haldane, 1955) was perhaps the most significant contribution to the understanding of the evolution of altruistic behavior. With inclusive fitness, the concept of fitness, previously measured by number of surviving offspring of an individual, was extended to not only an individual’s own offspring but also those of close genetic relatives who share a high percentage of the individual’s genes or alleles. In terms of behavior, this means that investments in offspring of close relatives should be roughly in proportion to degree of relatedness. W. D. Hamilton (1964) developed the concept further after a thorough reconsideration of its tenets to be applied to cost-benefit analysis. It is based on the following arguments.

If an individual who has not reproduced sacrifices itself to save another, then it is obvious that its genes will not survive in any of its own offspring. If we consider the genes alone, it is clear that it is not only the survival of the individual’s own offspring that counts but also the survival and reproduction of all individuals which share a certain percentage of the altruist’s genes. Sociobiologists base their calculations on the fact that individuals share on the average of 50% of all their rare genes with their offspring and siblings, 25% with their grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, etc. Thus, if one individual sacrifices itself to save two of its offspring or four of its grandchildren, cost and benefit would be in balance. Of course, these are very rough estimates, for a large number of other factors must be included in the calculation, for instance, the age of the altruist. If the altruist is very old and thus has little chance of reproducing, then it would be genetically profitable for it to risk its life for even one grandchild. Furthermore, all these calculations are only valid for those rare genes which characterize the individual or its group. The vast majority of genes are shared with all other group members.

Based on these assumptions, one can construct mathematical models that permit experimentally verifiable predictions.[24] The concept of kin selection maintains that individuals must behave altruistically in such a way as to promote others according to the degree of their genetic relationship in order to increase their inclusive fitness. It is in this sense that we should understand the frequently used term “genetic selfishness.”

W. D. Hamilton (1964) used this model of kin selection in a brilliant analysis to explain the evolution of social organization in the social hymenopterans. Sterile workers invest in sisters at the expense of their own reproduction, and they derive a greater genetic profit by investing in the queen and her young than if they produced offspring of their own. The relationship coefficient between siblings is 0.75, because all individuals share the genes of their haploid father and, in addition, another 50% of the genes from their diploid mother. Hamilton thus solved the puzzle that had stumped biologists since Darwin’s time.

However the concept of “genetic selfishness” has generated some biological concepts that must be reviewed critically. It is true that there are cases in which individuals of one species place their individual interest above that of the group or species interest and in conflict situations choose their personal interest in preference to that of the other conspecifics involved. Many sociobiologists, however, maintain that this is a general rule, and this generalization is obviously premature.

In this context we have to distinguish between short- and long-term effects of selection. Changes brought about by individual selection may affect fitness of a closed population in competition with others and what may be selected as fit in the short term by individual selection may, in the long run, lower the fitness of the group. This could, for example, happen to human populations should individuals with criminal or other dispositions which are detrimental to the interests of the group increase in number. Thus far the discussion has focused too narrowly upon short-term effects of selection.

A series of dramatic examples have been used to demonstrate ruthless genetic selfishness, a classic one being that of the Entellus or Hanuman langurs (Presbytis entellus). Y. Sugiyama (1964) observed that in some instances after a new male had taken over a harem, the young of the previous harem male were injured or killed, and Sugiyama assumed that this was done by the new male. Later S. M. Mohnot (1971) and S. Hrdy (1977a, b, 1979) reported other instances of infanticide, but only in certain populations of these langurs. This behavior was interpreted as the “reproductive strategy” of the usurper. By killing the predecessor’s young, the females would come into estrus again and be mated by the new male. In this way the usurper increases its own reproductive success at the cost of its predecessor’s and, of course, that of the females, who have already made substantial investments in their murdered offspring.[25]

This generalization soon led to the statement that this is a reproductive strategy used by many primates, and reports of the disappearance of young in other species proliferated; the presumption that these were all killed by the male was coupled with hints about human history also being filled with reports of infanticide. B. C. R. Bertram (1976) reported that male lions killed their predecessors’ young upon taking over a new harem.

An infanticidal male, however, would also be destroying many of his own genes, for within populations every member is related to every other one. Infanticidal genes could only succeed in this manner when they appeared first. The time would soon come for the murderer to loose all he had gained at the onset, if the number of murder mutants would increase so that the next newcomer would then kill the murderer’s own offspring. At best, such mutants could manage to be sustained for a small percentage of a population, who, in turn, might be weakened as a longterm consequence of an increase of murderous individuals. One would then be justified to speak of them as “pathologies,” that is, of maladaptive deviations since their “strategy” evidently fails in the long run. Some of these deviants may just occur as mutants from generation to generation, just as genetic diseases (such as Down’s Syndrome) are sustained due to the fact that counter selection is not sufficiently strong to eliminate the genes completely from the population. Such cases are usually called pathological, for populations with infanticidal individuals in competition with noninfanticidal ones would be at a great disadvantage. It is certainly premature to describe infanticide as a “reproductive strategy” in Han- uman langurs, since a close study of the data reveals that the behavior is not as widespread as the reports make it out to be. This behavior has actually only been seen in a few populations, while in others it has never been noted even after considerable observation periods. C. Vogel (1979), who observed langurs and various male takeovers over many years, originally saw no infanticide. He surveyed the literature critically and found that other investigators had actually observed such killing in just three instances. In all three cases the same male did the killing (S. M. Mohnot, 1971). Two of these infanticides took place immediately after taking over the harem, while a third juvenile was killed 6 months later, a time when the reproductive success of the new male could no longer be impaired. The remainder of the forty instances of supposed infanticide death were based on speculation arising from the disappearance of young or the occurrence of injured young. A juvenile would be noted as missing, and entered in the records as “killed by the usurper;” another juvenile would be found with wounds, and the new male was considered responsible for these.

C. Vogel found that dogs often chased the langurs in the research area, which could explain the observed wounds. Furthermore, nearly one-half of all the cases of supposed infanticide would not fit in with sociobiological theory. Either the juvenile killed was already so old that the female would have come into estrus without this interference or the juvenile was killed so long after the harem takeover that this occurrence could no longer positively influence the new male’s reproductive success. In other words, this oft-quoted example for ruthless genetic selfishness is the product of premature conclusions (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1987; G. Schubert, 1982).

In the meantime, C. Vogel (Vogel and H. Loch, 1984) has observed instances of male infanticide in harem takeovers, raising the number of observed and so- ciobiologically compatible cases to eight, including those of H. Mohnot. Only three males were responsible for these eight deaths. That is hardly convincing evidence for this behavior’s “normality!”

There are many indications that this is a pathological phenomenon. As mentioned earlier, the behavior is not seen in all populations, but only in a few groups. In addition, only a few males were responsible for all the deaths actually observed. Finally, according to sociobiological criteria the killing of juveniles after a harem takeover would only make sense if these were no more than 4 months old at the time they were killed. Up to this point, however, they bear a special infant coat. If infanticide were a male strategy we would expect that the infants would have developed a counter strategy, as for instance a counter selection against a coat signaling infancy. We would also expect the females to defend their young more effectively. But C. Vogel’s observations (personal communication) show that many females only defend their young weakly or not at all. Infants occasionally play with other infants. If they approach the other mother too closely, she kicks them. Sometimes strange mothers have kicked an intruding youngster down a precipice, and the infant’s own mother did not even intervene, even though she was sitting only a few meters away and although her youngster screamed pitiably. This certainly does not sound like a normal situation.

Many years ago, J. Calhoun’s (1962) observed that in a crowding situation the social behavior of a gregarious mammal (rats) disintegrated to the extent that mothers do not retrieve or otherwise care for their young, even if surplus food was available. It was social irritation that caused the pathological “behavioral 94 sink” situation.

At present it is premature to interpret occasional infanticide as an adaptive male reproductive strategy. Evidence that infanticide is adaptive for males by propagating their genes has not been particularly well substantiated. Although such an explanation is worth considering (as in F. S. vom Sal and L. S. Howard, 1982; I. G. McLean, 1983), other hypotheses must be given equal consideration.

I am inclined to interpret behavior patterns such as the infanticide we have just discussed as pathological. I made the observation that baboons and chimpanzees tend toward aggressive escalation, that is, they lose control in encounters characterized by strong emotional arousal. In the Gombe Stream National Park, a female baboon was mauled so badly by a male that one hand was permanently incapacitated. On the same occasion, her baby was killed by him. This, however, did not occur during a takeover and the youngster was very likely his own. Jane Goodall (personal communication) spoke of the event as an accident. The male was aggressively aroused by another male and displaced his aggression toward the female. Chimpanzees have temper tantrums which are sometimes difficult to distinguish from male displays. During these tantrum displays, males occasionally hurt group members. In addition, Jane Goodall described an occurrence of cannibalism between group members. One female learned to prey upon the babies of other females of the same group and she taught this habit to her daughter. This, too, indicates a tendency toward pathology. It is possible that this tendency toward emotional instability and behavioral pathology might be associated with the rapid evolution of group life, which, in part, is characterized by a rapid growth of the brain. It could well be that the fine structuring of the brain, by which critical points in social behavior get controlled did not keep pace with the rapid quantitative growth of the brain and that selection is still in progress. The same might hold true for humans.

All sociobiological models to date have been constructed on the basis of maximizing reproductive success. If we consider strategies that reduce risk, however, these models should be designed quite differently. The basic concept of a costbenefit calculation is valid and useful for providing research with new impetus. The question of units of selection, however, has yet to be thoroughly investigated. Individual and kin selection undoubtedly play significant roles. In man, the tightly knit social group provides another possible unit of selection. Whether this is also true for other group-living higher vertebrates remains to be tested.

Before discussing group selection, another important sociobiological concept should be mentioned, the model of evolutionary stable strategies (ESS) developed by J. Maynard-Smith and G. R. Price (1973). This model was developed to explain altruistic behavior without accepting the tenets of group selection. To elucidate their concept of evolutionary stable strategies, Maynard-Smith and Price examined ritualized and injury-producing intraspecific fighting in vertebrates. It is well known that many animals engage in ritualized contests with conspecifics. The loser of such a contest is ousted but not killed and can stand the test again on another occasion. If rivals injured each other during such fights, then—according to traditional ethological formulation—this would weaken the species or, strictly speaking, reduce the reproductive community in competition with other groups. Maynard-Smith and Price in constructing their model based their calculations on a number of assumptions:

1. Each contest must reach a decisive conclusion.

2. The one giving up is the loser; the other animal is the winner.

3. Any animal not killed in the contest would be able to engage in other fights.

4. Previous contests have no influence on fighting behavior, as if the rivals had no memory of their last encounter.

The authors also distinguished between two categories of conflict tactics used in ritualized fighting: “conventional” tactics, in which there are only threats and no serious injuries, and those injurious fights, “dangerous” tactics, carried out using every available means. In a population with both ritual (“Doves”) and injuryproducing fighters (“Hawks”), we obtain the following combinations:

1. Hawk meets Hawk, and the fight ends when one is injured or killed.

2. Dove meets Dove; no one is injured, but the one giving up loses.

3. Dove meets Hawk; Dove runs away and no one is injured.

If the loser receives 0 points, the winner 50 points, an injured animal -100 points, and time and energy expenditure for the struggle was given a value of - 10 points, all values corresponding to reproductive success, one can show mathematically that Doves can be sustained in a population even assuming that individual selection occurs, although they would exist in a mixed ratio with Hawks. This can be determined from the following calculation:[26]

When Doves fight each other, they invest a great deal of energy because such fights last a long time. They are thus accorded -10 points for their time/energy expenditures. The victor receives 50 points and thus achieves a net sum of 40 points. The loser receives 0 points for outcome and thus a net of -10 points. Assuming equal winning chances, each rival in a Dove vs. Dove fight can expect the following value as the outcome of a ritual fight:

+ 40 - 10 c .

= +15 points (Dove vs. Dove)

When Hawks fight each other, the winner receives 50 points and the loser - 100 points, so that the average expected result of such a fight is:

——= —25 points (Hawk vs. Hawk)

Thus on the basis of these simple mathematical calculations, we find that damaging fights (hawks) have greater disadvantages than ritualized fights (doves).

Thus if a Dove appears in a population of Hawks, it would initially have a certain mathematical advantage. If a Dove meets a Hawk, the Dove would run away and receive 0 points, while the Hawk would achieve 50 points for its win. But in a pure Hawk populatior, any Dove would have an advantage because it would end every contest with 0, while the more frequent Hawk vs. Hawk engagements would close with a net —25 point score. Doves would therefore increase in such a population, thereby meeting other Doves more frequently and gaining 15 points. At the same time, however, Hawks would encounter Doves more often, with an advantageous result. Finally an equilibrium between the two would be attained in a mixed population, calculated as follows:

A Hawk expects a -25 point score in a fight with a Hawk. This expectation occurs in a population with the same frequency as the number of Hawks in it, or -25 x [H],

A Dove receives 0 points for fights with a Hawk and 15 points for fights with other Doves, both cases as frequently as Hawks and Doves are represented in the population. Thus in a mixed population the total point expectancy of Doves is found using the formula 0x/7//+15x/D/.

The stable mixed relationship of Hawks and Doves is calculated from the expectancy equation:

-25 x [H] + 50 x [D] = 0 x [H] + 15 x [D]

25 x [//] = 35 x [D]

Thus the ratio of Hawks to Doves is 7:5. The mean point expectancy for Hawks and Doves is equal in this equation, and the advantages and disadvantages of both fighter types balance each other out, and selection finds no basis on which to favor one type over the other.[27]

In these situations one speaks of an evolutionary stable strategy (EES), a somewhat unfortunately fmalistic sounding term; “evolutionary stable state” would be more neutral. Strategy implies acting toward a specific goal, somewhat in the sense of species maintenance, as rejected by sociobiologists. But this is certainly not suggested. The term “evolutionary stable state” describes genetic variants enduring in a specific ratio beside each other within a population. G. M. Burghardt (1975) described an interesting example of behavioral polymorphism in the garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis). Each newly hatched brood of snakes contains individuals with different innate food preferences, providing a population with an extended adaptability. A somewhat different example are the satellite males of certain frogs and fish; they leave the energy expenditures of courtship to others and then fertilize the females attracted to the area (examples in W. Wickler and U. Seibt, 1977). This would be of benefit to both parties, for if the active males were brothers they could improve their fitness through cooperation. If the satellite male, however, should gain an advantage at the expense of the courting male, this would be a clear case of social parasitism.

In the fmalistic terminology of sociobiologists, in this latter case one could speak of a “reproductive strategy” of the social parasite to propagate its genome. Such cases must be distinguished from all those in which a specific portion of the population is sustained not because they maintain themselves genetically but because they emerge anew repeatedly as mutative aberrations or by the meeting of recessive alleles and against which counterselection is not sufficiently strong enough for their complete elimination. In these cases, we can very well speak of aberrations that reduce individual fitness, something that has been underappreciated in the ongoing discussions. To the contrary, one often has the impression that many investigators are attempting to construct some proof of fitness for every aberration. E. O. Wilson (1975) attempts to do this for homosexuality, W. M. and L. M. Shields (1983) and R. Thornhill and N. Wilmsen-Thornhill (1983) for rape, and L. K. Hong (1984) for premature ejaculation.

Sociobiological cost-benefit calculations demonstrate the compatibility between specific findings and models of the individual and kin selection principles. Different models can be developed, and testable predictions can be made from them. Calculations on ritualized fighting have shown that the most successful strategy is that of the retaliator. Thus the individual initiates the fight in a ritualized fashion with threat displays, and continues to fight ritually when the opponent behaves likewise (Dove vs. Dove). The individual changes at once, however, to injurious fighting if the opponent is a Hawk. Therefore, if the Dove in such instances immediately changes to a Hawk upon encountering a Hawk, Hawks can never attain the 15 point advantage, for they will ultimately always encounter a Hawk. This means that a Hawk mutant could not survive in a Dove population.

In my iguana studies (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1955c), I was struck by the fact that the ritual fighters could also fight injuriously and would do so under circumstances in which the opponent would not continue fighting ritually, as, for example, when penetrating a territory without displaying the appropriate threat ceremony. At that time I mentioned that this seems to be the rule in many other lizards and in fish. If there were only pure Hawks and Doves in a population, the equilibrium described above as ESS could actually be attained. To date, however, I know of no such population.

The cost-benefit analyses of sociobiology have led to stimulating discussion on many aspects of behavior, for example, those of parental investment and sexual selection (R. L. Trivers, 1972), the parent-child conflict (R. L. Trivers, 1974), sex ratios (W. D. Hamilton, 1967), and a series of cultural conventions such as those of the avunculate (R. A. Alexander, 1977; J. A. Kurland, 1979) and crosscousin marriages (L. Hughes, 1981).

The data base on which many of these theories rest, however, is often insufficient and the arguments thereby unconvincing. Using the Murdock data catalog, Alexander (1977) and S. J. C. Gaulin and A. Schlegel (1980) investigated the relationship between paternal investment and certainty of paternity. They assumed that wherever infidelity was prevalent (and thus paternity was uncertain), fathers would invest more in their sisters’ children than their own since these carried with certainty a quarter of their genetic heritage. Gaulin and Schlegel tested this premise by investigating the prevalence of avunculate in cultures with permissive versus those with strict sexual morals. They believed that they had found a correlation between permissiveness (and thus uncertain paternity) and the avunculate. However their table of uncertain paternity groups included the Samoans and others in which marriage bonds are known to be strictly maintained. Here one would be relatively certain of the married man being the biological father of most of his wife’s children. In fact, it is rather difficult to find any groups of people in which paternity is uncertain in more than 50% of all cases, and only then would the sociobiological calculations be valid. Because of the wide distribution of marriage- 98 like partner relationships, one would not expect such uncertain paternity, even in permissive societies. It is not only advantageous for the man but also for the woman to have the husband invest in the children and thus not to endanger the relationship through infidelity. Apart from the fact that genetic studies would have to be conducted to verify paternity, one must also ask why such uncertainty should arise anyway, since it benefits neither marriage partner. To account for heavy investment in sister’s children, other hypotheses should also be considered, such as the strong intergroup tie maintained by the avunculate, since brothers and sisters most frequently reside in different groups after marriage.

A second example of careless argumentation can be found in C. J. Morgan (1979). He found that the crews of whale hunting Eskimo boats usually consist of close relatives. He takes this to be an example of kin selection speculating that if such a boat got into trouble, the relatives would stand by each other to the last. He forgets that this is a “high-risk” strategy and that one should also calculate the risk involved in placing all one’s genes in a single boat. Morgan, however, does not even discuss this. If the relationship coefficient of the whale hunting crew were small, then Morgan might have considered this as a gene survival strategy which consisted of distributing family members across various vessels.[1]

In developing genetic models for the evolution of reciprocal altruism, sociobiologists are confronted with the difficulty of explaining its initial appearance, since the first altruist in a population is a “lonely” one (J. Moore, 1984). Some attempt to show that supposed altruistic behavior is not really altruistic but actually selfish and as such can be explained on the basis of individual or kin selection. Thus N. G. Blurton-Jones (1984) describes food sharing in humans as originating from “tolerated theft.” He means that it would not have profited our ancestors to defend food after satiation, so the theft was tolerated. There is not a single word about altruism. J. Moore’s view is somewhat similar, using chimpanzees as a model. Moore is of the opinion that after a chimpanzee kills its prey, the owner can easily defend its kill but it is more difficult to eat it undisturbed. It is for this reason that the chimpanzees distribute small portions of meat so they can eat in peace. In these explanations both writers overlook the fact that maternal care encompasses a number of behavior patterns, such as feeding (giving of food). It has been demonstrated that in mammals and birds many behavior patterns of bonding, such as food sharing, are derived from maternal behaviors (p. 167). There is no need to look for a different explanation for food sharing in chimpanzees.

Much of the confusion derives from mixing up selective consequences and individual intention. All behaviors which contribute to fitness can be said to have egotistic consequences, since they promote the actor’s genes. But the intention of the individual may very well be called altruistic, if it is spontaneous and motivated by empathy and aids another individual even at high risk.

The great merit of the sociobiological models lies in the integration of ecological and genetic theories. Their weakness lies in the fact that, to date, sociobiologists have been more involved in model building than in practical research and careful observations. In addition, during the period 1966-1978, the significance of individual and kin selection has been certainly overemphasized, even though E. O. Wilson (1975) also considered models of group selection.

Group selection plays an important role in humans. The individually selected traits of personal bonding and several other adaptations in the service of parental care provided mankind with behavioral patterns and strategies for bonding and maintenance of group harmony (aggression inhibitors, sharing, etc.). These allow the formation of firm bonds even between unrelated members of the group, so that groups appear to be units, even though this may counteract the interests of many group members at the level of the individual.

The phylogenetic-emotional basis of man’s familial disposition is enhanced by his cultural talent in extending the familial ethos to a group ethos. The war ethos, the indoctrinability of man with group values, his loyalty to authority, and his ethos of sharing could scarcely have arisen as new characteristics on the basis of individual selection alone (Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1982b). Group selection in humans is not only possible but highly probable, assuming that group members are more closely related to each other than to the members of the other groups they are confronting, and therefore share a common genetic interest. Through most of human history this was actually the case. People lived in relatively small, tightly knit groups. They shielded themselves off against others and thus represented fairly closed reproductive units. Even today, in hunter-gatherer societies, a people speaking one language, number only several hundred (usually about 500) members (J. B. Birdsell, 1968; H. M. Wobst, 1976). These populations are bonded by their own language and customs and are thus distinct from other groups. They form relatively closed reproductive communities in that intragroup marriage occurs with a much greater frequency than intergroup marriage. Even neolithic horticultural societies number only a few thousand in a single population. If they increase to several thousands, they start fragmenting off into internally warring subgroups, which often develop their own dialects (see also cultural pseudospeciation). The people living together in such groups are certainly more closely related to one another than they are to other groups. This holds true even for a number of the modern nation states ((P.L. van den Berghe, 1981). It would therefore be of advantage if each group member were to help every other one; indeed, cultural devices are developed that place group interests above those of the individual. The reproductive success of individuals leads to an enrichment of the gene pool with certain alleles. Excessive inbreeding is avoided by various marriage conventions to ensure a constant mixing of the gene pool, thus acting counter to nepotism. At a higher level, ethnic nepotism replaces familial nepotism.

Some attempts to calculate the profitability of altruistic acts in relation to the degree of relatedness have so far failed. K. Hawkes (1977, 1983) investigated the Binumarians in the highlands of New Guinea to determine who assisted whom in tending gardens and herding pigs, and found that close genetic relatives are in no way preferred over steprelatives or adopted children. The neighbors played an especially important role.

The Ache of Paraguay, who are hunters and gatherers, share meat and honey with all members of the group without kinship preferences. One does not receive larger portions from relatives than from others. The only exception is made with items brought back from the Mission, which the individual shares preferentially with members of the immediate family (H. Kaplan et al., 1984).

Group selection models are now being utilized more often (B. J. Williams, 1981; 100 P. L. van den Berghe, 1981; R. Boyd and P. J. Richerson, 1982), and a new trend is becoming evident. Currently, it is said that the distinction between blood relatives and social kin are not that important, provided that the combination of social and biological relationships have a higher coefficient of relatedness than that found in the groups considered as “non-kin” (S. M. Essock-Vitale and M. T. McGuire, 1980). This was our standpoint from the beginning.

E. O. Wilson (1978) distinguishes between “hardcore” and “soft” altruism, the latter including what R. L. Trivers calls reciprocal altruism. Reciprocal altruism allows support beyond the limits of the group and even beyond species boundaries (e.g., symbiosis) for mutual benefit. Hardcore altruism is the spontaneous sort of self-sacrifice for the good of the family or small group. If the latter were the only kind of altruism possessed by humans, we would recklessly oppose each other in small groups after the model of the social insects. But fortunately humans possess both forms of altruism, permitting them to cooperate with members of strange groups and thus, theoretically, to build a world community. However, this presupposes reciprocity, which is, of course, indirect in most cases (R. Alexander, 1987). Those who act on others’ behalf without receiving anything in return and neglect their own reproductive chances while doing so initiate their own genetic demise. R. Alexander aptly remarked in this context “I do not doubt that occasionally individuals led lives that are truly altruistic and self-sacrificing. However, admirable and desirable such a behavior may be from others point of view, it represents an evolutionary mistake for the individual showing it” (R. D. Alexander, 1987, p. 191). In our last chapter on ethics we will discuss this point in more detail.

E. O. Wilson’s Sociobiology (1975) has been a breakthrough for biological evolutionary thinking in the United States. Certain extreme environmentalists attacked it vigorously (R. C. Lewontin, 1977), and not always in fair discussion. Critics rightly point at certain weaknesses in the argumentation, but they fail to acknowledge adequately the positive aspects of the new approach. This is also evident in many other ways in the remarkable critique by P. Kitcher (1985, 1987). Many of the critics blamed Wilson for expressing a biological determinism which would lead to racism, imperialism, genocide, and other evils. Such accusations are inappropriate. All knowledge can be misused, as can every theory, even that of environmentalism. W. Charlesworth (1981, p. 22) formulated this point clearly:

Speaking of rhetoric, there should be an editorial rule that sentences associated with sociobiology, with effort to justify slavery, imperialism, racism, genocide, and to oppose equal rights should always appear next to sentences associating environmentalist/ learning theory with effort to justify propaganda, psychological terror, false advertisement, public indoctrination of hatred of foreigners, class enemies, minority groups, and so on and so on. Juxtaposing sociobiology and learning theory in this manner ought to show how unproductive it is to claim through innuendo or otherwise that science will lead to pseudoscience, will lead to man’s inhumanity to man: ergo no science. Actually, one could argue that since man is such a cultural/learning animal we should have greater fear of learning theory since learning has far more power over man’s behavior than genes. More specifically, if humans were not such learning animals, they would not learn all that Galton trash: ergo stop learning research so that bad guys will not use the data to teach the trash more effectively.

Sociobiology has undoubtedly provided new impetus to our thought. Thus Wilson’s integrative accomplishment deserves full acknowledgment. However, in the hope of a new breakthrough many jumped on this bandwagon in a quite uncritical way and a number of minor publications flooded the market. Wilson’s own remark that sociobiology would eventually cannibalize the social sciences and ethology contributed to this development. It is still sociobiology’s responsibility to verify its hypotheses and give equal time to alternate ones. They are limited primarily to building interesting quantitative models, but often the trivial is quantified as a “strategy.” At the International Ethological Congress in Brisbane (1983), for example, it was reported that juvenile fish invest supplementary food in growth and that adult fish, on the other hand, invest it in reproduction. What a surprising result. In fact, there is hardly another reasonable alternative.

Finally, sociobiology is responsible for confusing levels of action by using psychological concepts to explain and interpret genetic phenomena. This confounding has even led sociobiologists to such absurd conclusions as that there is no such thing as altruism. Starting from the fact that only genetic survival counts—which no scientist will gainsay—organisms are considered as acting appropriately only when their behavior increases their inclusive fitness. This has all been put together to form the concept of “selfish behavior” and sympathy, friendship, and charity are considered as illusions not existing in reality. This is a shocking conclusion, because we are, of course, constructed to experience love subjectively and friendship and, spurred on by such feelings, we will even sacrifice ourselves for certain fellow beings. Nor does this contradict the fact that, in so doing, we also act adaptively, that is, propagating our genes. Support and cooperation are strategies in the struggle for existence, and the corresponding emotions have developed to serve these strategies. Thus friendship exists next to competition, and it is wrong to maintain that an organism only seeks advantages at the expense of others. It is a dangerous and misleading simplification to say that everything which we term cooperation is simply a mixture of opportunism and exploitation and that given the opportunity to act in its own interest, only cold calculation restrains an organism from subordinating or even killing its brother, spouse, parents or children.[1]

Summary 2.4

The cost-benefit calculations of sociobiologists demonstrate that altruistic behavior be maintained via individual and kin selection. Mathematical models stimulate hypothesis formation. This promising new development in ethology, however, has exposed itself unnecessarily to criticism because of its uncritical speculations. The statement that no truly altruistic behavior exists because in terms of his own fitness an altruist is always behaving selfishly is a result of a confusion of levels. Even if the altruist contributes to the propagation of his own genes by self-sacrifice for offspring and relatives, on the behaviorally and psychologically experienced level he acts unselfishly or altruistically. Empathy, sympathy, and related emotions are experienced and observed and thus truly exist. That they contribute to evolutionary fitness is quite consistent with the fact that one can behave in a genuinely altruistic manner. Furthermore, the uncritical citing of extreme examples (such as langur infanticide) cannot be used to support the contention that biological evolution proceeds basically as a battle of everyone for himself. Man especially extends his family ethos to the group, and his emotional and behavioral repertoire allows him to join with others in closed groups that behave as a unit and thus act as units in biological selection. The human propensity for indoctrination, war ethos, and the ethos of sharing lead to the fact that individual interests are often subjugated to those of the group. In humans, at least we can discern various levels of selection: individual, kin, and group selection.


3. Metholdology

3.1. Gestalt Perception and Cognition

Research proceeds from perceptions. These, without doubt, depict an extra- subjective reality with a more or less refined screen. Because of programs inherent to our cognitive apparatus, our perception interprets and reconstructs the perceived world from the sensory data. We interact, so to speak, with our world on the basis of hypotheses, which evolved since they “fitted” and thus were not weeded out by selection (K. R. Popper, 1973). Such built-in biases can lead our perception astray, as many of the visual illusions demonstrate (p. 5). But since we are able to interact with our environment dialogically and approach a problem from different angles, we can find out about illusions and thus the working of our brain. Thus, by measuring the two lines, which we perceive as different in length in the Miiller- Lyer Illusion, we can find out that they are in fact equal in length.

Even though our perceptions are biased and reflect hypotheses about our external world, they do so fairly accurately since they were tested during the course of evolution. Cognition has even been gauged over the course of evolution to recognize regularities, an important predisposition for scientific discovery (K. Lorenz, 1959). Gestalt perception abstracts the incidental and sharply resolves the general elements that characterize not only an individual object but an entire object class. From the many fleeting impressions of our visual perceptions the shared features finally emerge as a mental template of the “ideal” type or “rule” (see Section 9.1). It is evident that there is a strong selection pressure acting upon perceptual performance, for it is vitally important for an animal to recognize objects of relevance under varying conditions. The processes underlying our perception are, as K. Lorenz (1959) stated, analogous to rational operations of reasoning. Therefore, one also speaks of ratiomorphic ability. Gestalt perception allows us to directly grasp the regularity immanent in complex natural events, that is to filter it from the background “noise” information that is simultaneously transmitted by our sensory organs and perceptual apparatus (K. Lorenz, 1959, 257). We grasp such relationships of regularity “intuitively,” and this cognitive ability cannot be substituted by the most detailed quantifications. Yet we must not forget that “configurational pressure,” “suggestive tendency,” may falsely make us perceive a phenomenon as real that other investigational procedures show to be illusory.

Perception is not the only trap awaiting us. Our thought processes also follow specific pathways, leading us to think in contrasts or opposites and thus polarize our thought. This tendency is an ordering process of the brain, using contrast to bring out antitheses and thus foster orientation and clarity while at the same time simplifying our conception of the world.

Our daily life, as our political thinking, is controlled by this polarization. Even scientific work is subject to its effect. We like “clear” positions with sharply delineated opposing arguments, and we will create an opposing view if none exists by settingup “straw men.” The nature-nurture controversy (p. 19) provides a good example. Such polarization need not only be seen in negative terms. Opposing views stimulate thought, and for this reason we overstate our position, thereby fostering more controversy. Yet we must be aware that in such cases we tend to artificially exaggerate the opposing position in order to provoke a response.

Monocausal thought is another bias in thinking that often misleads us in daily life as well as in our research. It is certainly important for an organism to determine the immediate cause of some event quickly, and the assumption that something has a cause has stood the test in evolution. Thus in our life and research we tend to elucidate the “cause.” This sort of reductionism, into which we get easily trapped by our monocausal thinking, is not to be confused with the legitimate reductionism of any of the natural sciences, which attempt to proceed from the exploration of the special case to the extraction of more general rules and which endeavors to explain events of a higher level of integration by reduction to the more basic laws. Thus, biologists, in an analytical-reductionistic approach, intend to understand phenomena of life, such as the function of a neuron down to the level of biochemistry and finally to elementary chemical processes. We must remain aware, however, that with each level of integration new system characteristics show up that can not be explained by the characteristics of the lower levels. Understanding the function of the neuron helps us to understand many peculiarities of behavior and its pathologies, but certainly it is only of limited value in understanding differentiated social interactions at a higher level. Any “nothing-but- ism” must be avoided.

Assessment biases can profoundly influence our judgment as well. Thus we interpret involutions (evolutionary processes by which differentiations get lost) negatively and always speak of the more differentiated organisms as the higher ones (K. Lorenz, 1983).

Therefore, we certainly cannot speak of observation and research completely free of all bias, since in scientific study we utilize a device whose perception, developed through the course of evolution, already has predisposed judgments based on phylogenetic experience. We can detect the resulting deficiency of interpretation by analyzing reality from different angles. We are also capable of detaching our thought from emotions, thus creating a field without tension which enables the free experimental play of fantasy to occur with a relatively objective orientation. Thanks to differential hemispherical specialization of the cerebral cortex (p. 106), we are finally in a position to observe ourselves, so to speak, by means of a central mirror. Thus when scientists speak of the virtue of unbiased observation, they mean primarily the decoupling of individual prejudices resulting from personal experience.

Another handicap results from our inclination (disposition) to adhere to hypotheses even when we begin to doubt their validity. To understand this tendency one must realize that hypotheses serve as aids in orientation. They present a view of the world that confers security, since they make the world predictable. For example, hunter-gatherers project such a grid of orientation upon their world as can be seen in religious practices of the Kalahari Bushmen. The Bushmen explain disease as caused by invisible arrows that evil forces (demons or enemies) shoot into the bodies of the sick. This hypothesis provides a basis for treatment. The bushmen believe that they can extract these invisible arrows by a curing ritual. To achieve the power to do this, the curers have to put themselves in a state of trance, which they achieve by a dance. The patient is thus helped psychologically— he believes in the ritual and thus is relieved from fear and tension, which, of course, has a positive effect on his state of health. Hypotheses, such as these, may thus be the basis on which religious practices are developed and these practices may later serve as markers of group identity. This function may make them resistent to rational contestation. The unfortunate inclination of man to convert theories from the field of economy and sociology into quasi-religious “Weltanschauungen” is commonly known.

Summary 3.1

Since man perceives and processes sensory data by means of programs which are given as phylogenetic adaptations, there is no such thing as purely objective perception and research. But the hypotheses underlying perceptive ability have been tested over the course of evolution in real situations, so we can state that in general they are valid biases as long as they are compatible with specific environmental conditions relevant for us. Although our perception is not free of distortions, it generally discerns relationships accurately. Those areas in which we are deceived or that are oversimplified by our perception, can be handled by using measurements and observation from other perspectives. Gestalt perception, in particular, remains an important source of cognition, even if we are sometimes misled by some of its features (e.g., the suggestive tendency). A certain proclivity toward getting trapped into dogmatic attitudes stems from our tendency to create order which presses us to categorize and classify in a polarizing fashion, and, in addition, by our inclination for monocausal explanation and our reluctance to discard hypotheses.

3.2. Methods of Data Gathering, Observation, and Description

Data have to be gathered in such a way as to allow other researchers to follow the procedure and thus check the results of others. We often use technical means of data sampling (such as film and sound recordings) in the interest of objectivity. Other means of maintaining objectivity are the use of random sampling with a table of random numbers for subject selection (p. 148) and utilizing technological apparatus to analyze data.

Objectivity is enhanced with distanced observation, a methodology perfected by animal ethologists. H. Hass (1968) said that the observer of human behavior should put himself in the position of someone from another planet. However, participatory observation is also important because we can gain information on peoples’ inclinations, desires, and objectives through introspection and as well as through participation with them and subsequent questioning of their behavior. This method is preferred by many researchers and they even discard distanced observation as, in their opinion, it cannot provide any clues on the real intentions of the observed individual. To argue for the use of one or another method alone is inappropriate since both observation methods have their own strengths and weaknesses. I can usually quickly discover via participatory questioning which ideas and objectives guide my subjects’ behavior, assuming the subjects are not lying, although formulating the correct questions to elicit the answer is not always easy. However, subjects’ initial responses to questions should not necessarily be taken as thoroughly conclusive. For example, the researcher is poorly advised if he is content with a Hopi Indian’s explanation that the rain dance exists to make it rain, because he would at best consider the dance to be a ritual without real function since it does not bring forth the longed-for rain. Here distanced observation can help by showing that such rituals serve to bring together the group in times of emergency by reinforcing group bonds and group identity and foster cooperation. In this way, we gain insight into the selective advantage of this ritual.

N. A. Chagnon (1968, 1974) states in a series of studies that territorality or defense of territory would not explain warfare among Yanomami Indians. He ar- 107 gues that wars are not fought to hold competing groups at a distance and to secure hunting grounds, but, as his Yanomami informants told him, to abduct women (Chagnon, 1968). After further research, he reported (1974) that wars are fought to maintain the sovereignty of the Yanomami villages but not to acquire hunting territories or other life necessities. The first reason given by the Yanomami, that wars are fought to abduct women, may be perfectly correct in terms of individual motivation, but the observer must further investigate the selective advantages of warfare. Individual motivation and fitness-sustaining performance are not necessarily congruent. M. Harris (1979) pointed to the fact that availability of animal protein is a limiting factor for the Yanomami. As village size increases, so does the energy expended on hunting (K. Good, 1980). Insufficient hunting success results in a buildup of tension, and we observe that quarrels arise and villages begin to break up when they reach a certain size. Furthermore, intergroup aggression motivates individual groups to maintain a certain living distance between themselves. This effect is what counts regardless of individual motivation. The intergroup tension prevents the exhaustion of the resources of Yanomami territories. Thus there may be multiple motivations and causes for warfare at the individual level (proximate cause) to obtain women and at the group level (the ultimate cause) to space groups in the jungle. In explaining such practices as warfare, we must be careful to avoid the above-mentioned tendency to explain a phenomenon by a single hypothesis.

Each ethological investigation begins with the description and documentation of the behavioral patterns under study. The ethogram, as the behavioral inventory is called, thus obtained is the basis of further work. Generally the unprejudiced observer has no difficulty sorting out specific recurring behavioral patterns as units from the flow of behavior observed. We note that the subject smiles or cries, reaches for objects or greets someone. We formulate greeting as a category as well as the simpler behavioral components that comprise the entire greeting ceremony (smiling, rapid brow raising, head nodding, and hand extension). The ethograms of different researchers utilize different principles of organization, and there is an attempt to categorize descriptively according to behavioral pattern (of smiling, rapid brow raising, etc.). Categories are generally named after the appearance of the behavior pattern but occasionally in terms of the muscles used in the action. Often, as in laughing and crying, the pattern is already categorized and named even prior to any scientific description. Categorization is often based on function, a procedure requiring prior knowledge on the part of the researcher. Concerning social behavior, our knowledge of function is often founded on intuition. Functional categories of this kind include greeting, courting, comforting or appeasing. If such category names are used, they must be precisely defined and their function also verified. Furthermore, the researcher must be aware of the fact that range of a category can vary due to the hierarchical organization of behavior. A greeting consists of several behavioral patterns such as head nodding, smiling, rapid raising of the eyebrows, and more.

Behavioral patterns were not always clearly worked out in the early child ethograms, so different authors developed entirely different listings. E. C. Grant (1968, 1969) lists 118 behavioral patterns in his child ethogram. N. G. Blurton-Jones (1972) lists 31, W. C. McGrew (1972) lists 42, and C. R. Brannigan and D. A. Humphries (1972) lists 136.

The choice of categories depends upon the researcher’s individual formulation of the problem. In their study of friendship development, M. Lewis et al. (1975) listed body contact (touch), nearness, gazing, smiling, offering and taking away toys, sharing, and partner-directed aggression. This inventory sufficed for their analysis of children 1 to 2 years old, but it required expansion for older children. The similar study done by G. Attili, B. Hold, and M. Schleidt (1982) on 3- to 6- year-old children included the additional categories of support, assistance, and the taking of initiatives.

In all cases it is important to define one’s categories. This includes a precise, empirical description of the bodily movements within a spatial reference system, which in the case of interaction must naturally include the communicating partner. The distance and orientation between partners must be noted. Further, it must be taken into account that the speed of the occurring pattern can also define a behavior. Thus, a slow turning away from the communicating partner in the sense of a gradual opening of a dyad initiates parting from each other, while rapid turning away oftens signals some sort of offense (insult, irritability). The meaning of contact and pushing are also specified by the speed with which they are carried out against the partner.

Depending upon the context, a light body blow may signify admonition or punishment but also be a friendly gesture. One must examine the social context of the situation and have some knowledge of prior events. Did the children fight with each other before? Have they been friends for a long time? Our predisposition will effect our interpretation of an observed situation. Individual biases can be removed by comparing results with others. For example, films of scenes can be viewed by different observers.

Social environment is not the only reference for assessing behavior. K. Grammer (verbal commun.) found out that the children of a kindergarten group would show quite different attention structure within closed rooms than in the garden outside. A particular problem for the evaluation is the coding of movements (H. M. Rosenfeld, 1982). Fear of perceptual deception (for which cross-observer reliability checks only helps locate individual errors) justified striving for objectivity. It was argued that analytical instruments are not deceived and thus ethologists make use of measuring and calculating devices to best approach reality.

Sometimes this is indeed the only way we can achieve a research goal. So far it has not been possible to develop a satisfactory objective notation of movement patterns by position coding of body and body parts on a body coordinate system (top-bottom, right-left, anterior-posterior; I. Golani, 1969; R. Laban, 1965). Apart from the fact that “descriptions” of organs and body movements using angles, spatial relationships, and positions are difficult to grasp (unless we grossly simplify), such descriptions often fail to capture the essential behavioral components. A person in a lecture hall can greet a friend with a slight turn of the palm without lifting the arm from the desk. The friend, and any neutral observer, would understand this as a greeting. During a lecture intermission, the same person would execute the greeting differently, because he would not have to limit himself to a discreet greeting intention movement. He could raise the entire arm and even wave with the greeting hand. In a spatial/temporal notation system, the two behaviors appear as something completely different, so rejecting our perceptual integrative capacity in favor of supposed objectivity misleads the researcher. However, the physical description of the event in everyday language allows us to describe the facts comprehensibly. A temporary turning of the palm toward some- 109 one (one must measure and cite its duration) is used as a greeting gesture in our culture. The movement can be executed intentionally at various intensity levels, and the placement of upper and lower arm can vary considerably.

The turning of the palm toward someone for a particular period of time is the relevant characteristic for this type of communication. Details of the behavioral sequence and context allow us to distinguish a greeting palm turn from a rejecting hand position.

Even such characteristics can be better described by direct verbal account than with one of the so far utilized current notational systems. This also holds for the mimic expressions accompanying greeting and rejection.

R. L. Birdwhistell (1960, 1973) made a microanalysis of the behaviors comprising an expression. He assumed that specific movements are comparable to speech phonemes. His laborious analyses have not led to any further results.

Behavioral patterns are temporal structures characterized by a particular sequence of events (muscle actions). The patterns of nonverbal expressive movements are characterized by form constancy, i.e., constancy of the relative phase interval of the muscle contractions responsible for the underlying movement (see review, p. 25). Thus for the observer a behavior pattern is recognizable as a certain pattern at any time regardless of whether it is simply an intention movement (merely implying what the person intends to do) or a fully executed expressive movement. If I record the temporal sequence of the muscle contractions as a sort of musical score, by assigning each muscle a number, I can describe movements with a terminology that can be understood by another investigator. Such a system has proved useful for facial expressions.

P. Ekman et al. (1971a, b) developed a coding system using C. H. Hjortsjo’s (1969) method of describing facial movements according to muscle action. They determined the individual facial muscles causing visible changes of expression and assigned numbers to these muscles. They also grouped various synergistic muscles as “action units” (see p. 447). Mime is particularly well suited for this kind of recording, since the muscle contractions on the face are particularly understandable once one has mastered Ekman’s system.

There is no consensus as to what level behavioral analysis should begin. Should one work in increasing order from the most elemental behaviors? J. A. van Hooff (1971), and S. Frey and J. Pool (1976) claim that starting at the bottom is best because the smallest units are easiest to characterize precisely. They can also be used to construct higher behavioral levels. On the other hand, U. Kalbermatten and M. von Cranach (1980) believe there is no synthetic formulation stating which behavioral units should be combined into higher systems. Thus it would be more appropriate to move downward through the behavioral organization. M. von Cranach et al. (1980) start their behavioral analysis from complex goal-directed behavior. They define as behavior every human act characterized by goal orientation, consciousness, planning, and intention (U. Kalbermatten and M. von Cranach, 1980). This behavioral position may seem problematic if we try to apply it to childrens’ behavior or in cross-cultural comparisons, wherein the distant observer can at best draw his own conclusions about consciousness, planning, and intention but cannot usually verify them. Yet, I think that their action-theoretical approach is also suitable for objective analysis, since one can determine via observation that there are behaviors extending over longer time periods and which 110 apparently terminate because some recognizable goal was achieved. For example, when a desired object is finally acquired, a request granted, or a consummation permitted.

For the observer it is initially unimportant whether the goal is sought consciously or not. What is essential is to determine a behavioral sequence defined by initiation and termination point. The flow of actions and a terminating goal can be broken down into components, and M. von Cranach et al. (1980) speak of behavioral steps. The act of preparing breakfast consists of a series of behavioral steps (such as cooking eggs, preparing coffee) defined by their intermediate goals, and separable into their component behavioral subunits. One grinds the coffee, lights the stove, fills the kettle with water, etc.

Each of these acts consists of a series of complex functional action units within an unmistakable hierarchical organization. Units at upper levels each incorporate several of those at the lower levels, and behavioral diversity decreases at lower levels. Component acts and goals are defined functionally, and some behavior sequences are stereotyped, while others display a great amount of variability. Sometimes they are ordered linearly, and then one act follows another as if keeping to a given track.

There are also behavioral ramifications that permit various pathways to be used to attain a single goal. For example, I can gain a desired object by requesting it, demanding it with threats, or even snatching it from another. When I am driving to a meeting I can take the shortest route or divert my travel if I hear of an accident on the radio. All these possibilities are available to me like behavioral recipes, and the richer my repertoire, the more possibilities I have at my disposal for achieving objectives and the greater my competence. Thus a behavior can be understood as a part of a network.

M. von Cranach et al. (1980) use the term ‘‘strategy” to indicate the subjective representation of the behavioral pathway network chosen on the basis of preference to attain one final goal. I prefer a somewhat narrower conception of strategy. When we observe that aggression is warded off, we find that various pathways with many different behavioral steps may be effective. Thus I find it more useful to describe alternate behavioral possibilities as strategies of warding off aggression and not just to speak of one strategy. A strategy would then be the attainment of a final objective through choosing one of several possible series of behavioral steps. They could in their entirety be described as the strategic repertoire for the particular individual involved.

The concept of tactics is used for subordinate units composed of several behavioral steps. Whether this concept is useful can only be determined in individual cases. The delineation of behavioral sequences as worked out by M. von Cranach et al., in the form of a series of behavioral steps within a pathway network, is particularly useful in describing human actions. We will cite examples of universal interaction strategies later (p. 493).

The starting point of any behavioral description is the concrete event. If this is a social interaction, let us say between mother and child, then we have to consider this event as an interaction which reflects a relationship which grew in time and not just as an isolated situation. In order to understand the quality of this relation and the variables by which it is determined we need to study more than just one interaction between the individuals concerned. And since we want to learn about the patterning of the mother-child interaction of the culture or species concerned in more general terms, we need, of course, to describe other mothers 111

interacting with their children. Mother and child are also part of a community, whose social structure can be derived from the great variety of interactions between its members. Behavioral description thus involves various levels of abstraction and integration. A conceptual scheme relating interactions, relationships, and group structure was outlined by R. A. Hinde and J. Stevenson Hinde (1976).

Summary 3.2

“Objective” and participatory methods of observation complement each other. Human ethology uses both, but in “natural contexts” it places special emphasis on distanced observation. Individually recognizable units of behavior must be described and named. Interpretive terms are permissible only when the implied function is also verified. Nomenclature and description must also account for the hierarchical organization of behavior. The Hjortsjd-Ekman muscle action coding system can be used to describe human facial expressions. Cranach’s pathway network procedure of analysis can be recommended as appropriate for more complex behavioral sequences: a specific behavioral objective can be achieved via various behavioral steps. Several such pathways can be combined into a single network, with each pathway forming a strategy to achieve a goal. The totality of pathways represents the strategic repertoire at the individual’s or species’ disposal for attaining a behavioral goal.

3.1. Film and Sound Documentation

Film and sound records are important means of collecting data. By following a number of basic rules, we can work out documents of events that can serve as evidence for testing hypotheses.

Technical means permit us to record movements objectively and store them in an archive for later study. This is important for the interpretation of behavioral sequences is always prone to subjective tinge. Even an observer attempting to be completely objective describes only those items that appear to be significant to him, and for someone else essential information could be lost. Animal ethologists, ethnologists, and other social scientists have long recognized the importance of film documentation. However, ethnographic material is primarily aimed at documenting skills, dances, and rituals. Hut construction, bread baking, weaving, pottery, hunting, and dancing has been filmed in numerous cultures.[1] However, little work on documentation of unstaged, daily human interaction has been systematically carried out. Film documents of such behaviors as greeting in various cultures, of affectionate behavior of mothers, flirtatious behavior, and infantile aggression resolution are few. Only pioneer studies, like the one of G. Bateson and M. Mead (1942) who studied everyday life of the Balinese, have been conducted. (See also E. R. Sorenson and D. Gajdusek 1966, and E. R. Sorenson 1967.)

When I began searching for universals in human behavior with Hans Hass in the early 1960s, we initially assumed we could trace what we wanted in film archives, since man is the most frequently filmed creature in the world. But when we found this gap we were alarmed, since we knew that the opportunity to gather this documentation on a cross-cultural basis was vanishing quickly because of the rapid change in cultures around due to contact from western societies. This meant that if one missed the opportunity to record daily greeting ceremony in its traditional context, no subsequent reconstruction of it would be possible. Handcrafted artifacts (like mats or pottery) can be analyzed for their construction even if the actual producers’ culture disappeared long ago, but this is not possible for social interactions.

A cross-cultural document must fulfill the following requirements:

1. Films should document everyday reality, that is, unstaged social interactions.

Since people alter their behavior under observation, some technical means is needed to record behavior without distorting it. Dances and rituals are usually an exception to this rule, for they often, but not always, are displayed in public in their natural context, and this diminishes disturbance for the performers. The emphasis on documenting spontaneously occurring events does not imply that staged events must be excluded. To the contrary, we film actors and evoke certain behaviors such as facial expressions in standardized testing situations.

2. The data should be processed in such a way that later researchers can use them for subsequent studies.

A particular bias on the part of an observer could be picked up in subsequent studies. This also demands utmost care in collection and storage of data.

A special film recording technique had to be developed to meet these requirements. Telephotography with lenses aimed directly at subjects was not effective due to the human propensity to be on the alert for what is going on around them (H. Hass, 1968). People look up from their activities at regular intervals and scan the horizon, thus perceiving any objects or events that might affect them, including a camera lens directed toward them. H. Hass developed a reflex lens permitting the photographer to film from the side. The principle is simple: a dummy lens containing a side window is placed in front of the real one. A prism built into this assembly permits photography of objects at right angles to the lens barrel. After testing this device, we started a program for the cross-cultural documentation of human behavior (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt and H. Hass, 1966, 1967; H. Hass, 1968; Figs. 3.1-3.3). More recently, my co-worker D. Heunemann has improved this lens system so that one can even use a zoom lens in conjunction with it.

The use of photographic method is advantageous even in cultures where photography is unknown. A lens aimed directly at a person elicits a fear response even in such cultures. But, if the camera is pointing in a different direction, people do not feel "watched.”

We recommend 16 mm film for picture quality. The frame speed should be chosen depending upon the speed of the ongoing behavior. In addition to the standard 25 frames/second speed, we utilize slow motion (50 frames/second) for analyzing rapidly occurring sequences. The signal effect of expressive behavior is also different at a higher speed: we can observe behavior with more objectivity. Longer behavioral events can be recorded with quick motion photography. With 6 pictures/second, we can record a 40-minute event on a single 120 m roll of 16 mm film. This can be used to document the entire sequence of a ritual, dance, or mother-child interaction and to glean regularities such as movement (stereotypes) that would otherwise escape the observer (H. Hass, 1968); one can count how often a child makes contact with its mother, how far it moves away from the mother in various situations, and other phenomena.


Figure 3.1. (a) Reflex lens showing the window in the dummy lens placed in front of the true lens; (b) reflex lens removed to provide for direct photography.

Figure 3.3. The author films a family at a Bushman hut with the reflex lens. Photo: D. Heunemann.

Figure 3.2. Filming with the reflex lens in Tauwema (Trobriand Islands). A mother with an infant is the subject of my attention. A great deal of film documentation of her behavior was gathered using this method. Photo: R. Kreil.


A second camera can be used to record parts of such sequences at the normal speed. Synchronized sound recordings are also important. Since fall 1976 we use the time coding systems developed by NAGRA and ARR1FLEX. A quartz clock records year, month, day, hour, minutes, and seconds within the camera and the tape recorder independently, that is, without any mechanical connection between camera and sound recorder. On the film, the time is coded between film perforations. A computer linked to the editing table can read the coding off the sound track and the film and coordinate both as well as locate any specified time. Thus the computer can search for the sound track matching a particular film frame or vice-versa.

Every photographic record should include a supplementary protocol noting what behavior preceded the sequence and what followed it. Also important is the noting of whom is participating and what their kinship and social relationship is. For children, careful calculation of age is essential. The context of an event, unless obvious from the photography, should also be recorded. These notes are a necessity for subsequent correlational analyses.

How and what is filmed depends on the questions asked. Were we asking how frequently a behavior occurs in the day, we would have to film at randomly chosen intervals. Since our question, however, deals more with the structure, movement patterns, and strategies used particularly in interactions, we place special emphasis on interactions such as those between mother-child, father-child, and siblings. We usually set up where social interactions will be taking place: near children at play, at the village square where men or women have gathered, near a family beside its hut or garden. In addition to concentrating on certain topics, we attempt to film every social interaction, whether we have recorded it before or not. We also film whenever we expect an event to occur, such as when two people meet, without our knowing what will ensue in their interaction. We also do not restrict ourselves to limited themes. Since we use the same procedure in all cultures, errors are leveled out and thus the recorded material becomes comparable and can be evaluated in many ways. We will demonstrate this later with examples.

It is not always easy to determine when to start and stop filming. When two partners separate or turn away from each other, this is generally an indication that an interaction is ending. But often the partners are merely pausing, and when the camera is turned off the partners may promptly resume their interaction. The photography resumes, but one may have lost essential data during the pause. For this reason it is advisable to have a second quick motion camera running to uninterruptedly record the entire sequence.

Our originals are archived unedited so other researchers can have access to them at a later time. We work only with copies and prepare duplicates for publications. Future workers must utilize this same procedure, since much of our data will not be gatherable again due to the rapid cultural changes occurring in many societies!

Our films are published in cooperation with the Gottingen Institute for Scientific Film as a joint production of the Film Archive of Human Ethology of the Max- Planck-Society and the Encyclopaedia Cinematographica of the Institute for Scientific Film. (See list following the Bibliography.)

A number of traditional societies with different subsistence strategies were selected for our documentation to provide us with information on behavior in societies 115 with different kinds of human social organization. They have been selected to represent a wide a geographical selection as possible.

1. The G/wi, !Ko and !Kung Bushmen of the Kalahari (Botswana and Southwest Africa), who during the first years of our investigations (1970-1975) still lived in small groups as hunters and gatherers. They are relatively peaceful people living on what might be considered a paleolithic subsistence strategy with paleolithic technology.

2. The Yanomami (Waika) of the upper Orinoco and the Serra Parima in Venezuela, who are horticulturists and hunters. In contrast to the Bushmen they are rather belligerent.

3. The Eipo and other Mek-speaking tribes of western New Guinea. They were contacted with an interdisciplinary team initiated by Gerd Koch and Klaus Helfrich, with whom we work closely. At the time of contact these were intact neolithic horticulturists entirely free of external influences.

4. The Himba of Southwest Africa, who as nonacculturated Herero-speaking people are traditional belligerent pastoralists.

5. The Trobriand islanders, a culture of horticulturists and fishermen who, despite civilizing influences, maintain many traditional aspects of their culture.

6. The Balinese as a non-western peasant society.

We visit these sample cultures, if feasible, at regular intervals and work together with ethnologists and linguists.[31] So far we have accumulated about 250 km of movie film.

Some of these projects have been running since 1965, and all are continuing when possible. We also make spot checks of other cultures in addition to these long-term studies. Here we concentrate on recording parent-child relationships, sibling interactions, rituals, and such expressions as surprise, agreement, rejection, and others.

For studying western culture we have installed a video recorder in a public kindergarten, with parental consent, permitting us to record the childrens’ interactions. These studies provide us with a valuable basis for cross-cultural comparisons (K. Grammer, 1988).[32]

Movie film evaluation can be done with different perspectives. Counting the absolute frequency of events, for instance (how often someone laughs in a culture), makes no sense, since our filming is not a random sample. But it is useful to tally frequencies within specific behavioral categories, compare their appearance in individual situations, and to record their effect. Thus, when analyzing our films, Polly Wiessner found remarkable cultural differences in strategies of food requesting and offering in children (p. 503).

Film is the basis for a precise description of behavior for any comparative purpose because it allows the observer to view the interaction again and again and record details of the actions and interrelated actions. (See Fig. 3.4.)

The assessment and statistical analysis of 233 filmed events of rapid brow raising in a contact situation in the Eipo, Yanomami, and Trobriand islanders (using the Hjortsjd and Ekman facial action coding system, p. 447) showed that the pattern of the muscle action were nearly identical in all three cultures.

The phases of onset and offset show little variation both intra- and intercul- turally. Variation occurs only for the duration of maximum contraction and on an interindividual level. There are no intercultural differences. If eyebrow raising is used as an introduction to interaction, the duration is shortest in all three cultures. Thus, in spite of the great differences between test subjects, the eyebrow raising sequence is a rather rigid program, in the sense of an exclamation mark of the face.

Computer analysis showed further that infants, children, and juveniles display less individual temporal variance in eyebrow raising than adults, which indicates a stronger attachment to the biological program of the behavior. Apparently adults learn to add emphasis to eyebrow raising using a voluntarily prolonged contraction amplitude (K. Grammer et al., 1988).

The contraction of the inner and outer forehead muscles is not arbitrarily combined with other facial expressions. Eyebrow raising and smiling and upward movement of the head appear together most frequently, which confirms my original interpretation of the eyebrow raising as “yes to social contact” (eye greeting gesture). This interpretation is even more likely in view of the fact that emotions of rejection, manifested facially by vertical forehead wrinkles above the root of the nose (grim look), are either strongly suppressed (Eipo) or do not appear at all (Yanomami) in some peoples (Fig. 3.5a-c). It is physically feasible for such muscular combinations to occur, since different muscles engage in the action units (p. 456), but great effort is required to do so. Apparently the neuronal connections are different. Vertical forehead wrinkles may occur just before eyebrow raising as a slight expression of skepticism or fear (p. 118).

W. Siegfried’s (1983, 1988) work is another example of using film for behavioral analysis. His phenomenological descriptions of dance led to formulating the hypothesis that dancers develop, stabilize, and vary a binding spatial/temporal structure shared by the dancing group. He tested individual elements of his hypothesis with film that I had collected among several cultures. Siegfried used the courtship dance of the Himba (Fig. 3.6) to work out the construction of a spatial configuration. Young men form a semicircle opposite a second semicircle of young women. Individual men or women jump out of their semicircle for a brief display dance. The men execute high leaps, and the women rotate so that their skirts fly up and for a fraction of a second display their backsides. The development of the spatial/ temporal structure was studied from films of different Bushman dances. In the girls’ “apron flip dance” of the !Ko, the dancers stand in a circle oriented toward 117

Figure 3.4. A greeting with the eyebrow-flash (rapid brow raising) together with smiling and head tossing) of an Eipo woman is illustrated using the facial action coding system (FACS) (P. Ekman and W. V. Friesen, 1978). The frame-by-frame analysis comprises either individual muscle contractions (action units: AU) or muscle groups (action descriptors: AD). In this example, 110 frames were analyzed for the movements of specific muscles. In Frame 1399 the eyebrows are lowered and drawn downward, a motion created by AU4 (brow depressors: depressor glabellae, depressor supercilii, and corrugator supercilii), attaining its apex of contraction shown as the symbol I. We also recorded gazing at the camera (AU59). Thirty-seven frames later (Frame 1436), the eye opening is reduced (AU6 cheek raiser: orbicularis oculi, pars orbitalis) and she smiles (AU 12 lip corner puller: zygomaticus major). Furthermore she opens her mouth slightly (AU25 lips part: depressor labii or relaxation of mentalis or orbicularis oris). All motions are shown at their apex. Orientation toward the camera was also recorded (AU59). Seven frames later (1443) the eyebrows are raised (AU 1 inner brow raiser: frontalis/pars medialis and AU2 outer brow raisers: frontalis/pars lateralis). The upper lids, formerly raised, are now lowered (AU5 upper lid raiser: levator palpebrae superioris, Offset: symbol >). AU6 and AU12 are still at their apex; she has her mouth open (AU25) and begins lifting the head (AU53 onset of head upward: symbol <). In the last frame (1479), AU1 and AU2 are declining and only the smile and the raised cheeks are sustained (AU 6 + 12). AU50 is also engaged as the woman begins speaking and her gaze is still directed at the camera (AU59). Note the onset of smiling preceding eyebrow raising (AU 12) and the termination of AU4. From K. Grammer et al. (1988). Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

the center and they alternate between forward and backward jumps (Fig. 3.7). He recorded the jumps of all the dancers to elucidate the process of their synchronization. Since it is difficult to see in the movie when the foot actually hits the ground (because it sinks into the sand before actually completing a step) and thus seems not to correspond to the dance dynamics, reference frames were those in which the knees were bent at their maximum. This occurs at the dynamic height of the dance, and in most cases it is clearly visible (compare Fig. 3.8). These maximum knee bends were compared for all four dancers in a frame-by-frame study and documented in a sequential record. In Figures 3.9 and 3.10 the initial and terminal phases of the synchronization process are evident. The initially uncoordinated knee bend maximums are synchronized to within l/25th second in the terminal phase of the dance. Knee bending was recorded in middle, front, or rear positions to account for their spatial relationships. Transposing the points to the spatial relationships will reveal the successive development of the shared spacetime structure of the four dancers.

Figure 3.5. (A-C) Frequency distribution of the duration of onset, apex, and offset of the contraction of facial muscles, brow raiser (frontalis, pars medialis) and outer brow raiser (frontalis, pars lateralis). Graphs depict the frequencies with which movements of a specific duration occur in movie frames (one frame lasts 0.04 second). No significant differences exist in the mean values of onset and offset in the three cultures. Frequency distributions are nearly identical with the exception of the duration of apex. For the apex, analysis of duration shows a significant difference; in the Trobriand Islanders, the apex of contraction is significantly shorter than in the Yanomami and Eipo. From K. Grammer et al. (1988). 119


Duration (frames)

Figure 3.5B. See legend on p. 119.


Duration (frames)

Figure 3.5C. See legend on p. 119.


Figure 3.6. The dancing area is defined by the spatial relationship of the dancers. Walther Siegfried used R. Deutsch’s (1979) symbols to depict the formation and variations in spatial configuration in the Himba courtship dance. Men and women form opposite semicircles out of which individual men and women jump in display dances into and out of each other’s dancing space. Finally, the men dance so close to the young women that the latter jump away (once the last man has approached them) to form a new semicircle at a distance from the men. This spatial development ensues over a period of about 20 minutes. The series of drawings was copied directly from film. From W. Siegfried (1988). Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Figure 3.7-3.10. Set-up of the spatial/temporal structure in the girls’ “apron flip dance” of the !Ko (central Kalahari).

Figure 3.7. Sketch of frame 128 of the scene. Dancers are not yet synchronized.

Figure 3.8. Spatial/temporal structure during synchronized dancing.

Figure 3.9. Knee bend maximum was the reference point for the film analysis.

Figure 3.10. Initial and terminal phases of the synchronizing process. Further commentary can be found in the text. After W. Siegfried (1988).


Basic rhythm: Grasshopper dance

Figure 3.11. (a) Tempo stability in the !Ko Bushman grasshopper dance; (b) in a dance group of Munich University medical students (p. 125). The basic rhythm is maintained over a long period with minor deviations. Tempo changes generally took place in stages. The relationships between the various tempos must be studied more closely. According to W. Siegfried there are musical parallels to David Epstein’s (1979, 1983) whole-number relationship. From W. Siegfried (1988).


Basic rhythm: 5 students

.o .« Rhytnmc/.3 uni ts

Figure 3.11. (b) See legend on opposite page.

Figure 3.12. Temporal variations are based on the commonly stabilized basic rhythm. In the !Ko grasshopper dance depicted here, rich variations are superimposed upon the simple basic rhythm. From W. Siegfried (1988).

The tempo stability and variations in temporal structure are shown by film analysis of the grasshopper dance of the !Ko Bushman. This is a mens’ dance in which two dancers each dance in rhythm in front of the team, creating various figures and leaping away over each other (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1972). Once the rhythm is established it is maintained over a long time span with astonishing precision. A wealth of variations is superimposed on the basic rhythm (Fig. 3.12). Siegfried formed an experimental dance group comprised of students attending Munich University. They were also able to maintain the basic rhythm over an extended time. Tempo I was followed by an unstable transitional phase which was then followed by another stable one, Tempo II (Fig. 3.11b).

When dances or other rituals are filmed in their entirety, such longer sequences can be studied for their variability and other characteristics. An example is the comparison of three segments of the Balinese legong dance (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt and H. Kacher, 1982). It portrays the “Pengipuk” phase of the courtship of the Prince of Lasem for Princess Lankesari (Fig. 3.13).

This segment begins with a formal greeting of both dance partners, standing opposite each other diagonally, heads swaying tenderly; it ends with a distinct parting ritual, in which the partners are much closer (and the only time they are immediately opposite each other) and swaying their heads. The ambivalence of the princess versus the prince is shown in dance by the princess’ turning toward or away from him. With a stylized sorrowful posture she expresses her regret at her own rejecting behavior. She is compelled to reject the prince’s advances because she is already promised to another man. Later she reacts to his vigorous courtship with threat expressions, striking him with her fan and elbows, and by avoidance. The tender head swaying executed by both dancers is ritualized nose rubbing, which in Bali is generally an expression of affection. The differentiation of dance, by artistically stylized hand and body movements, is a fine example of man’s striving to design behavior according to our own ideas and to master the body.

The graphs shown here (Figs. 3.14, 3.15) enable readers to follow the course of the dance and to note the regularities and temporal variations taking place. Since the temporal structure of the three dances differs and cannot be shown completely in Figure 3.14 at AT, all three dances were brought into conformity at point Z.

Using the accompanying key (Fig. 3.14) one can tell that all the dances can be divided into the phase sequences A through N. Each phase is characterized by a dance segment involving a place change by the female dancer (black fields) and in place dancing (white fields). These phases are also represented at the right margin by lower case letters (mobile dance segment) and upper case letters (stationary dance segment). The orientation of the dance partners, divided into male and female roles, is also keyed. Each phase is marked by the appearance of specific behavioral patterns (1-10 and T). Timing of the events is shown on the left side of the figure. The behavior patterns are indicated solely by their initial appearance with numerals and with the circular symbol, with which their subsequent appearance is noted.

The following behavioral elements were recorded (Fig. 3.13):

1.The first mutual eye contact of the partners with slight swaying (not indicated separately here). We also did not indicate on the right margin this position of the partners only shortly interrupting the flow of the dance segment.

2.“Sorrow’’ posture following ritualized tear wiping (stationary) S. Stationary dance of the princess with emphasized esthetic body, arm, and hand movements, which portray the feminine attractiveness of the princess.

3. Head swaying as an expression of affection (ritualized nose rubbing). The prince begins with 3 at a distance already in 1 and then again in B. Only suggestions of this movement are indicated by the princess. Prince and princess simultaneously display 3 at a distance during and after E. In Hj and H2 there is a mutual head to head 3, with nose rubbing invitation 5 then following head to head 3. At 9, the confrontation, the couple displays I in Pi and, briefly, 3 in AT, a face to face distinct nose rubbing.

Typical masculine and feminine expressive movements


"Finger trilling” of the prince. The hands are in the initial position with outward turned palms crossing the chest. They are drawn laterally away from the chest as the out-stretched fingers open and close in a scissor-like manner.

Figure 3.13. Frames copied from a test dance sequence: (a) Greeting confrontation 1/1 in phase a; (b) display (T-posture) of the prince and regret (2) of the princess in phase A; (c) head swaying of (3) the prince and (2) princess (phase B); (d) S-posture (phase C); (e) W-posture and back-to-back orientation (phase D); (f) mutual rising (hh) in phase D; (g) mutual knee bending (tt) and S-posture (phase D); (h) finger trilling (4) of the prince (phase E); (i) 4 and w (phase E); (k) prince stamping (k) and princess twice indicating sorrowful expression (2); (1) head swaying of prince and princess (3/3) phase H 1; (m) nose rubbing proposition (5) and rejection (6) phase H; (n) pinching attack (7) phase K; (o) Pinching attack (7) and defense (8) phase K; (p) departure confrontation 9 (3/3) phase M; (q) departure: the prince dances behind the princess and attempts to grab her. This frame was copied from another film. All other frames from the sequences taken from HF63 dance (P, of Figure 3.14).

Figure 3.14. Key to the dance elements of a legong act (Pengipuk). The graph is based on three complete Pengipuk performances. Abbreviations are as follows: Pi = First test dance of couple 1; aT = evening performance before the temple (couple 1); P2 = test performance of couple 2; E = dance elements (1—10); Z = temporal synchrony at H13; a-n, A-L = dance elements. The lower case letters (black areas) designate segments with place changes (stepping dance phases, turns, alternate loops); upper case letters (white areas) are dance phases without place changes. Dance element list: The first clearcut appearance of a behavioral pattern is marked with a numeral and circle symbol. Later, only the circle symbol is shown for the sake of clarity.

(1) Gazing at each other
(2) S = Princess’s posture
(T) T = Prince’s posture
(2) S = Princess’s posture with closed fan = posture of regret (after wiping tears)
(3) • = Head swaying (princess and prince)
C = Prince sway alone
O = Suggested head swaying
(F) Fan closing
(4) Prince’s finger trilling
k Foot stamping
(5) Prince’s nose rubbing
(6) Turning away with rejecting arm movement of the princess
(7) Prince’s pinching attack
(8) Rejecting blow with the fan (and evasive step) of the princess
(9) Prince/princess confrontation: frontal opposition-with head swaying with associated pinching attempt (7) and simultaneous defensive blow (8)
(7) Flight and pursuit with various actions (7) and (8), until the prince seizes her about the hips with both hands and she flees over the stairs
(10) “Angry” foot stamping, after the princess flees.

k(4) is often combined with foot stamping (ritualized stamping) before and after (4) is used for the first time in D after F (fan closing) is used. The prince finger trills toward the princess only in E. In F and G, both stand back to back. (5,6) Nose rubbing with rejecting arm gesture. The princess returns the nose rubbing but always with a rejecting arm gesture. (7,8) Pinching attack with defensive fan strike. (9) Final confrontation. This sole frontal encounter of the entire “Pengipuk”is initiated with a run forward by the prince the start of at segment m. It is presumably a formalized gesture of parting. It ends abruptly at (9),</strong> where couple 1 sway heads (3) but couple 2 does not. (7,8) in segment m: After several pinching attempts and corresponding defensive blows during several curved runs in wide arches to the temple stairs, the prince grabs the princess seven times at the hips to hold her back. She escapes nonetheless striking at him in defense and flees up the stairs into the temple.(10) The prince remains behind, watches the fleeing princess and displays the typical foot stamping (left and right series) (expressions of reproach?). (HvG) In segments Ki and K2 (both couples) (1,2), the princess once more turns arounds at the head of the stairs, and covers her face with her hands. Further discussion in text. From I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt and H. Kacher (1982).

Figure 3.15. This graph depicts the three dances in another form. Here movement elements are shown in vertical column E. Phases and posture keys are on the horizontal axis, with mobile dance segments marked with a black triangle. Black squares indicate the appearance of specific behavioral patterns, a-n = dance segments; (1-10) =</strong> dance elements; A = total dance sequence and posture key; E = element markings. Further commentary in text. From I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt and H. Kacher (1982).

Summary 3.2

Behavioral descriptions from observations are not sufficient documentation. To accurately record what takes place in an interaction, it must be viewed over and over again. We require film footage and sound track evidence of the processes under study and, in general, this is what is lacking. Methodological problems re­sulting from shyness at a camera being pointed at the subject are solved using reflex lenses. We presented a program for the cross-cultural documentation of unstaged social interactions. Special care is taken regarding the collection of sup­plementary data to ensure that these film documents can be used for further studies on the part of future researchers. The original film material is never edited and duplicates are always made from the original film. Fast- and slow-motion filming is done to elucidate patterns that would escape normal observation. The fast­motion procedure is particularly useful for revealing higher order behavioral reg­ularities. Examples of film analyses are given.

3.3. The Comparative Approach

Comparison plays an important role in the biological sciences. After all, it is comparative approach that gave rise to the theory of evolution. It was the com­parison of recent species that gave Darwin the idea that all living organisms are related by descent. It was when he studied the Galapagos finches (Geospizidae, now named Darwin’s finches) that he noted their graded similarity, which he could not accept as mere accident. On the bases of these similarities, he concluded that 132 there existed a relationship between them derived from common descent.

Naturally, common heritage is only one root of similarity in nature. In addition a similar environment can act upon entirely unrelated organisms shaping them in a similar way. Thus all animals that must move through water are adapted to this environment in their body form. They are subject to the same selective forces and thus adapt in parallel directions quite independently of each other. Deep sea fishes, ichthyosaurs, penguins, and dolphins developed similar body form. In such a case we speak of analogous or convergent developments which gave rise to analogous structures, in contrast to homologous structures which derive their similarity from a shared heritage from a common ancestor.

In the century following Darwin, morphologists have confirmed the value of the comparative approach in countless studies and have developed the criteria for distinguishing between homologies and analogies (A. Remane, 1952; W. Wick- ler, 1967b; K. Lorenz, 1978).

The criterion of special quality refers to the formal similarity between com­parable structures. This criterion alone is seldom sufficient to prove homology. But if the compared structures are complex and nonetheless similar in many details and if the species compared differ otherwise in their ecology and life habits, then homology becomes probable.

The second main criterion of position refers to the relative position of a char­acteristic within a larger structural system. Thus vertebrate cranial bones can be identified by their position relative to each other, even if their special form varies from species to species.

The third main criterion is linkage by intermediate forms. This enables us to discern a homology even when there are substantial differences between com­parable structures as, for example, the third digit of the mammalian limb and the hoof of the horse. The fossil record shows that there exists every transitional form from the vertebrate toe to the final horse’s hoof structure.

It is not even necessary to examine the fossil record to document transitional forms, for they can be found comparing present-day species. The vertebrate uro­genital, circulatory, and central nervous systems are all examples of such tran­sitional forms. There is no such thing as primitive organisms, of course, but there are primitive, that is, primordial characteristics.

An auxiliary criterion is that even simple structures are probably homologous if they appear in a large number of closely related species and that they are probably analogous if they appear in unrelated species.

Analogies occur when particular structures occur frequently among organisms sharing the same life habits (carrion feeding, predatory) or among inhabitants of common biotopes (desert, cliff, forest dwellers), independently of the organisms’ systematic position. This is particularly evident when the ancestral forms of the compared species do not have these similarities or had different life habits.

The concepts of homology and analogy are always based upon some point of reference. One and the same organ can be considered homologous from one per­spective and analogous from another. Thus if we regard the penguin wing and the whale forefin as fins, they are undoubtedly analogous adaptations. However if we assess them from the viewpoint of vertebrate extremities, they are naturally homologous. Analogies developing from homologous structures are known as homoiologies.

As well as being able to make comparisons between organisms one can also compare serially organized organs. If we compare the walking legs with the feeding parts of the crab, we find transitions permitting us to conclude that the feeding parts evolved from modified legs. This is known as serial homology or homonomy. 133

Figure 3.16. Behavioral analogies: food begging developed in mammals and birds inde­pendently into a submissive gesture derived from infantile behavior: (a) a low-ranking wolf approaching a high-ranking pack member in a friendly man­ner by pushing his snout against the high-ranking member’s mouth corner, as if begging for food. After R. Schenkel from I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt (1970); (b) a female black-headed gull approaches a male during courtship like a juvenile begging for food. After N. Tinbergen from I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt (1970).

We can also record behavioral similarities among species, and in quite different realms of behavior. Similar behavioral sequences, social structures, norms, per­ceptual processes, drives, and others are examples. As with morphological struc­tures, these similarities can arise in various ways.

When a flightless cormorant (Nannopterum harrisi) returns from fishing to re­place its partner at the nest, it carries a twig, a bundle of seaweed, or some other object and passes it to the partner. The nesting partner takes the material, builds it into the nest, and then changes places with the other bird. If the returning cor­morant did not have an “offering,” it would be attacked and driven off. Apparently this simple ritual, which ethologists would define in human terms as a “greeting ritual,” serves to buffer or inhibit the partner’s aggression.

Comparable greeting rituals are not only found in other animals but in humans as well. It would not be difficult for the unbiased reader to find parallels even in the details of such rituals. For example, humans also present gifts in many greeting ceremonies. However, the similarity between the human and avian ceremonies is by no means based on a common phylogenetic origin but rather on parallel adaptations in related contexts. There are no related transitions in species­comparison; we know that the greeting ritual of the cormorant developed from nest-building behavior and thus has a different origin than offering in human be­havior (p. 351). There are also clear distinctions in the fine details of the two 134 behavioral sequences. However they share the appeasing bond-enhancing function

Figure 3.17. (a) The play-face or relaxed mouth-open face is seen in a playfully wrestling 6-year-old male chimpanzee. He utters no sound and his upper incisors remain covered; (b) a laughing 4-year-old male chimpanzee being tickled by an adult female. He utters soft gasping sounds not unlike human laughter. The upper incisors are often exposed during laughter. The quiet mouth-open face and laughter are related via transitional forms. Photos: F. de Waal, Arnhem Zoo (Netherlands).

of object transfer. In birds and mammals infantile behavior has been molded in­dependently to appeasing gestures. This is different than the similarities observed in the expressive behavior of higher primates and man for whom similar movement patterns with similar function occur in similar contexts. Take, for example, the relaxed open-mouth face (Figs. 3.17-3.20), which is a “play-face” signaling a friendly biting intention. It is seen regularly in small children inviting another child to play or when wrestling together. The mouth is opened so the front of the teeth are displayed. A voiceless rhythmic “h-” “h-h” is often uttered. Pre-speaking infants often make this expression when they playfully strike an adult with a small stick or when they want to wrestle. The above behavior pattern is seen in children throughout various cultures and in similar contexts (Figs. 3.18-3.20).

The formal and contextual similarities suggest that this pattern is homologous and cross-cultural. There is nothing to indicate that the motion might have de­veloped analogously and independently in this form, and nothing speaks in favor of a functional necessity for this particular form of the behavior. This expressive movement is based upon a phylogenetically developed social convention between sender and recipient. The fact that the behavior occurs in various cultures in such a conservatively similar form strongly indicates a phyletic homology.

Figure 3.18. A Kosarek girl (Wahaldak, Irian Jaya/western New Guinea) playfully biting and nibbling an infant, occasionally stopping to watch the infant’s reaction (with play-face). It is clear here that the play-face is derived from an intention movement of playful biting. From a 25 frames/second 16 mm film, frames 1, 27, 42, 71, 92, 95, 136, and 1021 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

We can glean other indications of this from human/nonhuman primate com­parisons. In old world monkeys a very similar “play-face” appears in the same 136 context. It is called the relaxed open-mouth face, which, according to J. A. van

Figure 3.20. (a)-(c) “Play-face” (a) Eipo boy (Irian Jaya/westem New Guinea); (b) Himba infant; (c) Trobriand Islands boy turning toward a small girl in a friendly manner. From 16 mm films. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Hooff (1971), is derived from an intention movement of playful biting and is a phyletic precursor of laughing. In human children laughter often starts with a relaxed open-mouth face (Fig. 3.17).

The open-mouth face bears strong resemblance to smiling. I assume that both are derived from a common root, namely biting intention. The latter can be de­fensive and in old world monkeys is seen in the form of a silent bared-teeth display. Friendly, submissive smiling is often motivated by fear, unlike laughter which is an extroverted, friendly aggressive behavior (Figs. 3.18-3.20).

The play-face is so similar in chimpanzees and humans that each species rec­ognizes its meaning when it is executed by the other (J. A. van Hooff, 1971; see Ethology: The Biology of Behavior). There are also occasional gasping sounds uttered during playful wrestling.

The loud utterance of laughter is derived from an old pattern behavior of mob­bing, in which several group members threaten a common enemy. Thus it is a special case of aggressive behavior and this component retains its original sig­nificance. If we laugh aloud at someone, this is an aggressive act, bonding those who join in the laughter. Common laughter thus becomes a bonding signal between those who are common aggressors.

The kiss is another simple behavioral pattern whose origin can be elucidated through cross-cultural human/nonhuman primates comparisons. Such studies show us that mothers kiss their children affectionately in all cultures known to us. We also noted what we call “kiss feeding” in all cultures that we studied in which babies are fed supplementary food pre-chewed by the mother. This was also pre­viously practiced in western cultures. But kiss feeding is also exercised as a friendly, calming gesture with no nutritional component. In this case the lips are placed on the child’s lips, and the tongue is pushed briefly between the receptively opened lips of the child, without transmitting anything more than saliva. There exists all transitional stages between kiss feeding and kissing, which leads us to presume that kissing was indeed derived from kiss feeding (Figs. 3.21-3.25).

Each partner always behaves in a specific way: the initiator presses his lips against the partner’s and, when the behavior is fully executed, pushes his tongue between the partner’s lips, while the recipient opens his lips and (in complete execution) begins sucking. All transitional forms exist between the complete be­havioral sequence and mere contact with the lips. The kiss also undergoes many culture-specific ritualizations. For example, the hand kiss is a sign of respect when a man greets a woman.

Primate comparisons reinforce the viewpoint that kissing is ritualized kiss feed­ing. Anthropoid apes (gorillas, orangutans, and chimpanzees) kiss feed their young, and chimpanzee friends embrace and kiss feed or greet each other in fleeting mouth- to-mouth contact (J. van Lawick-Goodall, 1975; R. Bilz, 1944; M. Rothmann and E. Teuber, 1915).

While the motherly kiss may be considered universal, little is known about kissing as an expression of heterosexual affection. It is often said that this form of kissing is absent in certain cultures. This could well be, yet that fact would not contradict our viewpoint that kissing is a universal (i.e., preprogrammed) behavior, for man is capable of suppressing innate behavior patterns.

At any rate, there are few observations of kissing in a sexual context, for man generally hides his intimate behavior from public view. It was often stated that the Japanese learned kissing from Europeans, and I believed that myself until I 138 found an old Japanese quote in a work by F. J. Krauss (1965), in which lovers are warned about pressing the tongue between the lips of their partner during intercourse, since there had been cases of women biting off the tips of their lovers’ tongues during orgasm. Thus kissing must have existed in ancient Japan.

My interpretation of kissing as ritualized kiss feeding was dismissed as intuitive speculation by G. Hausfater (1979). He said that he could just as well speculate intuitively that kissing was derived from ritualized grooming, since mammals often lick each other during social grooming. However, I would point out that the formal behavior sequence of kissing and licking is quite distinct, and the existence of all transitional forms between kiss feeding and kissing have been documented. It is true that behaviors derived from body care can be used as affectionate expressions, including licking, tender biting, and nibbling, but their behavior sequence looks quite different from kissing.

The same methods used to distinguish homologies and analogies in animal spe­cies can be used in cross-cultural research. Thus individual similarities can be interpreted as related or analogous ones (examples in Chapter 6).

Just as zoologists are often asked to what extent they can "Transpose” animal findings to humans, so we are often asked to what extent findings from one culture may apply to others.

As we stated initially, although we only gain working hypotheses from studying one species, which must be tested for its reliability when applied to another species, we do not blindly apply to one culture what we have found in another. We can only detect graduated similarities and differences between cultures which are in­vestigated in any of a number of ways (i.e., from ontogeny or experimental re­search). Cultures present in themselves an experiment, such as when socialization practices are guided by some specific ideal. In this context the notable investi­gations of M. E. Spiro (1979) on the development of sex roles in the kibbutz (p. 279) should be mentioned.

For a long time it was thought that behaviors defined as homologous (using the criteria mentioned earlier) were always phylogenetic adaptations (i.e., innate). In the animal world, homology as a rule also indicates that bearers of homologous traits are genetically related. There are however also homologies of tradition, which must be treated distinctly from those that are phyletic (W. Wickler, 1967b).

This distinction between phyletic and traditional homologies is particularly im­portant for humans, but it also applies in some animals. For instance, many song­birds learn their song from their parents and pass it on to their offspring. Their song is homologous to that of the parents according to all standard criteria, for its basic information is handed over by him. This same process is found in human speech. Using homology criteria, linguists established long ago that there are re­lationships between languages, although they are not genetic in nature. Chinese learned by a European is homologous to native Chinese, but it is learned via tradition. One cannot use homology criteria alone to determine whether a given similarity is homologous by tradition or phylogeny; additional information is re­quired regarding the ontogeny or genetics of the characteristics under consider­ation. Homology criteria only indicate that a common source of information has been tapped (W. Wickler, 1967b, p. 429).

As a rule, homologies of tradition are restricted in humans to individual groups, for which language is a telling example. One refers to Germanic or Indoeuropean languages and peoples.

But if homologous characteristics occur in all cultures and human races, then there is a high probability that they are phyletic in nature, since traditioned patterns 139

Figure 3.21A. !Ko Bushman woman calming her small half-sister with kiss feeding. The infant opens its mouth upon contact with her lips, and a morsel of melon is pushed into the mouth. From a 50 frames/second 16 mm film, frames 1, 13, 45, and 50 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Figure 3.21B. A Yanomami mother kiss feeding her 3'//-month-old infant with pre-chewed banana. The infant opens its mouth receptively at the mother’s approach. From a 50 frames/ second 16 mm film, frames 1, 24, 67, and 97 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl- Eibesfeldt.

Figure 3.21C. Oral affection. A small Blit girl (Mindanao, Philippines) elicits her father’s attention by biting him on the shoulder. He kisses her, and she opens her mouth just as in food intake. From a 25 frames/second 16 mm film, 1, 114. 132, and 200 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

change within a few generations, as the rapid evolution of languages clearly doc­ument. Facial expressions are a good example of phyletic homology. Similar expressions occur in all cultures in similar situations and with similar consequences.

One occasionally encounters the objection that cross-cultural similarities might arise solely by chance, as the number of possible expressions are limited by the number of facial muscles activating those expressions.

In fact, the number of possible muscle combinations is much greater than the number of expressions actually observed. If we assume that a facial expression consists of four simultaneously occurring muscle movements and the number of possible combinations is 23, then the total number of combinations would already amount to 8855 different facial expressions.

Clearly, the regular appearance of such simple behavioral patterns as smiling or any other expressive gesture could hardly be attributed to adaptations developed independently in so many cultures. That this behavior and not just any movement of the corner of the mouth signals a friendly demeanor is a historical fact based upon phylogenetically evolved “convention.”

We argue the topic of homologies similar to the way the archeologist assesses the relics of ancient civilizations. Similarities in the blade of stone axes alone would not suggest cultural relationships between the groups sharing that blade shape, for blade function is not highly variable and it is likely that different cultures would develop a similar blade shape independently. But a definite, nonfunctional form of pottery or a distinctive ceramic ornamentation would suggest the presence of cultural interaction. Verbal similarities also indicate relationships, such as the various words for mother (mater, Mutter, madre, mere) or father (pater, Vater, 141

Figure 3.22. G/wi girl kiss feeding a baby girl with saliva and water. At first the infant accepts the offer and smiles (frames 817-859), but she rejects the second feeding attempt. From a 25 frames/second 16 mm film frames 1, 734, 817, 831, 859, 970, 979, and 1005 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

pere) and in the numerals for two (dva, zwei, dos); it is unlikely that these are chance similarities.

Human ethology uses the comparative method for various objectives at different comparative levels and with various systematic categories. The discipline compares not only behavioral patterns but also perceptual processes, motivational mech- 142 anisms, ethical norms, and more.

Figure 3.23. Yanomami girl tenderly kiss feeding her small sibling with saliva. From a 25 frames/ second 16 mm film, frames 1, 54, 124, 127, 129, and 219 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Our comparative studies are not only used to discover homologies. I mention this because one hears repeatedly that “relevant” data for humans can only be gleaned from the closest related organisms, and whatever occurs in greylag geese or cichlid fishes would add to our general edification but not to the understanding of human behavior. The idea that comparative research be concerned only with phyletic or cultural relationships can be fallacious. Therefore, I wish to emphasize that the study of analogies provides insights into general conformities arising from specific functions which are generally valid for the formulation of the basic laws that govern them. Thus the flight organs of insects, birds, and mammals reflect the general laws of aerodynamics to which these organs must conform; we could even include the manmade artificial “flight organs” (airplane wings) in a com­parative study of analogies, and the field of “biotechnology” demonstrates the usefulness of this type of study. 11

Figure 3.24. Kiss feeding in the Himba (Kaokoland, Southwest Africa). Grandmother and granddaughter kiss feeding. The child gives its grandmother a small tidbit, with the child’s extended tongue clearly visible. From a 50 frames/second 16 mm film, frames 1, 72, 110, and 147 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

We also inquire into rituals, social structures, and other features of behavior (W. Wickler, 1967b), using the comparative method. The comparative study of such phenomena particularly in animal groups, which are otherwise not closely related, provides insights into the functional laws underlying these behaviors. This is helpful in understanding, for example, the bond-strengthening rituals as well as social structures.

Melvin and Carol R. Ember (1979) made an excellent study of convergence. They examined the question of why marriage is an institution in all known cultures. However a cross-cultural approach alone would not provide the desired cues, since there are too many other universals that could provide an explanation. Thus the Embers’ broadly based study encompassing many species—theirs was a ran­dom selection of various birds and mammals—provided the needed answers: het­erosexual partnerships develop wherever the need of the mother to obtain her nutrition interferes with the care of the young. The duration of this bond is de­pendent upon the parental care time. Other examples of this type of study are found in W. Wickler and U. Seibt (1981) and G. E. King (1980).

Apart from the origin of a convergency, we can also gain insights into functional laws. Phylogenetic and culturally developed behavioral patterns may even be compared for this purpose.

If we compare the form and origin of friendly bonding mechanisms within a broader context, we find that affectionate behavior does occur between adults 144 wherever brood care behavior exists. Here those bonding behaviors occur which

Figure 3.25A. Affectionate kiss feeding in animals also occurs, (a-d) An Eipo woman greets a small pig, carried by another person, by kiss feeding with her saliva. From a 16 mm film. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Figure 3.25B. The kiss, derived from kiss feeding: (a) !Kung Bushman woman kissing the earlobe of an infant. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt; (b) Party chief Nikita Khrushchev greets his American host with a kiss on the cheek. From a UPI photo; (c) Feeding as a friendly courtship behavior. From an advertisement in the German magazine Bunte Illustrierte (1968, p. 20). Drawing by H. Kacher from I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt (1970). developed primarily in the mother-young relationship. Thus behaviors derived from mother-young patterns are preferred in facilitating the bonding between the adults: childlike appeals and care for others. When a male sparrow courts a female, he shakes his wings like a begging juvenile, eliciting feeding. The partners change roles, and the females in turn “begs” and elicits feeding behavior from the male. This courtship feeding is seen in many bird species, often in such purely a symbolic manner as billing.

Courting European male hamsters utter the nestling’s contact calls when they pursue a female. There are many more examples of this derived infantile behavior (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1970, 1987). In human courtship we similarly find infantile- derived behavior (p. 243).

The parallels above are pure analogies. Birds and mammals developed parental care independently. With it, mother-child signals became a preadaptation for a higher form of sociability. Our cooperative life as humans would never have been possible without this fundamental “invention.”

The behaviors of bonding and personal care we are disposed to are derived from a repertoire of parental care behavioral patterns and the infantile appeals that release such behavior. Even our group ethos is an extension of family ethics. The extraordinary difference between sociability in birds and mammals versus other, parental caring species, becomes clear when one studies the social inter­actions of the latter. For instance, the Galapagos iguanas are gregarious animals; they lie about by the hundreds, beside and on top of each other on the rocks. But they truly live beside and not with each other, for they have no expression of friendliness toward each other. They do not feed each other, scratch one another, or mutually lick each other. All communication is restricted to display behavior. Males intimidate their rivals and even females with displays; they have no other way to court. Iguanas have no inclination to friendly behavioral patterns. Such behavior did not appear until parental care developed (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1970).

Our position that brood care behavior led to the development of higher forms of social communication is reinforced by the social insects, where feeding derived from parental care maintains group cohesion.

As the previous examples show, the study of analogies makes clear certain relationships and distinctions. Thus in comparing social insects and the higher vertebrate communities we find that individualized bonding is not the basis of community structure in insects but are significant for birds and mammals. This personal bonding (love, in the narrower sense) developed primarily as an adaptation serving mother-offspring bonding (see p. 167) and is the foundation of friendship and love.

Remarkable analogies are revealed by cultural comparison. Thus I found in the Himba of southwest Africa rituals of discipline maintenance whose special meaning only became clear in comparison with similar rituals in other cultures. The Himba are a Herero-speaking people living as cattle breeders in the most traditional man­ner. Each kraal community has a headmen, and the kraals are joined by a chieftain hierarchy into a tribe, which unites in times of emergency as a warring unit. This is of utmost importance for a pastoralist people widely scattered over an arid region. Cattle are a prized possession that must be defended. The Himba have often been attacked by Hottentots, and only their reprisals afforded them pro­tection. Occasionally they must also conquer new grazing lands, which also re­quires a concerted military effort. But it is not possible to simply call forth military 146 readiness on command at the moment it is required. Military preparedness and obedience must be fostered in daily life, and the Himba practice it on an ongoing basis with their so-called milk ritual “Okumakera.” The kraal members are not permitted to consume milk as soon as they have completed milking their cows. They must first appear before the headmen with their milk, for he is officially the owner of all the cows. They offer their milk vessels to the headmen, and he either takes a sip of it or symbolically sticks his finger in the milk, and only thereafter it is free for use. The morning milk ritual reinforces the dependency and thus subordination of kraal members to the headmen’s leadership on a daily basis. Each day his rank is thus reaffirmed, and if someone were to rebel against this system (something I never observed), he would be subject to appropriate disci­plinary measures. The hat of provincial governor Gessler mounted on a stick which William Tell refused to greet probably fulfilled the same purpose.

Comparable rituals of discipline maintenance are well known in our culture. The military morning and evening roll call with flag saluting and the assemblies in schools and other organizations throughout Europe, the Americas, and Japan are all examples.

The Himba also foster military preparedness and obedience training by culti­vating heroic traditions. This is done unobtrusively at social gatherings using tales and praise songs about heroic models. The warring European nations maintained similar heroic sagas and battle songs. Such customs are absent in cultures lacking a warring tradition; in the Bushmen of the Kalahari I never heard heroic praise songs or observed rituals of obedience maintenance.

Linguists and ethnologists often speak of universals when referring to char­acteristics which occur in all groups of man independently of race and ethnicity. Mostly this is inferred from a broad sampling of the characteristic in question. More precisely it should read “supposed universals” since it is often difficult to really prove universality. Most supposed universals have a few exceptions when traits become culturally suppressed. Nonetheless we may assume universality if a trait appears in all members of a broad sample. Whether it be a shared cultural or biological heritage and whether reoccurring independent development in re­sponse to similar conditions gave rise to the universality of the pattern remains open. The comparative method as developed in morphology in most cases will allow conclusions to be drawn concerning origin, particularly if combined with studies on the ontogeny including the evaluation of “experiments of culture” (p. 279).

Summary 3.3

If we compare the behavior of various species, we often find similarities re­quiring an explanation. If similarities in comparable characteristics of two species arise from a common ancestral form, the resemblance is known as homology. But if the similarity is the result of an independently developed adaptation to similar environmental contingencies, we speak of analogies.

The criteria of homology used by morphologists (the criterion of special quality, special position within a system, and linkage by transitional forms) are applicable for behavioral studies. We speak of phyletic homologies when the homologous characteristics are genetically transmitted and of homologies of tradition if the feature is culturally transmitted. The latter are particularly prominent in humans, for which comparative linguistics provides many examples.

Homologies of tradition often characterize well-defined human groups, such 147 as language groups. Since cultural evolution occurs at a fast pace, cultural diversity results. There are cultural universals which are explained by a shared function. In addition, there are also universals in human behavior, which can be considered phyletic homologies. The relaxed mouth-open face (play-face) is cited as one ex­ample. Contrary to general opinion, ethologists are not only interested in phyletic or cultural homologies. We utilize the study of analogies to learn which selective forces shape behavior patterns and customs along similar lines. The laws derived from such studies are independent of the systematics position of the organisms under study and are, therefore, of more general validity.

3.4. Quantifying Ethology

3.4.1. Sampling and Statistical Analysis of Observational Data

In the previous sections we have emphasized that ethologists attribute great importance to the observation of behavior in its natural context. They have de­veloped methods of data sampling and its statistical analysis that permit drawing and testing hypotheses from pure observational data. We shall describe these quantifying techniques, making use primarily of the work of J. Altmann (1974), D. S. Tyler (1979), and P. W. Colgan (1978).

One major problem in data sampling is the observer’s personal bias, which might lead to highly selective data gathering. In order to reduce this factor as much as possible, subjects for observation are selected out of a group using a table of random numbers, a process known as “random sampling” which can be “stratified” when the sample base is specified by age and sex classes.

“Event sampling” or “all occurrences sampling” is used when all events of a given category are recorded as they appear within a given observational period of a group.

“Time sampling” may be executed in three ways and depends in a complex way on frequency of the behavior under observation, bout length, and length of sampling intervals (see Tyler, 1979) (Fig. 3.26):

1. In “one-zero sampling” only the appearance (or lack of same) of a behavior of an individual or group is recorded within a predesignated time frame. This method is of limited value in sampling duration and frequency of a behavior.

2. “Instantaneous” or “scan sampling” records subject behavior frequency at predetermined regular time intervals. If the intervals are short and all individuals are observed in random order, this method approaches the simultaneous obser­vation of all group members (example p. 151).

3. In “predominant activity sampling” that behavior executed most of the time in a designated interval is recorded.

“Sequence sampling” occurs when recording begins at the onset of an inter­action between two individuals and continues until their interaction is terminated. The interest here is more in the interactions than the individuals themselves. “Focal person sampling” consists of recording all interactions or actions of an individual occurring within a specified (usually extended) time frame. These last two methods are the basis of film documentation. There are numerous descriptions of these methods and the statistical analysis of the data (summarized in P. W. Colgan, 148 1978).

AAACBBCAABBBB Repetitions Sequence

included record

A C B C A B Repetitions

excluded

Figure 3.26. Several methods of behavior data sampling. In this hypothetical case the individual was observed for 20 seconds and executed three behavior patterns (A, B, C). The complete behavior record is shown at the top as would be indicated by a multiple pen recorder, in which each behavior produces a pen displacement on the recording paper. Below are the results of different sam­pling techniques. Instantaneous sampling has also been termed “time sam­pling.” We use it as a group concept for the three techniques of one-zero, instantaneous, and predominant activity sampling. Predominant activity sampling (not shown here) differs from the other two multimoment methods in its temporal definition. The primary activity occurring more than half the recorded time is sampled (see text).

Various statistical methods can be used for analyzing the data. Correlation is used to determine relationships between two variables (when such exist). Positive correlations may indicate a common causal factor, while negative correlations indicate inhibiting influences, and the lack of correlation suggests the absence of causal relationships. However, all these are mere clues, and correlation coefficients alone cannot be used to verify a causal relationship.

The time units chosen for such analyses is critical. Two behavioral patterns correlating significantly within a time frame of half hours may not correlate when the interval is reduced 2 minutes!

The Markov analysis is used to determine the probability that a specific act is followed by another specific one. A transition frequency of 1 means that one behavior is invariably followed by another.

Multivariate statistical methods are those that permit the observation and anal­ysis of several variables at once occurring within one subject. These methods will arrange and simplify huge amounts of data and often help discern the relationships between the individual variables. But except for MANOVA and discriminance analysis these methods are inappropriate for testing hypotheses; they are aids for describing data and formulating new hypotheses. 149

Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) is used to test which of the vari­ables under investigation exert a significant influence on the data and from this one can then estimate the relative influence of the individual variables. Friedman’s two-way rank variance analysis is a well-known example. It is used to analyze the effects of two variables simultaneously.

Discriminance analysis investigates whether (and via which variables) two or more a priori postulated groups can be distinguished from each other. This is used where the postulated groups cannot be distinguished on the basis of a single vari­able.

Cluster analysis arranges data, organizing a group of objects (e.g., individuals or behavioral patterns) into subgroups (clusters). This suggests that members of subgroups are more closely related to each other than to those of other subgroups. Many variables or variable combinations can be used as reference points here, and the relationships thus gleaned can be arranged visually in a dendrogram. An­imal systematics is an example of cluster analysis familiar to every biologist: animal relationships are determined using a large number of characteristics as reference points, from which the phylogenetic tree emerges as the dendrogram.

Multiple regression is the multivariate elaboration of simple regression analysis. It enables the determination of the value of one dependent variable against those of numerous independent variables. Correlations between the dependent and in­dependent variables must exist. When there are two independent variables (e.g., velocity of an automobile and street incline angle), a regression factor can be calculated for the dependent variable (e.g., gasoline consumption).

Chief component and factor analysis are closely related. They are used to extract a few “factors” from a large number of variables, which are not directly measurable but that mutually influence several of the measured variables. Ethology also pos­tulates the existence of such factors, as in P. R. Wiepkema’s (1961) investigation of bitterling reproductive behavior. He recorded the transition probabilities of twelve typical behavioral patterns, which served as his measurable variables. Wiepkema found that several behavioral patterns were closely correlated and often followed each other, while others were mutually exclusive. From these correlations between the variables he extracted three essential factors acting “from the back­ground” that he interpreted as behavioral tendencies and motivations: he termed them sexual, aggressive, and nonreproductive factors.

Multivariate statistical methods, particularly those involving many variables, require substantial calculating work which only in part can be accomplished with electronic processing.

Moreover, the formal statistical “construction” of several procedures is being debated. Cluster, factor, and chief component analysis can of themselves structure data even if they are applied to disorganized data produced by random generators. J. A. van Hooff (1982) cites several statistical manipulations which can deal with reliability problems.

According to P. Lehner (1979), valid results can only be ascertained when mul­tivariate analysis is carefully planned and executed. Methodical, accurate collection of relevant data is essential to its success. Multivariate methods are no miraculous means of transforming data within the computer to evident results. They must supplement other analytical techniques. Thus Lehner advises his readers: “In short, use the best methods and equipment available to both generate and test hypotheses; however avoid methodological overkill” (1979, p. 294). Other pertinent 150 literature is found in W. P. Aspey and J. E. Blankenship (1977, 1978), B. J. T.

Morgan et al. (1976), P. H. Sneath and R. Sokal (1973), D. W. Sparling and J. D. Williams (1978), H. L. Seal (1966), and J. P. van de Geer (1971).

The value of quantifying procedures is illustrated with the work of Karl Grammer (1979, 1982, 1985), who investigated the behaviors of helping and supporting (standing by during conflict) in terms of their dependence on friendship and rank position among children in two kindergartens. He refers to helping when person A helps person B to overcome some obstacle to a particular behavioral goal and to thereby achieve that objective. Support occurs in conflict situations and always involves at least three parties. In its simplest expression, an aggressive encounter occurs between B and C. A appears, takes sides, and through his intervention enables B to resolve the conflict to B’s satisfaction.

Grammer had to first ascertain the relationship of help and support to the chil­drens’ rank order and to their friendship relations in order to analyze them. M. R. A. Chance (1967) discovered the phenomenon of ‘‘attention structure” in in­vestigating rank relationships in primates. Lower ranking members display clearly ambivalent behavior toward higher ranking members. They find superiors attractive and also fearsome for their aggressiveness. Therefore, they are always aware of a superior’s location (M. R. A. Chance and R. R. Larsen, 1976). The alpha animal is the one observed most by the other animals. He enjoys “high standing” and is the focus of attention. B. Hold (1974, 1976, 1977) showed that this criterion can be used to determine rank order in childrens’ groups. The child looked at most by other children also displays behavior characteristics of high ranking group members. High ranking children suggest and organize games, support others, settle disputes, represent the group to others, and can protect their preferential status through aggressive acts. Lower ranking children search for, follow, question, and show objects to the higher ranking member. Thus the attention criterion is a reliable rank indicator, and K. Grammer used it in his studies. The criterion was used when one child was watched simultaneously by three or more others (focus of attention).

The friendship criterion was preference for a playmate. All data were collected with “time sampling.” This procedure Can be used if events (“focus of attention”) are short and states (“play with”) are long as compared to the respective time intervals. Grammer used a time interval of 8 seconds for recording individual subjects in random order. Every 8 seconds he observed another child and recorded whether it was at the center of attention and who looked at it, whether it played alone or in a group, and if so with whom, and finally whether the child sat alone or stood while others looked on. He made 75 to 100 observations per child over a 4-week period. In a second study the results were replicated in an extend­ed analysis which was made possible by the use of a video focal child sampling method.

The results from two kindergarten groups are summarized in Fig. 3.27. Each diagram shows the distribution of the rank criterion (focus of attention) on the left. Since individual children were not always present, the relative frequency of each was calculated. The child most frequently in the focus of attention was listed as Rank #1. Children were then ordered on the basis of their frequency of standing in the attention focus. Thus 1 designated the top ranking child. If several children were in the focus of attention equally often, their positions were calculated by the sum of their ranking positions divided by the number of those equally ranked children. The right side of the diagram displays relative frequencies with which children looked on and played alone. The graph clearly shows that the frequency of playing alone and looking on increases with lower rank position. Using boy Al of Fig. 3.28A, it is furthermore evident that “Loners” who participate less in group activities, would nonetheless comply with the rank criterion if they are high ranking individuals.


Figure 3.27. Rank order: the figures depict the relative frequencies for the rank criteria of “focus of attention,’’ “looking on,’’ and “playing alone.’’ “Looking on’’ and “playing alone’’ are shown as sums in the histogram. On the right of each is the rank number (RK) of the children. From K. Grammer (1979).


Grammer counted the frequency of play contacts during group play to determine friendship relationships, a measurement recommended by W. W. Hartup (1975). Since group composition changed on various days, the absolute frequency of play contacts had to be compared with the time any two children spent together in a group:

Play relation a:b

Number of observed play contacts between a and b Time spent in group together (in “time spacing” intervals)

With this formula Grammer describes the relationship between actually observed play contacts between a and b and the number of possible times the two could have been observed playing together. In order to obtain a comparison of play partnerships within a group, the percentage of one play partnership was calculated from the sum of a child’s total play partnerships after F. B. Moreno (1942):

Play partner index (PIab)

Play relationship a,b Sum of play relationships

x 100

Thus the play partner index describes the percentage of a play partnership rel­ative to the total time a child plays with others in a group. Figure 3.28 shows the play structure matrixes that Grammer developed. Playmates are shown beside each other. One can see that each child has a preferred circle of children as play­mates, out of which there are one or two “clearly preferred.” “Preferences” need not be reciprocal.

An analysis of the relation between rank and friendship showed that rank dif­ferences between friends approached zero, and rank neighboring children were usually friends. Grammer observed helping and support over an interval of ap­proximately 80 hours, always between 9:00 and 10:00 a.m. He recorded helping behavior 47 times in Group I and 20 times in Group II. Thus this behavior does not occur that frequently, and can only be ascertained with the technique of event sampling.

Using total frequency distribution of the play partner index, Grammer deter­mined an expected frequency for help interactions in PI classes from 0 to 30 (Fig. 3.29, top). In the middle of this graph is the observed frequency distribution of the various PI classes and, below, the resulting difference, which shows clearly that Group I PI classes are helped more frequently within friendship circles than outside; Group II shows only a tendency in this direction.

In Group I there is no relation between support and play partnership, while in Group II there is significantly more support offered against non-friends than against friends. Girls are supported by boys and girls against attacks by higher ranking boys, while no-one interfered in conflicts occurring between girls.

By calculating the differences in rank between the interacting children, we find a general tendency that higher ranking children support lower ranking ones and usually against children ranking lower than the supporting child (Fig. 3.30). This finding was extended in a second study (Grammer, 1982). Episodes producing the typical V-structure (in Fig. 3.30) are effective events of aiding and defending.

Figure 3.28. (A) Play structure matrix. The graph depicts the frequencies of play partner indexes within both groups as a measure of friendship. Mean values produce the magnitude of PI. From the left to right: Identification number of those children whose relationship is observed ; from top to bottom to those of their partners. Each matrix shows (bottom, left to right) the sum of play contacts of each individual child (Sk) and their mean value (x). Horizontal readings show popularity; the vertical axis displays children’s frequent play partners. From K. Grammer (1979). (B) Another example of play structure matrix (see 154 A above for explanation).

Figure 3.29. Friendship and helping (Group I on the left and Group II on the right of each pair of graphs): (a) expected frequencies of helping in the five classes, cal­culated from total frequency distribution. If helping varies randomly in play partner relationships, they display a decrease toward the greater PI. (b) Ob­served frequency distribution of help within PI classes. Class frequency of help (nk) increases as PI increases, (c) Value differences (observed minus expected) make this particularly clear; they are negative at low PI values and become positive at higher values, i.e., less help than expected was observed at low PI values and more than expected at high PI values (Group I: n = 27; Group II: n = 32). From K. Grammer (1979).

Whereas the opposite episodes with a A-structure in rank are episodes of "gang­ing, ” i.e., supporting a winner. Grammer’s finds suggest that helping and support are behavioral strategies serving various functions. Help facilitates the establish­ment and solidification of friendships, while support during conflicts reinforces and improves one’s own rank order. Those who support someone who is weak in a conflict gain "respect.” 155

Figure 3.30. Rank order and supporting. Children are shown from top to bottom in rank position. Each box from left to right shows the various roles a child can play within the event “supporting”: A = supporter, B = supported child, C = child against whom support is oriented. The connecting line between 3 boxes each portrays a “supporting” event. On the right is the rank designation for each child. From K. Grammer (1979).

3.4.2. Questionnaire Analysis

Ethologists also use questionnaires. One example of this is the methodical pro­cedure illustrated here that was used by H. Morishita and W. Siegfried (1983), who investigated the extent to which culturally stylized expressions (in the form of theatrical mime) could be comprehended cross-culturally. They used film ma­terial Hans Hass and I collected in Japan, when we photographed scenes from traditional Kabuki performances. Morishita selected sixteen individual frames in which she, as a Japanese, clearly recognized the meaning of the actors’ expressions. The frames were shown to 44 Japanese and 36 western European test subjects who were asked to enter their interpretation of the expressions in a questionnaire (Fig. 3.31).

The six listed categories (surprise, fear, anger, disgust, sadness, happiness) were those suggested by P. Ekman (1973). Another category, “other,” was offered since certain expressive dimensions appeared to be lacking in the pictures shown 156 to the test subjects. For each emotion the test subject could indicate an intensity

Figure 3.31. Questionnaire for the test series with the exercise example (o) (see text for expla­nation).

level (the five boxes), and five points could be given each frame so that mixtures of emotions could be indicated. For example, one could award three points of happiness and two of surprise. Use of the questionnaire was demonstrated with an exercise frame (o). Each frame was shown to subjects for 10 seconds.

Responses were depicted in a graph, with emotion descriptions on the horizontal axis and intensity on the vertical axis (see Fig. 3.32). If test choices are grouped in a column, subjects demonstrated a high continuity in emotion description, while scattered points indicate varying judgments. Points in the lower part of the graph suggest that the expression was generally perceived as being of low intensity, while a grouping in the upper part of the graph indicates a high emotional level as interpreted by the test subjects. The results of the questionnaires generally confirmed for Europeans and Japanese, with a few exceptions. We shall describe similarities and discrepancies of interpretation with a few examples.

Figures 3.32-3.37 show a number of the test pictures with the answers of the Japanese subjects (top) and Europeans (bottom). Most frames were interpreted alike by Japanese and Europeans: happiness (Fig. 3.32), surprise (Fig. 3.33), and sadness (Fig. 3.34). In three instances the basic emotion described by Europeans conformed to the Japanese opinion, but the Europeans added a supplementary emotion: sadness, but with disgust (Fig. 3.35) and anger, but with fear (Fig. 3.36). Generally the Japanese made clearer distinctions than the Europeans. Marked differences between Japanese and European interpretations occurred in expres­sions of happiness (especially the man’s in Fig. 3.37).

Figures 3.32-3.37. Test frames with the Japanese (above) and European (below) results shown in comparison. Japanese are divided as follows: 44 test subjects, actors of the male role, Kabuki experts. Key to abbreviations: Sp, surprise; Fe, fear; An, anger; Dis, disgust; Sad, sadness; Hap, happiness (see text). From H. Morishita and W. Siegfried (1983).

Figure 3.34-3.35. See legend, p. 158.

Figure 3.36-3.37. See legend, p. 158.

The graphic analysis shows a tendency to interpret the expressions in a similar way among both Europeans and Japanese, the latter being acquainted with Kabuki. Only with happiness was there a substantial divergence, which could be due to the makeup and certainly to the acting in the Kabuki style, which uses antagonistic muscles to restrain the intensity of individual expressions, this restraint being an essential element of Kabuki theater. Kabuki is only one of many classical Japanese theatrical styles, each of which has its own intensity of gestures. Thus emotions are much more unrestrained in the “Aragoto” style. This means that the results obtained above should not be considered valid for “Japanese theater” as a whole, but specifically for Kabuki. The fascination in the study of theatrical mime arises from the fact that, unlike spontaneous mime, elements of cultural molding stand out clearly and thus permit the audience to experience the simultaneous mani­festation of nature and culture. How is happiness conveyed in various cultures and theatrical styles? How are the various emotions handled? In what directions are the universal expressions stylized and transformed, and to what degree are such stylizations and transformations understood by people of different cultures?

For happiness as expressed by the Kabuki acting out the female role, Europeans added as supplementary emotion, surprise, while the Japanese added disgust. In expressing happiness the actor moves the sleeve toward the face in a movement which we use when coyness is expressed, but such a gesture also occurs in surprise and disgust.

Summary 3.4

Specific techniques of sampling and statistical analysis permit the formulation of hypotheses from observational data. Time sampling, correlation, and multi­variate analysis (mainly elaborated in psychological research) are particularly im­portant methodological tools for the human ethologist. Such quantitative techniques are necessary to interpret such (illustrated) findings as rank orders in kindergarten groups, play partnerships, and the effect of such social relationships on behavior as helping or support during conflict. The methodical procedure is illustrated with a kindergarten study and a statistical analysis of a questionnaire.

3.5 Models

Models are the concrete manifestations of hypotheses. They help us understand relations within a functional system and to make predictions, which can be tested experimentally. If the predictions test positively, the model can then be used to describe the substance of the hypothesis.

Models are used extensively in ethology, exemplified by those found in G. P. Baerends and R. H. Drent (1970) and E. von Holst and H. Mittelstaedt (1950). Konrad Lorenz’s “psychohydraulic model” is also well known (Fig. 3.38). It is a way of clearly portraying the dependency of the intensity of a behavioral sequence on its endogenous motivating factors and the releasing stimuli. B. Hassenstein (1966, p. 644) describes the model as follows:

... it has been much discussed (and—by dilettantes in the assessment of pioneer theoretical scientific achievements—ridiculed as “psychohydraulics”). Many instinctive behaviors and, analogously, this conceptual model, have the following characteristics: two factors influence the intensity of innate behavior and thus the central nervous structures responsible for behavior: the stimulus intensity and an “action-specific po­tential” (a preparedness to act caused by an endogenous factor); Seitz, the discoverer of this relationship, referred to a “double quantification” of innate behavior via external 161 and internal contingencies (18). Less of one can be balanced against more of the other to maintain the same level of external behavior instructions. If action-specific energy is absent, even the optimal stimuli will evoke no response. Often, but not always, the opposite is true: even the greatest level of action specific energy cannot evoke a response in the absence of a stimulus. The execution of innate behavior patterns reduces action­specific energy, or the appetence to execute the behavior again. But this appetence grows again slowly, independently of external stimuli and thus spontaneously or en­dogenously. The lack of release of instinctive behavior leads to the damming up of action specific potential and, under certain conditions, to the behavior’s execution “in vacuum.” Different innate sequences dependent upon the same stimuli and action­specific energy usually require different amplitudes of the releasing causal complex to be activated.

These functional relationships can also be portrayed in a diagram depicting functional relations (Fig. 3.39). The connecting lines represent signal transmitting pathways. The main graphic symbols are listed in Fig. 3.40. Inconsistencies can be more clearly perceived from functional diagrams than from verbal discussions. Furthermore, they are free of all those additional thoughts and suggestions which accompany language. B. Hassenstein exemplifies this by the use of the terms drive, motivation, readiness to act, and mood. If one focuses only upon the func­tion covered by all these different terms and draws a functional diagram, one then becomes aware that their significance can be equated at the functional level.

Hassenstein suggests using the neutral expression “internal status.” It is evident from Lorenz’s drive model that this device is useful not only for theoretical con­ceptualization but also for the development of working hypotheses for sensory nerve effector systems and their network of information pathways and data pro­cessing mechanisms (Figs. 3.41, 3.42).

N. Bischof (1975) formulated a systems analysis of human social behavior. He investigated the relation between contact seeking and fear in human interactions. As is well-known, the small child seeks its mother’s company and avoids strangers, clearly motivated by fear. But later when it comes to making sexual choices the

Valve with tension spring /^"Releasing mechanism"

Water inf 1 owa^ Endogenous ^increase of action-specific tential

Water levels Level of action-specific potential

Level of outlets = Releaser thresholds of reactions 1-6

Figure 3.38.

The “Lorenzian Drive Model” of 1950. From B. Hassenstein (1983).

Weights Stimulus intensity

Outflow = Reactions

Endogenous Temporal integration excitation and subtraction

stimuli with zero frequency element

Figure 3.39. Functional diagram of a part of the functional re­lationships modeled in Fig. 3.38. From B. Has- senstein (1983).

opposite sex is selected and blood relatives, with whom one has close family ties, are avoided.

Several variables determine whether and to what extent a child will remove itself from its mother, how close it moves toward strangers, whether it explores, and more. N. Bischof uses a model (Fig. 3.43) to depict the observed causal factor network underlying these processes. His functional circuit array uses two systems, each with its own regulatory mechanisms:

1. An “excitatory” system maturing at 8 months of age; its theoretical value is designated as “enterprise.” Normally an excitation deficit elicits exploratory behavior, while a surplus stimulates escape.

Branching of a signal-conducting pathway

Junction without resp., with signal-conducting mechanism

Effector organ: physical action of transport of water

Receptor, transducer

Signal transmission with measurable velocity; signals 0

Addition resp. subtraction of signal input

Coincidence detector, e . g . , multi plicati on; only 2 signals arriving simultaneously produce an outgoing signal

Boundary between organism and environment

Conditional connection, left possible, right accomplished after arrival of h-signal

Reactivity or drive representing element possible with spontaneously increasing exci tation

Complex, perhaps yet, unknown form of data process!ng("bl ack box")

Transfer functi on ,

I ntegrati on,

Low pass fi1 ter ,

Figure 3.40. Graphic symbols for diagrams depicting functional relations. In the case of a signal­conducting pathway both branches conduct the same as (not half of) the arriving message. From Hassenstein (1983). 163

At

Differentiation, All-or-none Time delay element,

Figure 3.41.

Illustrative diagram of the concepts of “drive,” “mo­tivation,” and “action po­tential” shows that they are functionally comparable. From C. Becker-Carus and H. Schone (1972).

2. A “security” system that is mature at birth or at the latest 3 months thereafter. Its theoretical value is termed “dependency.” It is high in small children and attains its minimum value at puberty. A dependency deficit arouses increased bonding behavior, while a surplus results in contact avoidance with family mem­bers. This behavioral pattern is known as satiety behavior.

N. Bischofs functional array is to my knowledge the first and so far only the­oretical systems analysis of human social behavior.

Hormonal stage Developmental stage Supply deficit Endogenous rhythms

Figure 3.42. Functional diagram for the relationships modeled in Fig. 3.41. From B. Has- senstein (1983).

Figure 3.43. Hypothetical block diagram of social motivation in higher mammals, including humans. The concepts cited are largely anthropomorphic and must be sub­stituted with more neutral terminology for animal application.

Explanation of symbols: Arrow = variable (not pathways); blocks = systems, subsystems, and pathways. Arrow orientation designates the direction of the causal relationship. Arrows terminating at squares = input; arrows leaving squares = output of the respective subsystem. Arrows originating or ter­minating in open spaces = variables whose causes or effects are not specified in the model. Branching indicates the influence of a variable on the output value of several subsystems indicated by extra blocks. White triangular arrows = positive correlation with the following dependent variable; black triangular arrows = negative correlation with the following variables. Simple arrowheads = no hypothesis made about input relationships. White circles = operation of addition or multiplication (or, for black arrows, of subtraction or division). Hatched lines = organism boundary. Variables beyond the boundaries are observable, while those within are hypothetical. The latter may presumably be interpretable at some later stage of neurophysiological or endocrinological understanding. A = motor systems controlling expressive behavior (in the broad sense). For paired A-blocks, the upper (or lower, respectively) is ac­tivated when the input value exceeds the reference value.

Summary 3.5

Models facilitate the visualization of relationships. The functional diagrams are used to elucidate operational relationships and to make predictions, which can be experimentally tested. They are particularly useful for representing complex sys­tems relationships.


4. Social Behavior

4.1. Origins of Sociability

Animals congregate for different purposes. Fishes of the open sea form schools, for instance, and these congregations are primarily for the sake of protection. An individual in open water is an easily fixated target and has scarcely any chance for escape once seen by the predator, but as part of an entire school the individual can be lost in the masses. Each member of the school is safer than if it were alone, for predator fish must fixate prior to snapping at prey, and the large number of targets confounds the predator’s fixating mechanism (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1962). In such cases signals develop for the sake of maintaining group integrity and also for communicating the presence of danger. Thus many schooling fish emit an alarm substance when they are injured, warning the others (K. von Frisch, 1941). Schools are generally anonymous and individual members do not recognize each other; they are aggregations brought together for predator avoidance.

Another form of social grouping in animals serves pairing with a member of the opposite sex. Physical contact is not necessarily required for fertilization, however. The sperm and eggs must simply be brought into the same vicinity, so generally one partner seeks out another for the sake of fertilization. Close part­nership bonds arise only in those instances when partners meet (either rarely or with considerable difficulties), such as in some deep-sea fishes, wherein the males actually adhere to the female when she has been found. Bonding can also occur by behavioral fixation to the sexual partner. The bonding characteristic is ap­petence for partner proximity. Proximity could also come about through attachment to a specific location; in this case we would not speak of partner bonding. Bonding is furthermore characterized by compatibility, restricted to the partner who is also the selective goal of bonding behavior patterns. Often the partner’s presence is a prerequisite for certain behaviors to occur. Duet singing in birds (W. Wickler and D. Uhrig, 1969) provides an example. In this case an appetite for singing, which can only be satiated in the partners presence, is one factor strengthening a bond. Konrad Lorenz (1963), in fact, thought this to be the determining factor in bonding, thus a consummatory act serving to bond. As example he cited the triumph cer­emony of greylag geese. Again, without a partner the behavior cannot be per­formed. But this is certainly not the whole story, since from the work of Monika Meyer-Holzapfel (1940) we know that animals and man demonstrate appetite to­ward consummatory situations (see also p. 67). An animal may seek a home as a place of rest. In a similar way the proximity of partner can be sought just for proximities sake, the partner being so to speak an individual with home charac­teristics.

A highly significant event for the development of vertebrate sociability was the evolution of maternal care by which friendliness came into existence. For only with the appearance of parent-offspring signals, infantile appeals, and the cor­responding affectionate responses behavior became available that permitted adults to create friendly and affectionate relationships. The "‘invention” of parental care constitutes a turning point in the behavioral evolution of the higher vertebrates and insects. Parental care occurred independently in insects, birds, and mammals, providing the impetus for analogous rituals of bonding (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1970, 1987).

The evolution of individual bonding marks a second “propitious event” in ver­tebrate evolution, and it likewise begins with parental care. Individual bonding is the springboard for love. Mother-child relationships developed independently and 167 repeatedly in birds and mammals, wherein parents and young actively seek each other’s presence. They are personally acquainted and will defend their bond against all intervention. When individual bonding occurs between mother and young, mothers will reject strange young who seek their proximity (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1958, 1970). Individualized bonding developed, in particular, in those mammals whose young can move about shortly after birth. Such young are known as “pre­cocial” since they leave the nest at an early age (i.e., geese, field hares). They are distinguished from “altricial young,” who are born in a highly undeveloped state and must remain in the nest for some time. H. Schneider (1975) has suggested the more neutral term “mother follower” for precocial young, and he further distinguishes two types: the “hiders,” who stay in the place where they are left by their mothers until she returns (e.g., deer), and the “mother dingers,” who cling to the mother (e.g., many monkeys). B. Hassenstein (1975) uses the term “parent clinger” (“Eltemhocker”) for the human infant who can no longer actively hold on to its mother.

In all the above cases, safeguards must exist to allow parents to identify their own young. Mother and child are physiologically perfectly matched and it is only this relationship that guarantees successful rearing. The young must also be sure not to approach strange conspecifics, who in many cases would react aggressively toward their approach. The individualized mother-child bond helps to meet these contingencies. The personalized bond between mother and child often develops immediately after birth or hatching and bears some similarity to an imprinting process.

Those species with personalized mother-offspring bonding also maintain the primary mother-young contact with a repertoire of infantile signals to which the mother reacts innately. The young, in turn, is tuned to respond to corresponding maternal stimuli. Special learning predispositions ensure bonding with the appro­priate object.

The mother-offspring relationship is a reciprocal one. Mothers understand the distress calls of their species’ young and will immediately rush to their rescue. They also learn to recognize their young on an individual basis, olfactory rec­ognition playing a particularly important role in mammals in this regard.

In some mammals the bond between mother and her young develops during a brief “sensitive” period. Mother goats will accept their kids if they remain together during this period. If the mother and kid together remain for the first 5 minutes following birth and are then separated for 1 hour, the mother will greet and accept the kid upon its return. The mother apparently recognizes her young since she will not accept any other kid. If, however, they are separated immediately following birth for a 1-hour interval, the mother will treat the kid as a stranger and will attack it when it seeks contact with her.

Oxytocin production during the birth process has been implicated as a factor in this brief “sensitive” period. Oxytocin release and the readiness to accept young can be stimulated in goats that have never borne young, by artificially dilating the cervix (P. Klopfer, 1971). Using sheep that had been given estrogen and proges­terone, E. B. Keverne et al. (1983) induced complete maternal behavior in non­pregnant sheep by 5-minute mechanical vaginal-cervical stimulation. By means of such stimulation sheep that had just borne young and accepted them could be induced to adopt unfamiliar young which they have previously rejected, since their natural phase of acceptance readiness had already passed. Thus in these animals vaginal-cervical stimulation played a significant role in the release of ma- 168 ternal behavior.

The development of parental care behavior is undoubtedly a propitious event in vertebrate behavioral evolution. With it came about the potential not only to act in a friendly manner, but also individualized bonding and hence love and sym­pathy, the precursors for the higher forms of sociability that characterize human beings. Our group ethical norms can be understood in terms of extensions of family ethics.

I take a different position than that of Konrad Lorenz (1963), who regards the roots of love to be in aggression. He feels that mutual defense against enemies was the starting point for individual bonding, citing the fact that greylag geese form a defensive entity during pair formation using ritualized threats against a third party and that the threat greeting bonds the pair of geese for life. I know of no terrestrial vertebrate that forms an individualized group solely on the basis of aggression. In all cases in which aggression facilitates bonding there also exists parental care, which likewise plays a substantial role in the life of these animals and, with the signals derived from this behavior, helps to bond adults. Thus the bonding results of common fighting would have been derived from family defense, and only through the defense of the young would the aggressive potential for the group arise.

The invention of parental care is the starting point for the development of higher differentiated social systems. In two decisive steps, it brought into the world (1) the behaviors which allow friendly interaction and (2) the individualized bond or what we call love. Parental care without individualized bonding sufficed to initiate and maintain the organization of the social insects. Mutual feeding (trophallaxis), a behavior derived from parental care, is the most important group-cementing element in insect societies. However the individuals are joined in an anonymous community characterized in bees and ants by a common group scent.

The decisive further developmental stage for humans was the individualized bonding between mother and child (based on recognition of specific individuals), for with it developed love, which is defined here as individualized bonding (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1970). In modern mass society anonymity endangers love.

It is remarkable that parental care gave the impetus for the development of more complex social organizations. Neither sexuality, aggression nor fear were sufficient preadaptations. Fear is the basis of schooling in fishes, but their social organization does not proceed above this level. Other motivations that play im­portant supplementary roles in human bonding are: sexuality, as in the marital relation (p. 248); fear, in bonding lower ranking members to higher ones (originally children to their parents, p. 184); and aggression, when group members must defend themselves against a common enemy.

Summary 4.1

Sociability can be seen as having developed in several evolutionary steps. Ap­petence for partner proximity and compatibility occurs in fishes, which seek pro­tection from predators in schools. But the development of parental care was pre­requisite for more elaborately differentiated forms of social life. With its development, mother-child signals came into existence. Behavioral patterns of affection and infantile appeals were the preadaptations from which adult bonding behaviors were derived. Friendliness evolved with parental care. In a further de­cisive evolutionary step, came the capability of forming individualized (personal) bonds. Initially it was used to secure longer lasting mother-offspring bonds in species with an extended parental caring period. But it also gave origin to love, 169 defined personal bonding. The behavioral patterns associated with infant care also permitted the bonding of individuals not closely related by blood, so as to form closed cooperative groups that act as units.

4.2. The Ambivalence of Approach and Withdrawal in Human Interactions

In the higher vertebrates, relationships with conspecifics are marked by a distinct ambivalence. The conspecific is, on one hand, a partner that is sought. On the other hand, the appetence to bond is opposed by aggressive and fearful tendencies that encourage maintaining a distance. The conspecific bears signals releasing both friendly approach and fear-motivated withdrawal or aggression. Blackheaded gulls have great difficulty establishing friendly contact in the first stages of pair formation. Both partners bear a black facial mask, which is an aggression-releasing signal. If the female wants to approach the male, she may not look directly at his face. She approaches him in a stooped posture with intensive begging movements, which inhibit aggressive responses. The head is repeatedly turned away in a cer­emony called “head flagging,” thereby hiding the blackface mask and displaying the bright rear portion on the head (N. Tinbergen, 1953, 1959). At first they both prefer observing each other from a corner of the eye. Only when the gulls become individually acquainted is the aggressive effect of the facial mask sufficiently di­minished (by virtue of their acquaintance) that they can approach and look at each other directly without an appeasement ceremony.

Human relationships are in similar ways characterized by ambivalence. At an age of 5 or 6 months, infants start to show first indications of fear of strangers. Before that time they will smile at anyone who approaches them. Thereafter they make a clear distinction between those individuals they know and others. The infant continues to smile at close acquaintances, but strangers evoke distinct re­sponses of avoidance. The child will smile at them first, but then will turn away and hide its face on its mother, usually to initiate new visual contact with the stranger (Figs. 4.1-4.4). Thus withdrawal and attraction can alternate cyclically. If the stranger respects this sign of shyness and maintains his distance, the child can make friends with him. But if the stranger approaches, the child’s behavior often turns to fear, and it begins crying or even panics if the stranger attempts to pick it up against its protests. This reaction is stronger if the stranger deviates significantly from the ethnic appearance of the parents. In S. Feinman’s (1980) studies, white children displayed more fear toward black strangers than whites. R. Spitz (1965) interpreted the child’s fear of strangers as a fear that its mother is lost to him. The child upon seeing a stranger allegedly believes its mother would not return. However, we can probably dismiss the Spitz hypothesis since children in their mother’s arms also display the fear of strangers.

The behavior of the infant indicates that humans bear signals activating con­tradictory behavioral tendencies toward other humans. Since we know that children display fear toward a stranger even if they have never had a bad experience with an unfamiliar person, we can presume that they react innately with fear response to some specific characteristics of the stranger. The ability to detect these fear­releasing signals mature during the first months of life. This is reminiscent of findings on the recognition of threat signals in rhesus monkeys who had been 170 brought up in social isolation (G. P. Sackett, 1966).


Figure 4.1. Fear of strangers of an In Infant. A visitor wishes to pick up the infant, but it protests and flees to its father. From a 25 frames/second 16 mm film, frames 1, 16, 30, 41. 96, 125, 215, and 276 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.


Figure 4.2. (a) to (h) The ambivalence between approach and withdrawal expressed in the behavior of a G/wi Bushman (central Kalahari) infant. At visual contact the child places its hand at the lower face as if hiding it, then smiles and turns away before renewing visual contact and turning away again, alternating be­tween attraction and approach and withdrawal tendencies. Note the simulta­neous superimposition of withdrawal (body posture) and approach responses (eye contact) in frame g. From a 25 frames/second 16 mm film, frames 1, 40, 199, 244, 247, 275, 287, and 332 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Figure 4.3. Ambivalence in the behavior of a mother and her male infant (Bali). The mother waves her baby’s hand at the observer and greets him with an eyebrow flash; then both withdraw, huddling together, before turning back toward the observer, again in a friendly manner. From a 50 frames/second 16 mm film, frames 1, 14, 58, and 101 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

The mother and other reference individuals must also bear these fear-arousing characteristics, but personal acquaintance inhibits their effect. We do not know all the specific characteristics and its correlates that cause fear and will result in withdrawal responses. Eye contact is perceived with ambivalence. On the one hand, we need visual contact to communicate with others, since with eye contact we signal that the channels for communication are open. On the other hand, we must not maintain such contact for too long, for then it becomes staring and thus threatening. In the past, staring was seen as a threat that could lead to a challenge to a duel; at present, staring at strangers is considered to be socially unacceptable, if not rude. A person talking to someone and uninterruptedly fixating on them will make an impression of being aggressive and dominating. In normal speech we note, therefore, that the speaker always interrupts visual contact while the listener may maintain contact uninterruptedly. Though there exists cultural vari­ation, the principle holds true across different cultures. Some tribal people seem particularly sensitive to visual contact, for example, the Tasaday were afraid of what they called our “piercing” eyes (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1976). Threat stares are part of the normal aggressive repertoire (p. 370).

E. Waters et al. (1975) showed that a child’s (5 to 10 months old) pulse rate increases dramatically upon the approach of a stranger, even if the stranger ap­proaches with friendly words. The child can break off contact and regulate its own level of excitation by avoiding visual contact. As the child diverts its eyes its pulse rate decreases rapidly. 173


Figure 4.4. An Eipo mother draws her baby’s attention to the observer in a friendly way. The infant smiles, then takes shelter by his mother, resumes visual contact, and finally suckles (comfort drinking). From a 25 frames/second 16 mm film, frames 1, 19, 36, 93, 120, and 194 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Apart from the eyes, other signals must be significant as well. Children blind from birth, even those bom both blind and deaf, display fear of strangers. Children blind from birth recognize strangers by their voices and avoid them, showing all the typical signs of fear (S. Fraiberg, 1975). Children born both blind and deaf investigate people using tactile and olfaction sensations, since body odors are more significant in distinguishing individuals.

Infantile xenophobia was also observed in all cultures we studied (I. Eibl-Eibes­feldt, 1973b), including Bushmen (San), Yanomami, Eipo, Himba, Tasaday, and Pintubi, just to mention a few. Fear was displayed not only toward white visitors but also toward strangers of their same ethnic group. M. J. Konner (1972) inves­tigated fear of strangers in !Kung Bushmen. Apparently xenophobia is an important component of the human behavioral repertoire. It is a phylogenetic adaptation, but one that can be modified strongly through learning. In many cultures it is used by the parents for specific educational purposes and thus is reinforced as a sec- 174 ondary effect: when a Tasaday baby cried, its mother warned the baby that the stranger would take it away if it did not stop whimpering; I heard similar ad­monishments in the Yanomami.

There is a great deal of literature on infantile xenophobia among European chil­dren (summarized in L. A. Sroufe, 1977). According to H. J. Rheingold and C. Eck- erman (1973) the concept is of little value because the children displayed fear of strangers in combination with behaviors expressing readiness of contact, an argu­ment also voiced by M. Ferrari (1981). This is precisely what is meant by “ambiv­alence.” The inclination for friendly contact has already been mentioned (p. 170). But we must also accept as fact that a child is phylogenetically programmed to act, so to speak, upon the hypothesis that strangers are potentially dangerous.

Our photographic analysis shows indeed that two antagonistic systems are ac­tivated: approach and withdrawal responses alternate, often cyclically. The movement patterns of both systems can also be superimposed upon each other. The bonding system activates contact-seeking behaviors, such as approach, and behaviors signaling contact readiness. The opposed agonal system (p. 363) activates avoidance, flight (escape), and even aggression. The latter may express itself in defensive movements or autoaggression (Figs. 4.5-4.11).

The simultaneous occurrence of such antithetical (opposing) behaviors presents no theoretical difficulties. Naturally there is individual variation according to con­text and experimental design, but xenophobia cannot be dismissed simply as an artifact of an artificial experimental situation. It is actually an elementary social reaction that can indeed be observed in its natural context.

Studies conducted by M. D. S. Ainsworth (1963, 1969, 1973) and L. Smith and H. Martinsen (1977) confirm that a child selectively seeks its mother’s presence. Not only does the child speak and play less exploratively when the mother leaves the room, but crying increases. If the mother returns, the child quiets down and seeks contact. If left alone with a stranger, the child will seek the stranger’s com­pany in the mother’s absence. “Contrary to attachment theory, stress may induce nonspecific proximity seeking in a young child” (p. 51). However, in what way is this “contrary?” One does not exclude the other. Someone who is terribly frightened will seek a stranger’s contact. There is probably selective advantage to seek alternatives according to the following precepts: in the mother’s presence, a stranger should be avoided; but in the absence of mother the presence of others should be sought. The chances of survival are limited for a child left abandoned.

K. Kaltenbach et al. (1980) note stranger avoidance reactions are not only typical for children but are even stronger in the mother. Thus they conclude that infantile fear of strangers is not a particularly developmental specific phenomenon. Certainly adults experience ambivalence in their interpersonal relations, for tendencies to approach are in conflict with tendencies to avoid. However, it does not necessarily follow from this that the concept of fear of strangers loses significance for the developmental psychologist.

Fear of others is one of the universals that decidedly influences our social life. It leads to xenophobia, a characteristic that undoubtedly has accelerated human cultural evolution. For most of his history, man has lived in small groups of intimate acquaintances, and as such, trust prevailed. Strangers were encountered only oc­casionally as visitors, where they were greeted with courtesy, respect, or reserve or as enemies, when they might have been treated aggressively. Today we live in anonymous societies in which most of the people we encounter daily are strangers. Thus, the fear-releasing signals of others are more effective and behavior tends toward mistrust. Studies have shown that people walk faster the larger the city (M. H. and H. G. Bornstein, 1976; M. H. Bornstein, 1979). There is a clear 175

Figure 4.5.

A 4- to 5-year-old Yanomami girl. After making visual contact she alternates cyclically between approach and with­drawal responses. From a 25 frames/ second 16 mm film, frames 1, 36. 44, 48. 62. 73. 142, 187, 204, 207, and 218 of the sequences. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibes- feldt.


relationship between population density and walking speed (Fig. 4.12). We also avoid visual contact if we have to share a bus or train with strangers, which E. Goffman (1963) called “civil inattention.”

J. Newman and C. McCauley (1977) counted how often passersby in three dif­ferent sized cities established visual contact with a male and female test person stationed at a post office and store. Visual contact was highest in the small country town and least in the large city (Fig. 4.13).

Expression masking is another contact avoidance strategy; one displays no emotional arousal and, in particular, no signs of weakness or else the other person might take advantage of it. One pretends to be neutral or cool to others. Strangers encountered during the day are, in a certain respect, stressors. We are compelled to save face and to exercise self-control in order not to betray emotions of which a stranger might take advantage. This can lead to habitual fixation in which the mask is worn continually, even in the company of friends. This does not mean that we essentially avoid close interpersonal contacts. We search for them but prefer people with whom we are already acquainted. It is not people who stress us in large cities, but strangers. Generally, a large city enhances loneliness, since we are removed from our circle of family and friends. Because of our great mobility, acquaintances in cities are widely scattered (C. McCauley and J. Taylor, 1976; I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1977). Since agonal tendencies are not buffered by personal ac­quaintance, social life is more under agonal stress than in the individualized com­munity. Women feel threatened by the directness of the “man on the street” (C. Benard and E. Schaffler, 1980). Studies have shown that even in New Guinea, urbanization has changed personal relationships similarly to that described above (P. R. Amato, 1983).

But man is not invariably rejecting toward the stranger; as we have seen, his behavior is ambivalent. We are afraid of strangers, but also seek their company. We need appropriate contact situations to enhance relations. In earlier days these were provided by the city square, the town well, or the village pub. Large cities lack such opportunities as traffic is conveyed on large streets. The opinion that we merely have to build something for people and they will adapt to it has led to city planning insensitive to human needs. Little by little we are realizing that the urban environment must be made to fit man’s social as well as his other needs. Designs of large living complexes are now being reformulated (p. 629).

Figure 4.6. Himba girl (southwest Africa) who upon eye contact ambivalently protrudes her tongue and intentionally bites her hand. From 16 mm film. Photo: I. Eibl- Eibesfeldt. 177


Figure 4.7. Balinese girl about 10 years old. Visual contact elicits smiling, avoidance of visual contact, often referred to as visual cut off, playful jostling of her nearby friend with subsequent grabbing, and finally turning toward the observer in a friendly way. In each case it is evident that reactions of aggression and flight motivation are activated in addition to attraction. From a 50 frames/second 16 mm film, frames 1, 16, 22, 29, 39, 49, 77, 95, 108, and 126 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Figure 4.8. Reaction of an Eipo woman to friendly verbalization and to nodding as a greeting. From a 25 frames/second 16 mm film, frames 1, 8, 30, 36. 49, 59, 67, 83, and 93 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

film, frames 1, 18, 37, 42, 80, 191, 274, 295, 310, 329, and 345. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.


Figure 4.10. Ambivalence in a young Agta woman (luzon, Philippines). Contact-seeking behaviors and avoidance characterize interpersonal behavior even into adult­hood. From a 50 frames/second 16 mm film, frames 1, 16, 21, 29, 61. 67, 88, and 131 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

However anonymity continues to grow in many other areas of daily life (p. 625). Some individuals react by protesting with like-minded friends and opposing societal norms; others flee to drugs or the promising arms of secret sects or extreme political groups. In the long run society’s financial cost arising from these moves is quite high. How we will live in the year 2000 will depend upon our success in reducing anonymity in interpersonal relationships. Fortunately, we need no la­borious training to develop friendly relations. By nature, man is disposed in a friendly manner toward others. The task at hand is to prevent the deterioration 181 of our innate tendency to communicate and form bonds through inhumane so­cialization.

If interpersonal relations cannot be improved in large cities, we may expect that mistrust and fear will become the determining factors in social relations. This could have harmful consequences for liberal democracy, especially if they are exacerbated by further fears such as anxieties about economic security. During periods of fear, people tend to form attachments with “strong” personalities, or ideologies affording a sense of security. Fearful people are thus susceptible to demagogues and afford them a following.


Figure 4.11.

Ambivalence with face burying upon visual contact in a Blit (Mindanao, Philippines). From a 25 frames/second 16 mm film, frames. 1, 32, 38. 44, 49, 61, and 80 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.


Figure 4.12. Walking speed as a function of population size. From M.H. Bornstein (1979).


Figure 4.13. Percentage of passersby establishing eye contact with a female (upper) and male (lower) experimenter at a post office (P.O.) and a store in cities of dif­ferent sizes. From J. Newman and C. McCauley (1977). 183


The roots of this bonding by fear are old and extend back to the early mother­child relationship. In many birds the mother is the goal of flight by the young when danger threatens. This response blindly continues even if the young are punished for such behavior under experimental situations (p. 77). Similar conditions apply for mammals. Young monkeys flee to the mother and typically cling to her for shelter. Punishment of the young likewise reinforces this behavior and we also know that maltreated children are firmly bonded to their mothers and protest against any separation from them. In the hierarchically structured baboon groups, high ranking males are sought by juveniles and low ranking adults, even if the high ranking animals are the cause of anxiety. Likewise, a human seeks escape in times of emergency not only with the mother but with others as well. Desperate people behave much like children: they regress to infantile behavioral patterns. Such infantile action can also seize the masses and make them uncritically ready to be led.

Summary 4.2

Interpersonal relationships are characterized by two antagonistic tendencies. The appetence for friendly contact is in conflict with aversive tendencies of avoid­ance, an ambivalence manifested even in early infancy. In the first months of life the infant will respond positively to anyone, but after the middle of the first year strangers will also elicit fear and avoidance responses, even if the child has had no bad experiences with strangers. Apparently it is at this time that the capability matures for recognizing those human characteristics that elicit fear, avoidance, and rejection. Thus a human being is the bearer of signals which release in his fellow men approach and avoidance simultaneously, apparently due to an inherited program. Personal acquaintance mitigates the fear-arousing stimuli, so that trust becomes the prevailing characteristic in a circle of close acquaintances. This dis­position which developed in connection with maternal behavior fosters the for­mation of individualized small groups. In modern anonymous society, mankind encounters strangers daily, whose signals release contact avoidance and expressive masking as means of self-protection. Thus, fellow men become stressors, and the constant subliminal fear motivation tends to infantilize the individual in mass so­ciety and makes them more susceptible to the slogans of those promising security.

4.3. The Human Family as the Nucleus of Society

4.3.1. The Controversy about Man’s Familial Disposition

To what extent are we predisposed for a familial structure? In recent times there have been numerous efforts to depict the family as a purely cultural institution lacking all biological foundations. The motive for these efforts is the wish that we should not prefer family members to others, but be equally friendly and responsible for all others. Familial feelings are thought to present an obstacle in achieving such a goal. Those holding this viewpoint do not give credence to the fact that precisely those characteristics enabling us to see strangers as “brothers and sisters” arise in the family (p. 169). Furthermore there is a feminist faction attempting to demonstrate that familiality is not a primary characteristic of human nature but comes about secondarily as a consequence of cultural shaping. It is maintained 184 in this context that women are not by nature motherly (E. Badinter, 1981; A.

Skolnick, 1973; see p. 186). This viewpoint is at the base of the rejection of the traditional gender roles.

Thus we read that the woman’s role was only invented some 10,000 years ago when men began breeding animals and learned thereby the meaning of fatherhood (E. Fisher, 1979). This drove men to gain control over the womens’ bodies in order to secure their own paternity. Women then became valuable social and economic possessions. The predominance of feminine deities in the upper stone age, which is occasionally interpreted as representing the then esteemed position of women, was in reality, according to this argument, a sign of the social derogation of women as compared with their position in the lower stone age. Women lost control over the number of children they wanted and were reduced to exercising their reproductive function.

Such a position can be easily taken if one disregards the facts and does not expend the effort to thoroughly study the anthropological literature. The role of women in society does indeed change, but not according to the simple formula: Lower Stone Age = Egalitarian and Upper Stone Age to Modern = Male Dom­inance.

“Creeping familialism,” which has recently been noted on the kibbutz (p. 280), has been ascribed by M. Gerson (1978) to the fact that the actual kibbutz is still quite far from the ideals of emancipation; women suffer discrimination and there­fore endeavor to regain respect within the family. But this opinion is based upon neither questioning the women involved nor on observation. If these are done, one gains a different insight (p. 281). The less the factual knowledge, the more dogmatically the case is fought against what is called the “ideology” of family and motherhood and the slogan “discrimination” increasingly becomes a mean­ingless shell. If the concept is applied widely enough it can explain virtually any­thing, for people invariably draw distinctions between the sexes and thus some sort of discrimination always occurs. People also discriminate when they cultivate friendships.

Since the time of Friedrich Engels many believe that only the working woman is emancipated. According to Engels the “reintroduction of all women into public industry”[1] is prerequisite for womens’ liberation. But that would require the dis­solution of the single family as an economic unit of society and a collective child care system. Traditional family structure is opposed to such a move, so the attempt is underway to demonstrate there is no obliging reason for such an institution. When Margaret Mead (1935) wrote that the children on Samoa were brought up collectively without any distinctive mother-child bond, her words were accepted, although later it was determined that her assertions were false (D. Freeman, 1983). I still recall vividly when, in 1967 in Samoa Derek Freeman read me that passage of the book, where Mead maintained that there are no strong emotional bonds between mother and child. He then said to me, “Wait and see. Watch that mother going fishing!” And while a mother hurried toward her boat, two children held a third child who was screaming and trying to follow her!

Biologists and psychologists who attempt to suggest the outstanding significance of a mother-child bond are often chastised for fostering an “ideology of moth­erhood.” The fact that in earlier times in Europe—as well as today in some prim­itive tribes—infanticide was quite common, serves as an argument that motherly behavior was rather culturally superimposed than a natural behavior. As A. Skol­nick (1973, p. 312) states “The fact that infanticide has been widely practiced in Western society and elsewhere is evidence that benevolence toward children is not built into human nature, and is not a societal imperative.”

H. Tyrell (1978) takes a similar position. He also interprets the human family as a purely cultural institution. At best the mother-child dyad could be biologically based, but the weak mother-child bond required cultural reinforcement. Tyrell writes: “Such cultural support and specification, whose necessity for the insuf­ficient innate human drive for “parental love” was demonstrated by B. Malinowski (1926, p. 197), may actually have the effect of strengthening the admittedly reduced homicide inhibitions in humans against infants and children” (p. 629). Cross-cul­tural observations, however, reveal a very different situation. Infanticide is indeed practiced in various parts of the world, but certainly not without any involvement of the conscience (p. 194).

P. Aries (1978) maintains that childhood as such has not always existed. In the Middle Ages, children were treated like small adults, and what we know as a family, the community of parents and children, did not exist until it arose from the kin and tribal groups in the 15th and 16th centuries. Thus the family was not at the roots of tribal communities. A look at the available ethnological literature would have shown otherwise (p. 235).

Margit Eichler (1981) claims that the family is not the site of love and security because it is within the family that the most murders occur and that child mal­treatment is the order of the day. Surely there are many crimes of jealousy, and the cramped lifestyle in modern mass society contributes to the many strains on marital relations and attitudes toward children, but these are contemporary path­ological developments. When one gleans evidence from those cultures that do not belong to the civilized mass societies, family members are affectionately attached to each other, although this does not mean that family relationships are conflict free.

We must be aware that many mothers are overburdened today, even if they do not work. In former times, families were large and older siblings and other family members were available as baby sitters to relieve a mother of her burden. Today mothers certainly need the support of public institutions like kindergartens. But the needs of the children for personal parental affection must not be sacrificed. Certainly the cultural variety of marital and family relationships demonstrate the adaptability of man in this regard. But we shall demonstrate that there are limits to this adaptability that one should accommodate when the common good is being considered. Man is predisposed through phylogenetic adaptations to marital part­nership and family life.

The evolution of the mammalian family started with the mother family where, as we mentioned earlier, mother-offspring signals and individualized bonding evolved (p. 167). In most mammals the mother cares for her young herself and is hormonally prepared for this task. This happens in all known mammals and thus has probably been the case for at least some 200 million years. The male’s role in many species is restricted to producing new young, and, less frequently, to their defense, which generally takes the form of territorial defense. However, the 186 males will occasionally defend their own young. The Galapagos sea lion, for ex-


ample, prevents any young from swimming into the deep water, protecting them from sharks. Occasionally it will even attack sharks (G. W. Barlow, 1972; I. Eibl- Eibesfeldt, 1955a, 1978). In mammals living in small individualized bands (wolves, macaques) or monogamous families (gibbons), the male is even more directly in­volved in defense of the young. He occasionally brings them food, plays with the young or at least tolerates their social exploratory behavior, and at times carries a juvenile. The details of mammalian parental care behavior will not be discussed here; comprehensive reviews are found in R. F. Ewer (1968) and J. F. Eisenberg (1981). Some higher mammals form groups in which partners of the opposite sex recognize each other and sometimes form quasi-marital lasting partnerships. The long evolutionary history of parental care and specialized division of labor between sexes make it improbable that man has completely abandoned this mammalian heritage.

4.3.2. The Mother-Child Dyad: Bonding Theories and Infantile Monotropy

Man is born in a highly undeveloped state. But he possesses specializations that characterizes him as “Tragling”—a being adapted to be carried. The grasp reflex, for example, is so well developed that an infant can firmly hold on to the mother’s clothes or hair. The infant also has relatively well-developed sensory skills that facilitate forming a personal attachment to the mother in the first months after birth. A number of theories have been proposed to explain the mechanism of the development of attachment. Curious, but often quoted is Anna Freud’s theory that infantile “love” developed from food intake, which the baby would associate with the wish-fulfilling objects: bottle, milk, breast. These would become beloved objects. Finally, the child would comprehend that the mother is actually responsible for fulfilling these wishes.

The comparative observations described earlier make Anna Freud’s interpre­tation obsolete, since bonding to the mother is not dependent upon her as a food source reference point (E. R. Hilgard and G. H. Bower, 1975; C. T. Morgan and R. A. King, 1975; R. A. Silverman, 1975; R. E. Smith et al.. 1978).

Anna Freud’s (1946) formulation is paralleled by that of F. Dollard and N. Miller (1950). The child, they state, quickly learns that the mother or other ref­erence person fulfills its physical needs, and it also learns that hunger, wetness, cold, and other unplersant sensations occur in the person’s absence, so the child would eventually actively seek contact with the reference person.

If these secondary reinforcement theories were valid, one would merely have to bond the child to those who provide for its physical well-being. But that is by no means the case. In the kibbutz, the children are cared for by attendants, and parental contact is sometimes limited to an hour of play each evening. Nonetheless the children are strongly emotionally attached to their parents as reference persons, indicating that it is the quality of contact and not physical attendence that deter­mines bonding. H. R. Schaffer and P. Emerson (1964) found that 22% of kibbutz children in their test sample developed a powerful attachment to people who never were involved with their physical care; 17% of the children formed attachments to people who only occasionally attended to their physical needs. We shall not elaborate here on these simple models of the genesis of the mother-child rela­tionship. They have been presented, critically discussed, and rejected by D. W. Rajecki et al. (1978).

The biological attachment theory of J. Bowlby (1958, 1969), further elaborated 187 by M. D. S. Ainsworth (1963, 1967, 1969), based upon ethological findings, has proved useful. In essence, this theoretical position perceives the mother-chik bond as a predetermined phylogenetic adaptation permitting a further development into a personalized relationship. The child is not a passive recipient of socializing stimuli; both are active partners. The child, for example, displays a distinct “mon­otropy” (J. Bowlby, 1958)—the impetus to seek a personalized relationship (nor­mally with the mother). Physical care is not the predominant criterion in estab­lishing this reference person, but rather behavioral patterns of loving attraction, such as cuddling, kissing, speaking to, inciting to dialogue, and, of course, play.

Each child needs a reliable reference person for these interactions, and if left alone by this person the child displays “fear of separation.” Initially the response is not linked to a particular person; for the first 3 months an infant left alone will stop protesting and quiet down when anyone picks it up. There are, however, particularly sensitive children who, even in their first month, can only be pacified by the mother. If 4-month-old infants can see their mother (or other reference person), they will protest only when the mother leaves the room; the older infant will try to crawl after her. If that strategy fails, the child will cry as if in great fear. Such distress calls are also known in young mammals.

The mother is the basis of security for the human child, and if she is gone the child experiences “separation fear.” It should not be interpreted as meaning that the child fears the permanent loss of the reference person, for it is inaccurate to ascribe predictions of future events to an infant. It is simply the very absence of the reference person that elicits fear—an elemental fear! An abandoned infant would be subject to all sorts of dangers.

Once the child has established a personal bond with its mother, it will protest even when the mother leaves it with other reference people (siblings, aunts). Here it is not being alone that arouses fear, since the other persons could afford security. We must presume, therefore, that it is the departure of a beloved person that is painful. In this context we could speak of “separation grief.” Departure of the father can also elicit an infant’s protest, even if the child stays with its mother.

Fear of strangers should not be confused with separation anxiety. The latter is the fear to be left alone, whereas the fear of a stranger can even be experienced by a child who sits on its mother’s lap. Apparently the child feels threatened by strangers. Thus the contexts of abandonment and threat are clearly distinct. F. R. Renggli (1976, p. 69) summarized the differences between these fears; this summary is presented in Table 4.1.

Table 4.1. Renggli’s Summary of Fear Differences

__________ Fear of strangers__________

1. Phenomenology

At a specific age the child rejects contact with unknown group members in spite of its increasing inclination for friendly and general contact.

Separation fear

In spite of the child’s increasing independence, based on motor maturation, it returns repeatedly to the mother to ascertain her presence.

2. Actual fear sensation occurs in the following situations

When the strange group member When the mother moves away, or even

approaches too closely in any form, more powerfully, when the child

i.e., if the stranger wants to carry the returns to a point to find the mother child about. and she is no longer there.

__________ Fear of strangers_____

3. Temporal restrictions

Begins at the point that it knows the mother, i.e., at the onset of the imprinting phase.

Separation fear

After imprinting is complete, i.e., separation fear readiness operates when child-mother bonding is complete.

4. Function

Lies in imprinting, i.e., an ever stronger preference for the primary contact and care person which we designate as bonding of the child to the mother. Reasons: the child’s nourishment and protection are better guaranteed.

5. Mother-child relationship

The mother orients to the child, not allowing it out of her sight; restricts the child’s detachment tendencies and retrieves it when it strays too far.

Extending that uniquely established relation between mother and child; the child uses the mother as a secure base from which it explores the environment. Reasons: better environmental orientation and an extended learning phase (imitation).

The child orients to the mother and does not let her out of its sight ; it must continually know of her presence. When the mother moves away, the child immediately follows (following response).

6. Child’s primary activities

Visual and, above all, manual exploration of the near environs in proximity to the mother, the mother herself, and its own body. The child begins establishing contact with familiar adult partners in addition to the mother.

Exploratory behavior: exploration of the further environs with the mother at its center; also play behavior. The child begins establishing peer relationships and play contacts.

7. This phase proceeds undisturbed in the following situations

If the child can establish body contact anytime by clinging to the mother or by some other contact form.

8. Upon the mother’s absence in this phase If the adequate partner is absent in this early phase, the child will use parts of its own body as a last resort to satisfy its needs.

If the child can return to the mother at any time or otherwise knows of her continual presence.

Either frantic, unplanned running about, or fearful collapse with wild screaming bouts, signifying total drive inhibition, since escape appetence operates continually.


If the child cannot establish an attachment to a reference person for any reason, its further development is seriously disturbed. Hospitalized children display this in a particularly blatant way. If infants who can already distinguish between ref­erence persons and strangers are separated from the reference person by a hospital stay, they undergo a separation shock. First they protest, then become silent, and finally begin to seek a nurse as a new reference person. This is a difficult task since the nurses have little time to spend with individual children; however such


contact may be successful. But the nurses rotate in shifts or leave for vacations. Thus a newly established contact is often interrupted and the child must experience a new disappointment after losing this reference person. After protesting there may be a new attempt to establish contact, but the child cannot repeat the process too often. There are then two alternatives: the child can either learn to develop new contacts quickly, without a strong emotional involvement. These children no longer cry when the reference person leaves the area, or even if their mother leaves on visiting day. They are equally friendly to everyone but maintain a certain distance. The child no longer invests in intense relationships. J. Bowlby (1969a, p. 28) portrays this type of adaptation in hospital children:

Should his stay in hospital or residential nursery be prolonged and should he, as is usual, have the experience of becoming transiently attached to a series of nurses each of whom leaves and so repeats for him the experience of the original loss of his mother, he will in time act as if neither mothering nor contact with humans had much significance for him. After a series of upsets at losing several mother figures to whom in turn he has given some trust and affection, he will gradually commit himself less and less on succeeding figures and in time will stop altogether attaching himself to anyone. He will become increasingly self-centered and, instead of directing his desires and feelings toward people, will become preoccupied with material things such as sweets, toys and food. A child living in an institution or hospital who has reached this state will no longer be upset when nurses change or leave. He will cease to show feelings when his parents come and go on visiting day; and it may cause them pain when they realize that, although he has an avid interest in the presents they bring, he has little interest in them as special people. He will appear cheerful and adapted to his unusual situation and apparently easy and unafraid of anyone. But this sociability is superficial; he appears no longer to care for anyone.

Children that cannot make this adaptation close themselves off from the world. They enter into no more relationships and instead succumb to a type of apathy. They no longer protest, but behave “well” and remain retarded in their devel­opment. They are also more susceptible to disease.

R. A. Spitz (1965, 1968) impressively described such children. Although the high mortality rate (one-third) of all children under 2 years old in foster homes was recently shown to be due in part to insufficient nutrition, other pathological manifestations of hospitalism are also seen in well-nourished foster home children. Among other things, their developmental quotient is far behind that of children receiving personalized care. This showed in a comparison Spitz made between foster home children and those in a home for imprisoned mothers. The foster home children were routinely cared for by nurses while minor delinquent mothers (who had been pregnant when sent to the reformatory) cared for their children in the home for delinquent mothers. In the first 4 months, the developmental quotient of the foster home children was higher than that of the others, possibly because the foster children came from a higher social class. In the last one-third of the first year, their developmental quotient had fallen far below the initial level, while that of the children had improved due to the efforts of their delinquent mothers. R. A. Spitz (1968) summarized his findings shown in Table 4.2. In the family division are the developmental quotients for 34 children of various social strata; in the institution division are developmental quotients for institutionalized children (69 in childrens’ homes and 61 in foster homes).

A child needs a reliable reference to develop trust in others and himself. Children learn from partner reactions that they can arouse affection and that they are loved 190 for their own sakes (Fig. 4.14).


Environment Cultural and social milieu Average developmental _____ quotient in Year 1______
First 4 months Last 4 months
Family Children of 133 131
academics
Children of villagers 107 108
Institution Foster home 124 72
Children’s home 101.5 105

There is a trend in some recent publications to downplay the importance of early social deprivation, since compensation to a certain extent can occur at a later date. This is often presented to make it appear as if early deprivation were not so bad after all. This argumentation is inhuman, since we see that the deprived child suffers, regardless of whether the resulting damage is permanent or not. In addition, compensation later does not mean a complete cure, since it has not been determined whether some residual effects remain.

Bowlby’s concept of monotropy should not be interpreted too rigidly. Bowlby did not mean that a child could or should be attached to just one reference figure. It is far better for a child’s development to also have a bond with a father and other people as well (see also H. R. Schaffer and P. E. Emerson, 1964). We will investigate the significance of a diversified social relationship network for children in more detail. With a wider selection of possible reference figures, the child will

6 12 18 24 30 36

Chronological age (months)

Figure 4.14. (a) Behavioral development retardation in institutional children in Munich with no indication of genetic or other health handicap. Body motor ability, hand use, per­ception, play, speech, comprehension, and contact with others were tested. A “de­velopmental age” for each child was determined per task; it corresponds to the mean age of family children who can execute the test behavior. Mean results were entered in the graphs. Vertical disparity from the 45° line represents developmental retardation in months. Values for repeatedly tested children are joined by lines, (b) Shows the result of a parallel study with family children. Relative to these, the developmental retardation of institutionalized children is even greater. After J. Pechstein from B. Hassenstein (1972). 191

Chronological age (months)


differentiate distinctly between various persons depending upon the strength of its attachment to them. Thus one often observes children displaying a highly painful separation experience if the father or mother leaves, even if the other parent re­mains with the child (p. 224). However if an older sibling or a much loved aunt leaves the vicinity, the pangs of separation are not nearly as dramatic. When the parents are absent, an older sibling can assume the parental role and become a secure base for the child in fear arousal contexts (R. B. Stewart, 1983).

In the kibbutz the mother and the attendant are interchangeable in terms of being a secure base. If children are confronted with strangers, they will also seek protection with the attendant. However, the behavior elicited upon reuniting with the reference figure after a separation clearly demonstrates that the emotional ties to the mother are much more powerful (N. Fox, 1977). The mother-child bond is highly significant for the child’s healthy development (J. Bowlby, 1969; B. Has- senstein, 1973a; D. N. Stern, 1974, 1977). The mother can indeed be substituted for by another person, but that other reference person must fully engage herself as an adoptive mother. However the social development of a child should not take place solely within the mother-child dyad (B. Stacey, 1980). In kin-based societies many persons care for the child. It grows up, embedded in a multiplicity of social relationships, and actively establishes contacts within the social network. But the mother still plays a more significant role than do others and thus it is incorrect to describe this context a “multiple mothering.” The siblings, uncles, aunts, and the many other villagers fondling a child do not play the same role for the child as the mother. The child requires both types of relationships for its healthy development, an intimate mother-child attachment (for which an ersatz mother can substitute) and a differentiated social relationship network. Many discussions of this topic are one-sided elaborations of just one of these two types of relation­ships.

Extreme supporters of the feminist movements seriously suggest that child care be left to the state. This also suits those who believe that individualized attachments should be avoided since it leads to discrimination against other individuals. Thus this should be countered by raising children collectively. Only then would they feel responsible to the collective society.

Proponents of this viewpoint often also maintain that motherliness does not have a biological basis (E. Badinter, 1981; P. Aries, 1978; A. Skolnik, 1973; and others; p. 186), views that are repeated in otherwise critical books. Thus E. Shorter (1977) writes: “Maternal care for the young is a modern invention. In traditional society mothers were indifferent to the development and welfare of children less than two years of age” (p. 196). Shorter refers to reports from the 18th and early 19th centuries in France, Germany, and England. The fact that at that time children were often given over to wet nurses serves as evidence for his statement. But it does not occur to him that this could simply represent an extreme exercised in particular societal strata. The peasants could not afford wet nurses, and there is no evidence for the claim that peasants did not love their infants. The study of tribal people certainly demonstrates that motherliness is not at all a modern in­vention and to take such a position indicates a lack of perception and ethnocen­tricity.

The controversy is strongly influenced by the belief of some proponents of feminism that the acceptance of any biological preparedness for motherhood would pave the way for a reversion to sexism (further references in the review by A. 192 Efron, 1985).

Particularly because certain circles wish to foster humans who are responsible to a collective society, it should be reemphasized that the mother-child bond is the source of that “basic trust” which is the prerequisite of love for others. It is within the individual family that we become able to perceive and trust also unrelated persons as “brothers” and “sisters” and thus transpose the family ethos to the group society. It is also because of this fact that living together in the anonymous mass society is possible. Absence of familial socialization often leads to a bru­talization of interpersonal relations, as conditions in many metropolitan areas have shockingly demonstrated.

The consequences of early childhood neglect are alarming. B. Gareis (1978) found that in 1972, 21% of the inmates of the largest Bavarian prison had been love deprived and abused early in childhood. In 1974, the percentage climbed to 24.6, and by 1977 it was 34%. G. Kaiser (1978) found that only 5% of the inmates of a German prison grew up with one consistent reference person, while one-half of the inmates had more than five reference persons by their 14th year. Early childhood social and emotional deprivation produce a socialization deficit that can make such individuals susceptible to criminal behavior later in life. Some of the consequences include insensitivities, which, among others, manifests itself in a lack of guilt feelings.

Since these contexts are now understood, the conditions in childrens’ homes have substantially improved in recent years. Early placement with adoptive parents has increased. The SOS (Save Our Souls) childrens’ villages of Hermann Gmeiner are proving outstanding, where a specific number of children are assigned an ersatz mother as their constant reference companion. However, the West German laws are filled with deficits in providing for the protection of personal attachments. In divorce cases the child typically resides with one of the parents. Should the cus­todial parent marry, the child now has a stepfather or stepmother as a reference figure. If, however, the biological parent dies, West German law will place the child with the other parent, even if this parent has never provided care for the child, has no personal bond to it, and even if the child protests against being removed from its familiar household (B. Hassenstein, 1977). If the child has es­tablished an emotional attachment to a foster or stepparent, that bond should be respected.

4.3.3. The Significance of Mother-Child Contacts Immediately after Birth

Dramatic evidence exists indicating that the first minutes after birth are probably important for the emotional attachment of the mother to her child and thus for the development of the mother-child relationship. In societies practicing infanticide as a means of birth control, mothers will abandon their children to die or commit infanticide immediately after birth, while avoiding individual contact. Among the Eipo, Grete and Wulf Schiefenhovel (1978) filmed a woman giving birth who had claimed she would abandon her child to die if it were a girl. She bore a girl and prepared everything for the child’s death. She packed the child, complete with placenta (without cutting the umbilical cord) in fern leaves and placed the liana (bush-rope) to lace up the package. But the presence of a camera and photographers in one way or other slowed down the entire process. One sees the woman sitting thoughtfully in front of the bundle of fern leaves, with the screaming child hungrily fighting for life, pushing its pink feet and hands through the leaves. The mother 193 leaves the scene without completing her heart-breaking task. After 2 hours she returns, cuts the umbilical cord, and takes the baby, explaining that, almost apol­ogetically, it was a strong child and she could not abandon it (G. and W. Schie- fenhovel, 1978).[33]

There are many observations verifying that mothers can only leave their children to die as long as they do not have a personal attachment to them. If an attachment had developed, then the abandoning of an infant is considered to be murder, even if it is an otherwise acceptable practice (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1975). In many parts of Polynesia such an attachment was once considered to have developed the first time the mother breastfed her infant. In any case, it cannot be claimed that mothers easily leave their own babies to die, as W. Schmidbauer (1971) and others have maintained. Wherever precise observations exist it is found that the adults suffer a great deal of conflict in these situations. H. J. Heinz (1966, p. 36) writes: “I agree with Mrs. Marshall (1960, p. 327) that Bushmen are disturbed about the necessity of losing a child. They denied the practice of parting with children most convincingly until the author witnessed G.’s indecision on the matter of retaining her baby.”

N. A. Chagnon asked a young Yanomami mother about her baby’s where­abouts—she had just given birth but returned without her baby—the woman burst into tears, and her husband explained that one should not inquire further about the matter:

“What happened to the baby?” I whispered to Bahimi. We sat huddled under the eaves of the great sloping roof in the circular village . . . Bahian’s cheeks were smeared with black “sadness,” a crust of dirt mixed with tears, to signify her mourning. Across the village, women were returning home with firewood. Bahimi gazed at them without seeing. “She exists no more . . . I . . . I . . .,” more tears welled up her soft brown eyes, and I knew then that she had killed her daughter at birth. Kaobawa, her husband, the village headman, pressed my arm gently and whispered softly: “Ask no more of this my nephew. Our other baby is still nursing, and he needs the milk” (N. A. Chagnon, 1976, p. 211).

We will leave the matter with this moving document. Anyone making the effort to encounter members of other cultures sensitively will learn that they scarcely deviate from us in their feelings. It is symptomatic of an astonishing degree of ethnocentric presumption, a lack of empathy, and a profound ignorance for some­one to maintain that a healthy mother somewhere in the world would commit infanticide “light-heartedly." In most cases it occurs when birth spacing is too narrow. If weaned at an early age, the older child would have no chance for sur­vival. It is thus a choice which child will die, the newborn or its older sibling, to whom bonds are already formed. Another reason, as in the example of the Eipo mother, is population control. Wherever infanticide is necessary, it is done so as a culturally determined imperative, and generally takes place as soon as possible after birth, before the bond between the mother and her child has solidified. Thereafter the inhibitions against infanticide would simply be too strong.

Under normal delivery conditions, bonding takes place relatively quickly. Eipo mothers who delivered sit for a sometime after birth as if deep in thought. They


c

Figure 4.15. Example of a mother-child interaction immediately after delivery (in Ger­many). The umbilical cord has not yet been cut. The mother affectionately touches the child, speaks to it, and pa­cifies it when it cries. From a 16 mm film. Photo: S. Austen.

e


watch their child and take it to the breast after cutting the umbilical cord. Mothers in our culture who have not been administered drugs or locally anesthetized during the birth experience a powerful emotional reaction when the newborn baby is placed on their abdomens just after delivery. M. H. Klaus and J. H. Kennell (1976) described their condition as “ecstatic.” No doubt there are cultural dif­ferences in temperament, but the principle of the mother’s active attraction to the baby is constant (M. H. Klaus and J. H. Kennell, 1976; S. Austen, 1979). Mothers speak to their newborns, touch them with their fingertips, stroke them, massage them tenderly with the hands, show them to their husbands or the nurses, and make an effort to establish visual contact with them (Fig. 4.15).

M. H. Klaus and J. H. Kennell (1976) recorded the verbalizations of American mothers during the initial contact period. They found that 70% of their statements regarded the babies’ eyes. They said, for example, “Let me see your eyes” or “Open your eyes so I know you love me.” They attempted thereby to position their face so they looked directly at the infant’s. German mothers behaved sim­ilarly. K. Grossmann (1978) demonstrated the great significance of eye contact for the mother’s behavior. She recorded the behavior of ten mothers, each during three feedings on three successive days during the time 3-5 seconds before and after the baby opened its eyes. Behavior changed distinctly in 92.5% of all cases. The mothers displayed a livelier miming after their babies opened their eyes; they

Figure 4.16A.

Comparison of the fre­quencies of “social” be­havior of 10 mothers be­fore eye opening of their newborn with the fre­quencies of “social” be­havior after eye opening. From K. Grossman (1978).

jgj Frequency before eye opening

Figure 4.16B.

Comparison of the vestibular (a), optic (b), and acoustic (c) stim­ulation of the newborn by its mother as well as frequencies of approach by the mother to her child (d), both before and after eye opening of the infant. From K. Grossman (1978).

spoke with greater inflections and approached the child more. Smiling, stroking, and kissing (affectionate behavior) increased 50%, while feeding (care) behavior remained unchanged. Behavioral patterns oriented to others, such as chatting with neighbors, decreased (Figs. 4.16A, 4.16B).

In this context K. S. Robson (1967, p. 15) points to the fact that infants possess only limited means to reward the mother for all her efforts and the unpleasantries precipitated by the demands of child rearing. Within this limited range of expres­sion, the infant’s eye contact and smiling play an outstanding role!

The human mother is subject to an extended, exceedingly trying and often unrewarding period of caring for her infant. Her neonate has a remarkably limited repertoire with which to sustain her. Indeed, his total helplessness, crying, elimination behavior and physical appearance frequently elicits aversive reactions. Thus, in dealing with the human species, nature has been wise in making both eye-to-eye contact and the social smile, that often releases in these early months, behaviors that at this stage of de­velopment generally foster positive maternal feelings and a sense of payment for services rendered . . . Hence, though a mother’s response to these achievements may be an illusion, from an evolutionary point of view it is an illusion with survival value.

The infant meets its mother’s contact initiative by a state of striking alertness during the first hour after birth. This state of wakefulness is induced by the stress of birth, which causes the release of high levels of stress hormones (catecholamines,


adrenaline, noradrenaline) which, in turn, prepare the baby for life by causing in­creased flow of blood to the brain and musculature. The hormones make the baby alert which aids in promoting the process of bonding during the first hours of life (H. Lagercrantz and Th. A. Slotkin, 1986). The baby becomes highly responsive to his mother. He orients to her face, although one cannot know just which maternal char­acteristics are perceived by the infant at the time, but they are probably few in num­ber. It is known that newborns will orient to a light source (P. Harris and J. A. MacFarlane, 1974) and can follow moving objects with its eyes (S. Barton, B. Birns, and J. Ronch, 1971). At 3 to 5 weeks, their visual responses as a percentage of total fixation time are directed to the contours of the human face (57.4% of fixation), with a preference for the eyes (29.8%) and less attention to nose (7.9%) and mouth (4.9%). Between 9 and 11 weeks of age, the eyes attract more attention (48.9%) than the contours (32.7%; M. M. Haith et al., 1977).

As cited earlier (p. 53), newborns can move their eyes in coordination toward the source of a laterally produced sound, as if they wanted to fixate upon it visually (M. J. Mendelson and M. M. Haith, 1976). But this fixation is initially due to a central fixation process requiring no visual ability and thus no feedback from visual stimuli since children blind from birth will also fixate toward their mothers’ voices (D. G. Freedman, 1964). The important fact is that they behave as if they were looking at the mother, and mothers react to this behavior with strong, positive emotions. Not all children blind from birth are capable of this kind of visual “con­tact,” and mothers of such blind children find this lack of attempt at visual contact most disturbing (S. Fraiberg, 1975).

In this relationship it should be mentioned that the use of silver nitrate as a disinfectant after birth inhibits the eye contact process. Silver nitrate-treated ba­bies, as compared to control groups, keep their eyes closed for a long time (Figure 4.17). This routine treatment significantly interferes with mother-child contact at an important period (J. Winberg and P. De Chateau, 1982).

An infant also displays readiness for early contact in that sucking readiness reaches a peak 20 to 30 minutes after birth. The strong motivation for sucking does not occur again until 40 hours (I. A. Archavsky, 1952). Sucking elicits pro­gesterone release and, via oxytocin release, uterine contractions that diminish bleeding. It also fosters a powerful emotional attachment and stimulates nursing.

Mothers who kept their children for 3 hours after birth, nursing them twice, and who were together with their child another 15 hours on the following 3 days, displayed a greater extent of emotional attraction upon retesting 1 month later than mothers lacking such intensive early contact (Figure 4.18; M. H. Klaus and J. H. Kennell, 1976).

Mothers who had early contact are also ready to nurse sooner (M. H. Klaus and J. H. Kennell, 1976), which is of great consequence for the welfare of the child. Early contact facilitates a powerful emotional attraction of the mother to her child. This is evident even 2 years later in that mothers speak with greater inflections to their children if they were together right after birth, which stimulates mental development. They ask twice as many questions as control mothers, use more words for prepositions, less content words, more adjectives, and fewer com­mands. The latter is symptomatic of a harmonious relationship, since commands are expressions of aggressive dominance (N. M. Ringler et al., 1975, 1978; F. Broad, 1976). M. H. Klaus’s and J. H. Kennell’s data show that clinically enforced separation of a child from its mother immediately after birth or during the first days of life increases the child’s risk of being mistreated later by the mother. The percentage of mistreated children, as well as those who fail to thrive for no organic reason, is disproportionately high in newborn children routinely separated from their mothers. Mothers with early child contacts are also more hesitant to place their child in someone else’s care during the first months of life. In addition, those mothers who had intensive contact with their children immediately following birth were distinctly more competent with their children than mothers lacking such contact, who were more anxious (A. M. Sostek et al., 1982).

Figure 4.17. (a) A series of photographs showing an infant’s eyes before (above) and after silver nitrate treatment (below). A 180-second interval occurs between each photograph. From J. Winberg and P. DeChateau (1982). (b) Visual behavior of ten children before and after silver nitrate prophylaxis. Photographs were taken in 1-minute intervals during a 15-minute period. In subjects 3, 4, 8, and 9 the child turned its head to the side, so only one eye could be photographed. From Y. Andersson et al. (1978).

Figure 4.18. Mother-child interaction in a control study at the end of the first month. The extend of “caressing” and face- to-face orienting is significantly higher in mothers who had extensive contact with their child immediately after birth. After M.H. Klaus and J.H. Kennell (1976), from H. Schetelig (1979).

In a study by D. J. Hales et al. (1977), twenty normally delivered women in Guatemala were allowed 45 minutes of skin contact with their babies. The first group received their babies immediately after birth, while the others were allowed contact 12 hours afterward. A third control group of twenty women, following the usual hospital routine, were permitted to see their babies shortly after delivery; some 12 hours later the infant was brought to the mothers in the usual wrappings. All mothers were observed 36 hours later. Mothers who had experienced immediate postparturition contact displayed more attraction reactions, such as face-to-face contact, than the other two groups. The delayed contact group had values between those of the early contact group and the control group.

P. DeChateau and B. Wiberg (1977) observed primiparous Swedish mothers, with early birth contact, 3 months later in their homes. These mothers made visual contact with their children more often and kissed them more frequently than control mothers who lacked early child contact and who were also observed in their homes 3 months after delivery. The latter group cleaned their children more frequently. J. Schaller et al. (1979) found, however, that increased attraction of mothers with early contact toward their infants could only be verified during the first weeks, and they concluded that one should not overestimate the importance of early mother-child contact. Similarly, B. C. Myers (1984a,b) cautions not to over­interpret the meager positive findings on the effect of early bonding. These are important admonitions especially for those mothers who might develop anxieties because for one reason or another they lacked early contact with their children. We can assure such mothers that during the first months of life an equally powerful mother-child contact can develop. There are multiple mechanisms at work to ensure an intimate mother-child relationship. The sensitive phase immediately after birth probably developed to guarantee that the mother accept the child despite all the hardships of birth, and I would predict that initially the acceptance readiness of women with an extended child contact immediately after delivery is higher than of those with conventional hospital births under drugs and with mother-child sep­aration after birth. If this postulate were true, one would expect that mothers who had decided to give up their children for adoption prior to birth would change their minds more frequently if they had early child contact than those comparable mothers who avoided early contact.

Thus one should not overestimate the significance of early mother-child contact, nor should little value be attached to it. Data on breastfeeding indicate that contact has a positive effect on the mother-child relationship, and data on child neglect and child abuse in relation to early contact interruption likewise point to the im­portance of early mother-child contact for bonding quality. After all, the fact that mother and child do behave so distinctively and compatibly immediately after birth leads to the conclusion that this interaction is of high significance. A few additional findings follow.

W. S. Condon and L. W. Sander (1974) found that 16-hour-old infants are re­ceptive to language and respond to it with their body movements: “'When the 199 infant is already in movement, points of change in the configuration of his moving body parts become coordinated with points of change in the sound patterns char­acterizing speech. ...”

When the speaker pauses for air or emphasizes a syllable, the child reacts to that by almost unnoticeably raising a brow or lowering a foot. These speech- coordinated movements are only observed when natural rhythmic speech is pre­sented, not when other non-speech sounds of meaningless syllables are offered rhythmically. English or Chinese sounds will stimulate movement “commentary” by the 16-hour-old infant; the newborn can “comment” with body movements on his mothers words in the first hours after birth, and in this case a synchronizing function facilitating speech acquisition may be operating. W. S. Condon and L. W. Sander (1974) add: “This study reveals a complex interaction system in which the organization of the neonate’s motor behavior is entrained by and synchronized with the organized speech behavior of adults in his environment. If the infant, from the beginning, moves in precise shared rhythm with the organization of the speech structure of his culture, then he participates developmentally through complex socio-biological entrainment he later uses in speaking and communicat­ing.”

It is astonishing that infants in the first 3 days after birth not only prefer the human voice to other sounds but also their mother’s voice to that of strangers. They are already capable of differentiating voices. In one study, infants were given a pacifier as reward if they correctly discriminated between their mother’s voice and that of another woman. They quickly learned to recall their mother’s voice (A. J. deCasper and W. P. Fifer, 1980; M. Mills and E. Melhuish, 1974). Interestingly, these were children handled in the customary clinical manner in an American hospital who met their mothers only four times daily at feeding times and at most had been in contact with their mothers a total of 12 hours up to the time of the test.

Infants can also discriminate their mothers via olfaction. Newborn infants (mean age 45 hours) furthermore discriminate their mother’s face from the face of a stranger (T. M. Field et al., 1984) and their mother’s smell from the smell of other individuals. If 6-day-old infants are offered two cloths, one impregnated with their mother’s smell and one with the scent of someone else, the infants prefer their mother’s cloth significantly more often than the other one (J. A. MacFarlane, 1975, 1977; M. J. Russell, 1976; B. Schaal et al., 1980).

Mothers are also attuned specifically to their own children. Six hours after birth and after just one initial contact, they can distinguish their child from that of a stranger, an ability that fathers could not match (M. J. Russell et al., 1983). Mothers with infants can also differentiate the various cries for hunger, pain, and other utterances better than women without children or even mothers with older children (A. Sagi, 1981). Thirty-six mothers with 1- to 4-month-old infants were tested for this ability. Of these, fourteen already had older children and were experienced in child care, and seventeen were inexperienced in child care. The group of women without infants (non-mothers) were pregnant, and all had one or more older chil­dren. Experienced non-mothers tested lower on the ability to distinguish utterances than the inexperienced mothers of young children. “There is apparently some kind of predisposition which either naturally attunes the mother to correctly un­derstand the infant’s cries, or makes her differential experience with the crying infant more meaningful and thus increases her skill in identifying his intent . . . The fact that mothers performed better than women who were nine months preg- 200 nant, suggests that the changes, whatever they are, occur at parturition and not during pregnancy. However, it is also plausible that the major changes do take place during pregnancy, and establish initial predispositions for an effective mother-infant interaction soon after giving birth. This deserves further investi­gation” (A. Sagi, 1981, p. 40).

We have already shown that mothers display strong attraction reactions to their children immediately after birth. They also talk a great deal (H. L. Rheingold and J. L. Adams, 1980). We will now consider the mother-child interactions in more detail.

4.3.4. Ethological Aspects of Birth

The typical delivery in a hospital environment does not generally foster the development of early mother-child attachment. This is due primarily to the sterile, hygienic atmosphere, which is unfamiliar and tends to both alienate and produce anxiety for the mother. Security is actually a requisite for a healthy birth, and fear makes the birth process more difficult. Many ungulates hesitate delivering in the presence of an observer, which is probably an adaptation against predators. If an ungulate detected a predator in the vicinity, it would be advantageous to delay parturition. Fear suppresses labor, something that also occurs in humans. There is a psychogenic labor weakness that delays birth and, although it is not adaptive in our case, extends the delivery process. C. Naaktgeboren and E. H. M. Bontekoe (1976) found that epinephrine release is responsible for this change. Transport to the hospital and the strange surroundings can be anxiety producing for a birthing woman. It has long been known that labor pains often cease as a woman is being transported to the hospital after having experienced labor pains at home. We know that moving into unfamiliar surroundings can influence other physiological processes in humans and many other mammals. Defecation, for ex­ample, is often inhibited, a phenomenon known as travel constipation. One could speak analogously of a 'birth delay” in unfamiliar surroundings.

Practices of peoples who give birth with no western medical care can offer us insights in this matter. Birth among the Eipo and their neighbors in the highlands of West New Guinea has been well documented, to a great extent on film. Grete and Wulf Schievenhovel were able to attend seven births, their observations to­taling 16 hours (G. and W. Schievenhovel, 1978; W. Schiefenhovel, 1980, 1982, 1983a). Eipo women deliver in a sitting or squatting position near to the womens’ hut, where they also go during menstruation (thus in familiar territory). Experi­enced relatives and female friends provide loving care to the woman in labor, particularly first-time mothers. Pain and fear are soothed using skin contact, mas­sage, and magic spells. After delivery the mother attends actively to her child, cleans it with leaves, cuts the umbilical cord with a bamboo knife, and often re­moves the placenta as well. Similar customs can be observed in many other tra­ditional cultures. W. Schiefenhovel and D. Sich (1983) summarize reports on birth behavior in tribal societies.

Cross-cultural comparisons and examples from behavioral biology support giving birth in familiar environs. Mother should become familiar with clinical surroundings prior to delivery. Home births in familiar surroundings take less time on average than hospital deliveries (extensively discussed in C. Naaktgeboren and E. H. M. Bontekoe, 1976). G. and W. Schiefenhovel (1983b) and M. and C. Paciornik (1983) criticize the customary dorsal delivery position. A squatting woman delivers more easily since she is assisted by gravity (Figures 4.19, 4.20). The use of narcotics and strong local anesthetics should also be kept to a minimum. Mothers report 201


Figure 4.19. (a) and (b). In traditional societies, delivery usually takes place in a squatting posture, which eases birth. Delivering Eipo woman. Photo: W. Schiefenhovel.


Figure 4.20. Modern Brazilian woman delivering in the squatting position with physician assisting nearby. Note the mother’s first contact with the child, using her hands. From M. and C. Paciornik (1983).



Figure 4.22. Breastfeeding begins imme­diately after or a few hours after delivery. Here another person assists breastfeeding. Photo: W. Schiefenhovel. that post birth relaxation is a highly liberating feeling and is intimately related to the emergence of the child. This coincides with the euphoric, festive mood (pre­viously cited reports) that mothers experience after natural parturition. Narcotized women often feel betrayed by being deprived of their first conscious contact with the child.

Figure 4.21. Eipo women in labor are attended by female relatives or neighbors. They support the laboring woman, cheer her up, activate labor pains by massage, and also use magic. Photo: W. Schie­fenhovel.

Contact with the child immediately after birth is important for both partners. This does not mean that a woman who delivers fully narcotized and does not see her child until several hours later when the narcotic effect has worn off cannot develop just as deep an emotional bond to the child as a normally delivered woman. But extra time is required for that to happen, and one can presume that immediate bonding is less liable to interference.

At present the father’s role as a birth assistant and supporter is being debated. In traditional cultures, husbands do not usually participate in birth, these functions being assumed by daughters or other close females (Figures 4.21, 4.22). We do not know why that is so. It might be that the experience of birth could lead some men to develop guilt feelings and that such an effect could impair sexual relations. This is a topic that deserves investigation to help determine the optimal method of birth support. Certainly there is a need for the support of a familiar trusted person, and in many instances today the husband can best fulfill that role. This would suggest the importance of his participation.

4.3.5. Mother-Child Signals, Interaction Strategies

The infant possesses a signal repertory immediately after birth, and is in a po­sition to react adaptively to his mother’s advances. We have already discussed his vocal repertory (p. 26).

Crying is used to signal a need for help, while smiling releases friendly attraction. Both expressive behaviors are present at birth and are of great importance. Al­though smiling is spontaneous and not consciously exercised, it fulfills its function, as does eye contact, of rewarding the mother for her efforts. She interprets the signals as a sign of affection. Mothers of children born blind at birth regret that their children do not smile upon eye contact, and they will attempt to stimulate smiling with strong tactile stimuli. "As observers we were initially puzzled and concerned by the amount of bouncing, jiggling, tickling and muzzling that all of our parents, without exception, engaged in with the babies. In several cases we judged the amount of such stimulation as excessive by any standards. . . . The parents’ own need for the response smile, which is normally guaranteed with the sighted child at this age, led them to these alternative routes in which a smile could be evoked with a high degree of reliability” (S. Fraiberg, 1975, p. 231).

Mothers quickly recognize the crying of their own babies, and if they hear their babies cry, the rate of blood flow in the breasts increases (J. Lind et al., 1973). In many women milk flow is so strongly stimulated that milk is actually released from the nipples.

In their evaluation of infant cries, 24 non-parents and 20 parents of both sexes were in basic agreement as to the perceived aversiveness, possible caretaking responses, and semantic differentiation, which indicates that cry perception may be a fundamental species-specific perceptual process that is fine-tuned by the care­giving experience (J. Green et al., 1987).

A newborn infant can also use its facial expressions to communicate whether something tastes good or not, rejecting bitter and sour substances and accepting 204 sweet things with clearly understandable reactions. These facial expressions also appear in anencephalic individuals (J.E. Steiner and R. Horner, 1972). The facial expression repertoire differentiates rapidly; at 2 months infants intentionally smile at their mothers and can pout and otherwise "Threaten” their mother’s neglect by disengaging from any interaction. L. Murray (1977, quoted in C. Trevarthen, 1979) conducted an experiment in which mothers at first had interacted in a friendly manner with their infants and thereafter only looked at their child for one minute without making any affectionate expressions. After the minute passed they resumed affectionate exchanges with their infants. Initially the children reacted to their mothers’ lack of interest with attempts to establish contact and then with cries of protest. When the mothers reinitiated affectionate interaction, the infants turned away, pouting! The child certainly does not cognitively understand the social sig­nificance of such a cut off; this strategy must be innate (p. 566).

The visual infantile features that Lorenz (1943) call the [44] Kinde henschema” (babyschema, p. 60) are not fully developed at birth. They are actually less nec­essary at this time, since mothers are bonded to newborns with so many other signals. The child always remains close to the mother, unable to move away from her. Contact with non-family individuals increases slowly as the child grows and particularly when it begins to crawl. At this time the infant needs signals protecting itself from others’ aggressive reactions, particularly when mischievous behavior is caused by the infant’s clumsiness—the [44]sweet” and cute infant is easily forgiven!

We have already mentioned that infants react to speech immediately after birth.

At 3 months, mother and child are known to interact vocally, whereby two struc­turally and functionally distinct means of communication exist, called co-action and alternation by D.N. Stern et al. (1977).

In co-action mother and child vocalize simultaneously; alternation refers to alternating babbling, which occurs when one of the partners pauses. Co-action dominates in mother-child communication when the infant is 3 to 4 months old, occurring twice as often as alternation. However, this does not mean that co­action is a precursor to alternation. Stem et al. note that both strategies are utilized throughout life. Alternation occurs when the mother teaches her child something, whereas co-action indicates a higher emotional level: "When the two start to really have fun together, they move into a co-action pattern” (D.N. Stern et al., 1977). This trend continues into adulthood. "As the interpersonal situation moves toward intensive anger, sadness, joy, or expressions of love, the alternation dialogue pat­tern ‘breaks down’ and co-actional vocalizing again becomes a crucial commu­nicative note. ...”

The same principle applies to adult’s cultural rituals where strong emotional attachment is involved—consider, for example, the vocalization patterns of opera duets, church choral singing, and marching songs (D.N. Stern et al., 1977). We are dealing here with the generalized principle of bonding via shared simultaneous activities, also expressed in dance (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1973a). Rhythmic synchro­nization in alternation is another expression of understanding and unity. The bonding function of many synchronized rituals is based on this fact, which is particularly evident in specific dance forms.

Mothers dispose of age-differentiated strategies for interacting with their infants without being aware of it. To some extent such strategies may arise from phy- logenetically determined programs. Thus, for example, in face to face interaction they approach their infants up to a distance of 30 cm, a distance infants can best see. Mothers require no special training to establish this distance. H. and M. Papousek indeed recommend that mothers behave spontaneously for then they would generally act appropriately. Maternal behavior must be modified continually 205 so the infant does not become bored. Generally, mothers are well prepared to accommodate their infants’ limited capabilities (H. Keller, 1980). H. and M. Pa- pousek (1977) refer to a mirror function of maternal behavior, designating the mother as the “biological mirror” of her child, which accounts for the fact that mothers take up their childs’ vocalizations interpreting them as a contribution to a dialogue and carry on “conversation” in response. They state that the mother is responsible for maintaining the interactions until the end of the first year, so these vocal exchanges are in fact “pseudo-dialogues.” Mothers undoubtedly effect communication by imitating their infants’ last utterances and thus attempt to maintain the communicational flow. But infants also initiate contact and respond to and imitate the mothers’ sounds. Contact initiative and thus intentionality have been verified in infants, and is not just based on maternal interpretation.

How important the contribution of the baby for the dialogue with his mother was demonstrated in experiments with 8- to 9-week-old babies whose mother talked to them via a video system designed so that each partner saw a full-face, life-size image of the other on a screen before them. The mothers were presented either with live, real-time video sequences of their infants, where communication was therefore potentially mutually responsive, or else with the same sequence replayed some minutes later. Baby talk of the mother differed consistently between live and replay conditions. In the replay situation more imperatives and declaratives were uttered and mothers claimed that they felt strained (L. Murray and C. Tre- varthen, 1986). Three-month-old infants possess a behavioral inventory for es­tablishing contact or maintaining distance with a reference person. Mothers incite, comment, show objects, demonstrate, and, in short, utilize all sorts of techniques adapted to their infants’ comprehension level (H. Keller, 1980). Communication is disturbed when the infant is insufficiently stimulated to respond or when it is overstimulated. One method of detecting disturbed parent-child relations is noting the form and quality of reciprocal eye contact. There are infants that can actively avoid the reference person’s eye contact at as early as 3 months of age. They use this mechanism when they detect some unpleasant interaction due to the reference person’s inappropriate behavior or their own excessively anxious disposition. Often both factors operate which reciprocally enhances withdrawal behavior in a vicious circle. If the reference person does not correctly respond to the infant’s contact initiative, for example, by holding the child too far away or orienting it so it cannot establish face to face contact, the child will actively avoid this unpleasant inter­action. I believe that infants repeatedly provoked in this manner can fall into a continuous state of sulking that becomes habitual. The strategy of rejecting others by sulking and disengagement in order to elicit a new contact initiative is verified at a very early age.

This syndrome of taking offense, which I have not seen described elsewhere, should be distinguished from autism, as described by E.A. and N. Tinbergen (1972, 1983) which obviously derives from excessive anxiety of a child. Autistic children avoid contact (especially visual) due to pronounced social fear, withdrawing into a capsule shut off from their social environment. These anxious children elicit parental rejection due to the child’s inadequate social accessibility. When the chil­dren act in an irritating manner they can even provoke aggressive responses from their caretakers. According to A.M. Frodi and M.E. Lamb (1980), children who cry excessively or in a deviant manner (as in “cat cry syndrome” children or 206 premature babies) are more likely to be maltreated. Of course, there are many other factors of the social environment that play a role in child maltreatment besides these abuse-releasing characteristics (J. Belsky, 1980).

The manner in which a mother interacts with her baby differs considerably in a number of ways from adult pathways of communication. Her manner of speech differs from normal speech in rhythm, accentuation, vocabulary, volume, speed, and frequency changes. Speech elements are generally reduced in speed, with certain syllables extended, probably as an adaptation to the child’s perceptual skills (S.W. Anderson and J. Jaffe, 1972). Note the frequency difference of about one octave, a difference also found in Eipo, Bushmen, Yanomami, and other cul­tures (Fig. 4.23). C.A. Ferguson (1964) studied baby talk in seven cultures and found comparable differences in all cultures between baby and adult talk (see also A. Fernald and T. Simon, 1984). D.L. Grieser and P.K. Kuhl (1988) compared maternal speech of Mandarin Chinese, English, and German mothers when ad­dressing babies of 2 months old. Their study confirms that in all three groups a similar upward shift of the fundamental frequency occurs. Closer examination reveals several types of baby talk. The one with the conspicuously raised pitch is used when mothers (or any other person) address a child to get its attention, such as during a greeting episode or when a person wants to animate for active playful interaction. When a mother comforts her child, the fundamental frequency is often low and the child is addressed using slow speech.

“Baby talk” refers to the manner in which men, women, and children talk to infants and others in need of care. When adults speak to other grown-ups with baby talk they do not do so out of superiority but as a genuine expression of affection, and the adult being cared for responds within this context (L.R. Caporael, 1981, 1983). The characteristics of baby talk are as follows:

1. Raising tone frequency relative to normal speech by one octave.

2. Exaggeration of intonation structure, whereby the melodic form conveys specific information (D.N. Stern et al., 1982). Mothers use rising melodies when they elicit their childs’ visual contact. Yes-no questions have a similar frequency curve. Why-questions and demands utilize falling melodies. Si­nusoidal and bell curves are used when mothers wish to maintain the infant’s interest.

3.Emphasis of important elements.

4. Clear, simple speech.

5. Grammatical simplification.

The use of baby talk is sometimes criticized professionally. But as Hannelore Grimm (1983) points out, those critics overlook the positive emotional function of this means of expression: “If it is reduced to a purely academic consideration based theoretically on the linguistics of speech, this argument has a certain validity. But in reference to what actually occurs during the concrete interactional situation, or more correctly what should occur, this argument is untenable. Unless one would wish for speech development without considering the affectivity of words” (p. 591).

In an operant auditory preference procedure 4-month-old infants showed a sig­nificant listening preference for the “motherese” speech register (A. Fernald, 1985).

Facial expressions are also modified specifically for children. Mothers exag­gerate expressions and change them more slowly. Visual contact is maintained 207

Figure 4.23A. Mothers raise their tonal frequency when they speak to their children, and cross-cultural studies suggest the phenomenon is universal. Central Eu­ropean (a) normal speech (NS) falls between 170 and 350 Hz, while baby talk (BT) occurs at 500-850 Hz, approximately one octave higher. The rhythmic structure of BT can clearly be seen in the sonogram. Speech speed reduction (about 50%) is also evident in the amplitude levels shown on the top row of the sonogram. Bushman (b) NS is in the 250-500 Hz range (note their clicking sound patterns). Their BT falls in the 500-1000 Hz range; it is higher pitched than NS, clearer melodically, more simply structured rhythmically, and is half the speed of NS (top spectrograph line). In the Yanomami (c) NS is 180-400 Hz; BT 800-1000 Hz has a more defined melodic character, clear rhythmic structure and overtone pattern, and reduced speed (uppermost spectral line). Eipo (d) speech is highly ritualized, and melodic speech characteristics are barely visible relative to other cultures. Thus NS, song, and BT share a similar melodic structure in which each utterance drops off sharply at its termination, maintaining a single NS frequency of about 200 Hz. BT is elevated (400-500 Hz). Interestingly, BT is rhythmic although its velocity is essentially unchanged. Nonetheless BT displays am­plitude variation. From R. Eggebrecht (1983).

Figure 4.23B. Mean frequency difference between baby talk (BT) and normal speech in five cultures. The base line represents mean frequency of normal speech. From R. Eggebrecht (1983).

for a longer time than with adults. The eyebrow movements are accentuated in the eyebrow flash (p. 118), often in conjunction with jesting surprise.[34] We are so accustomed to this behavior that we are no longer even aware of it (Figs. 4.24­4.27). These exaggerated expressions would only be obvious if a woman executed them in all her adult interactions. Stern states that these behavioral patterns are probably species specific, a position that my cross-cultural findings would support.

The basic repertoire of affectionate behavior was identical in all cultures we investigated (p. 136; Section 6.3). We previously cited the kiss, which is not only limited to the mouth region but includes the cheeks and other body parts. Other forms of oral affection, such as licking the sexual organs or blowing with pursed lips, are differentiated on a culture-specific basis. Affectionate nibbling (Figs. 4.28, 4.29) is more widespread and perhaps related to primate behavior. Face to face interactions with head raising, eyebrow raising, and subsequent facial approach or nodding are universal interactional patterns. The mother performing in such a way often speaks in the manner described previously. Mothers fondle their children in all cultures, lift them up or rock them in slumber (Figs. 4.30, 4.31). The rocking, jostling, and lifting of infants, which mothers enjoy doing so much, accommodates the infantile need for vestibular stimulation. An excited infant can be calmed by rocking it. In kin-based societies infants spend most of their time being carried about by the mother or another person. Vestibular stimuli communicate to the infant that he is not alone. Hospitalized children isolated from this stimulus often develop movement stereotypes, like rocking and self-patting, that serves as self­stimulation (E. Thelen, 1980).


Figure 4.24. (a) and (b) Yanomami mother greeting her child with “eyebrow flash. ' From a 16 mm film. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Figure 4.25. Eipo woman addressing a child with jesting surprise and eyebrow raising. From a 25 frames/second 16 mm film, frames 1, 10, 14, and 24 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Figure 4.26. Bushman woman producing a playful grimace for a child. From a 16 mm film. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Figure 4.27. Trobriand mother making faces with her child of only a few months of age; she probably tries to attract her child's attention using these striking expressions. From a 25 frames/second 16 mm film, frames 1, 21, and 51 of the sequence. Photo: 1. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

L. Salk (1973) discovered that 80% of all mothers carry their children on the left side. Studies of photographs, paintings, and sculptures indicate that this is a universal phenomenon (O.J. Grusser, 1983); our photographic results support this as well (see also P. DeChateau et al. 1976, 1978; J.S. Lockard et al., 1979; M.M. Saling and W.L. Cooke, 1984). This phenomenon could be associated with the prevalence of right handedness in all cultures. This frees the mother’s right hand for other activities. Adult males show no side preference when they carry infants (J.S. Lockard et al., 1979). L. Salk found that left-handed individuals also carry their infants on the left side. He presumes that the infant becomes conditioned

Figure 4.28. Nose-rubbing in the Trobriand mother elicits a happy expression on the child’s part (play-face), which in turn creates joy for the mother. From a 25 frames/second 16 mm film, frames 1, 9, 26, and 125 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt. 211

Figure 4.29. Eipo mother biting her son playfully on the cheek. She observes his reaction and continues oral affection by giving a blow kiss on the child’s breast. From a 25 frames/second 16 mm film, frames 1, 13, 70, and 119 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

to the mother’s heartbeat in the uterus and that this sound can have a calming influence on the child after birth. Mothers would learn this fact quickly and thus carry their children on the left side where the heartbeat can be heard more easily. However, H.J. Ginsburg et al. (1980) found that infants a few hours old display clear preferences for turning the head. If the infant’s head is fixated on the median and then released, it will turn to one side with a clear individual preference. About two-thirds of all infants will turn to the right. Mothers carry these children on the left side. Infants preferring to turn to the left are carried on the right side. Thus in both instances mothers would respond to the infants’ preferences, and studies with older children had the same results. It appears that the maternal behavior could reflect the child’s head-turning preferences. Although this does not contradict the hypothesis that children are conditioned to the mother’s heartbeat while in the uterus, the heartbeat theory seems somewhat farfetched to me. In fact there is a great variety of sounds an infant would hear inside the uterus, and the calming effect of tape recorded heartbeat playback could have an entirely different basis.[35] A child also perceives its own rhythm. It is also known, for example, that physiological processes in lower vertebrates can be synchronized with rhythmic “Zeitgeber” (time givers). This has been done with goldfish respiration rates using a metronome (J. Kneutgen, 1964). One might also investigate relationships between carrying method and handedness using a larger number of subjects. This


Figure 4.30. Comforting via approach, speaking, and contact: a crying Yanomami infant (upper Orinoco). The mother talks to him, bringing her face closer, touching him at the same time on his knee. The infant smiles, and the sequence ends with affectionate nose-rubbing. From a 25 frames/second 16 mm film, frames 1, 42, 63, 99, 118, 141, 174, 182, 190, and 196 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.


Figure 4.31. Comforting a crying Eipo infant girl (Irian Jaya/western New Guinea). A woman gives the crying child to another woman sitting on the ground. The mother in the background briefly touches the child on the arm (c) while the sitting woman holds the infant and points toward me as a diversion. The sitting woman then embraces and fondles the child who looks at his slightly injured hand and is quickly calmed. From a 50 frames/second 16 mm film, frames 1, 85, 351, 400, 558, 565, 613, and 711 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

has always appeared to be a significant factor to me, for it is obviously advan­tageous for a mother to have her active hand free for domestic duties as she carries her infant about. This is supported by the fact that the children are also preferably carried on the left side when they are borne about on the hips.

In the tribal or kin-based societies children generally have more immediate body contact with the mother than in technological civilized cultures. They are breastfed on demand. Since breastfeeding stimulates prolactin release, it also in­hibits follicle budding and thus a premature subsequent pregnancy.

In the Yanomami and the Kalahari Bushmen the author documented mothers and fathers caressing, licking, and otherwise mouthing their babies genitalia, re­gardless of their sex. This behavior stops, however, as soon as the babies are weaned and is not meant to arouse the babies to orgasm nor is the acting parent working off a sexual arousal. The behavior is an expression of parental affection and also has an hygienic function: Yanomami mothers were observed licking their girls and sucking their little boy’s penis in clear intent of cleaning. The behavior should not be mistaken as being sexually motivated. I emphasize this point, since Freud argued that a mother would be shocked if she realized that she was treating her baby as if she or he were a sexual partner. Parents in western society sometimes feel inhibited to express their affection by kissing and mouthing particular parts of their baby’s bodies. As previously pointed out, Freud read the direction of the evolution erroneously. Patterns of caressing primarily evolved in the service of parental care and secondarily became incorporated in the repertory of courtship behavior. Affectionate displays are linked with sexual arousal, which is experienced by some mothers during nursing. But it is not a primarily sexual linkage and in most women, according to my inquiries, the quality of the pleasure felt dur­ing nursing is said to differ from the sexual arousal felt by nipple manipulation during sexual foreplay. Most important, no incestuous fantasies are experienced during nursing, nor when a father interacts with his baby.

Body contact gives a child trust and security. We can only guess at the effects of the limited body contact occurring in our culture. My impression from working with people in kin-based societies is that the prolonged and intensive degree of body contact results in a strong dependency of infants on their mothers. Weaning often occurs abruptly once the mother knows that she is pregnant again. In Bush­men, a 3- to 4-year period of pronounced affection is followed by a rather dramatic rejection on the part of the mother, who is now fully devoted to the next child. This is often traumatic for the older child and can result in strong sibling rivalry (p. 594; I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1974). In most European countries children become used to independence at a relatively early age. They sleep alone without body contact but tolerate this by using substitute objects for maternal contact while they sleep. Pacifiers, a special blanket, or a doll act as transitional objects offering security. K. Stanjek (1979) found that children in eastern Gabun and southern India do not develop an attachment to substitute objects despite varying weaning times (N’Bono: 13 months; Mottavila and Vizhinyam: 30 months mean time). Thus it is not oral experience but rather the loneliness of a child in bed that is responsible for the need of a substitute maternal object. Randomly sampled children in southern India and eastern Gabun have more social partners than those from a random sample in Munich, Germany, where a smaller number of reference figures exist. Conditions in the United States resemble those in Germany (F. Busch and J. McKnight, 1973). If a child has sufficient affectionate contact, early training 215


Table 4.3. Skin Contact'

Day 1 (21.10.81) Day 2 (22.10.81) Day 3 (23.10.81) %
Observation time (min.) 633 648 528 1809 100
Skin contact (min.)
Mother 244 204 119 567 31
Father 98 37 94 229 12
Third party 64 120 117 301 17
S (min.) 406 361 330 1097 60
No skin contact (min.) ca. 712 40

"Beres, 18-month-old male infant from highlands of West New Guinea. From W. Schie- fenhovel (1984).

for independence has no ill effects for further development. Indeed, this kind of emancipation could foster personality strength.

M. Mead (1965) believed that early childhood contact led to a peaceful dis­position, while denial of contact would result in an aggressive, belligerent per­sonality structure. Thus she felt that the Mundugumur were aggressive and warring due to little body contact early in life, while the Arapesh were a peaceful group whose children enjoyed a great deal of body contact.

This generalization is untenable, aside from the fact that the Arapesh are indeed warfaring (R.F. Fortune, 1939). The Masai, Himba, Eipo, and Yanomami, to name just a few examples, offer their children a great deal of contact and affection and yet are warring peoples. Affectionate contact creates a disposition to identify with the reference adult (p. 398), and if they happen to conduct wars the children will also be prepared to do so.

An 18-month-old boy from the aggressive In people (western New Guinea, Wa- haldak) experienced an average of 50 individual contacts with various people per sampling day (about 10 hours) on three successive days, and this led W. Schie- fenhovel (1984) to speak of a “child-centered interaction turntable” summarized in Table 4.3. They largely confirm our findings in Bushmen (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1972; see also M. Konner, 1977). The aggressiveness of these adults is not related to any lack of body contact during early childhood.

Three-month-old infants begin to respond to fear-inducing signals of other peo­ple. The ambivalence of interpersonal relationships described earlier also occurs in mother-child interactions. After an extended face to face contact with the mother the child will tend to turn away from her momentarily (D.N. Stern, 1971, 1974, p. 208). Stern describes pre-peek-a-boo games beginning at this stage:

During play a sequence is often observed between mother and infant. In our laboratory we call it the “pre-peek-a-boo-game” with no certainty of its relationship to later peek- a-boo. It consists of the infant looking at the mother, smiling, vocalizing and showing other signs of mounting arousal and positive affects, momentary sobering, and a fleeting grimace interspaced with smiling. The intensity of arousal continues to build up until he suddenly averts gaze sharply with a quick but not extensive head turn which keeps the mother’s face in good peripheral view, while his level of “excitement” clearly declines. He then returns gaze bursting into a smile, and the level of arousal and affect build again. He averts gaze, and so on.

Later infants enjoy “now-I’ll-get-you” games, in which escape-motivated be­havior is acted out. K. Lorenz (1943) described the joy children take in grue­someness, and B. Bettelheim (1977) adds that this is one reason that children need fairy tales. Many mother-child games are based on acting out this escape moti­vation. In this connection I wish to add an individual observation from my own close acquaintances. A 3-year-old boy suffered nightmares for some time. With that in mind, his mother invented a game called “The Bad Man Will Get You.” The little boy enjoyed this exciting game, and when they repeatedly played this game out just before bedtime the nightmares promptly ended.

The active role of the infant in initiating interactions is significant. Contact initiative occurs quite distinctly at 3 to 4 months of age. The child makes sounds for the mother to come to him, grabbing in the air at her with the arms closing over its chest (Figs. 4.32-4.34). Once the infant can crawl and walk, pointing and reaching objects are incorporated into the repertoire for eliciting contact. In fact this initiation of contact probably even saved the lives of twins in a study of social isolation (W. Dennis, 1941). The experiment dealt with the question of how children develop with a minimum of social contacts. Dennis chose two 5-week-old insti­tutionalized twin girls in this rather dreadful study. During the first 6 months they were kept under rather strict social isolation. The twins were not allowed to see each other, and were cared for by the experimenters without any outward signs of emotion. The experimenters fed, bathed, and put the twins to sleep and con­ducted their studies but did not respond to their crying and never gave any sign of affection for the twins; they did not smile, cuddle, or fondle the children. Once the subjects were 7 weeks old they began following the experimenters visually, and smiled when the researchers entered the room. The faces of the personnel caring for the children evoked particular attention from the children. Between the ninth and twelfth weeks they began to laugh and flirt, and at 13 to 16 weeks they cried when their attendants left the bedside. At 6 months of age they reacted fearfully to noises and smiled persistently when someone approached them, often babbling as well. In the eighth month one subject was able to touch the hair and face of the chief investigator. After that time the Dennis team submitted to the twins’ initiatives for contact. They played with them on a limited basis and per­mitted the twins to maintain contact with each other while continuing conditions of strict social isolation. Their development was distinctly behind that of other children. One can only hope that this experiment did not have any long-term del­eterious effects on the subjects.

4.3.6. Nursing

Human mothers are physiologically adapted to continuous breastfeeding. Their milk has a lower protein and fat content than that of other mammals nursing their young for greater intervals of time. In most kin-based societies infants are breastfed on demand, which, when awake, can be several times an hour (Fig. 4.35). If an infant cries, it is immediately put to the breast; in Bushmen the latency time av­erages only 6 seconds (M.H. Konner and C. Worthman, 1980). The mechanical stimulation of the nipple releases prolactin; after birth oxytocin is also released, which along with uterine contractions causes the alveolae of the mammary glands to contract and release milk. This is experienced as the “letdown reflex.” After a few days, oxytocin production ceases during breastfeeding. Meanwhile the mother has become so conditioned to her child that she no longer requires these unconditioned reflexes. Prolactin continues to be produced upon any mechanical stimulation of the breast (M.R. Duchen and A.S. McNeilly, 1980; J.E. Tyson et al., 1978). Prolactin production will not occur if the nipples are anesthetized (J.E. Tyson, 1977). However, mechanical stimulation of the breast of nonnursing women will elicit prolactin release (G.L. Noel et al., 1972). During nursing the prolactin level increases up to twenty times, and this elevated level inhibits cyclical hormonal production influencing gonadal functions. This, along with other factors (such as nutrition), explains why the Bushmen women who nurse at short intervals throughout their 3-year nursing period do not become pregnant during this time (R.V. Short, 1984). Frequent nursing alone does not seem sufficient to repress ovulation for more than about 20 months.

Figure 4.32. See legend opposite page.

Figure 4.32. Female G/wi Bushman infant (central Kalahari) soliciting contact. Note the repeated alternation in expression be­tween affectionate attraction to anger to renewed friend­liness and the associated seizing motion of the hands. A child is in control of his expressive repertoire and thus shows communicative competence long before it can walk independently and speak. From a 25 frames/ second 16 mm film, frames 1, 12, 24, 34, 60, 148, 162, 166, 177, 180, 183, 186, 192, 196, 199, 202, 206, and 213 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl- Eibesfeldt.

Figure 4.33. A male Eipo infant (Irian Jaya/western New Guinea) sitting on his mother’s shoulder solicits contact from another (in foreground), who likewise signals contact readiness; play-face and embracing intention (spreading the arms). From a 25 frames/second 16 mm film, frames 1, 32, 62, 71, 87, and 1122 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Figure 4.34. An approximately 1-year-old female infant (Trobriand Islands) soliciting contact with her mother with an em­bracing intentional movement. From a 16 mm film. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibes­feldt.

Figure 435. Four full-day (13-hour) observations of continuous breastfeeding of Kung infants: 3-day (a) and 14-day-old (b) male infant; (c) 52-week-old girl: (d) 79-week-old boy. White blocks with vertical lines, nursing; black thickened lines, sleep. F: angry behavior and crying. Diagonal lines in (a) and (b) indicate the time during which the mother held her child. High vertical lines indicate drinking bouts lasting less than 30 seconds. From M.J. Konner and C. Worthman (1980).

The sucking rate of the infant has a definite facilitating influence on the mother’s 221

Figure 4.36. Playing with the breast. While breastfeeding the infant grabs the free breast of the mother and manipulates its nipple. This supplementary mechanical stimulation may enhance prolactin production, (a) Breastfeeding Tasaday (Mindanao/Philippines); (b) breastfeeding Nursing Himba (southwest Africa); (c) Bushman infant (!Ko, cen­tral Kalahari); (d) Balinese; (e) Biami (Papua-New Guinea); (f) !Ko Bushman woman nursing. Photos I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

affectionate behavior. The relationship between the two is linear (D.N. Stern et al., 1977).

Infants with insufficient motivation to suck run the risk of being neglected; breastfeeding mothers are generally more sensitive to their babies. All of this is probably due to hormonal factors related to breastfeeding. However this should not cause anxiety for those mothers whose lactation is disturbed or whose children are not sufficiently motivated to drink enough mother’s milk. We have already shown that there are multiple mechanisms ensuring adequate bonding between mother and child, so that mothers who do not breastfeed at all can develop as strong and intense a mother-child relationship as breastfeeding mothers. It is simply important to be aware of all the factors promoting bonding.

Infants when breastfeeding frequently play with the free breast of the mother. The resulting enhanced stimulation may facilitate prolactin production. Further­more the breast is thereby occupied so that no one else can drink from the mother (Fig. 4.36). The infant regards his mother’s breast as a possession to be defended against rivals.

If the periods between breastfeeding are extended the prolactin level can drop so much that gonadal functions are no longer inhibited. Australian aborigines, who breastfeed less frequently than Bushmen, leave their babies with others when they go on gathering excursions. In this group, births occur in shorter intervals than among the Bushmen. Infanticide has been observed among them (F. McCarthy and M. McArthur, 1960; F.G.G. Rose, 1960; J.B. Birdsell, 1968; F. Lancaster- Jones, 1963).

In our culture as a rule we use long intervals between feedings. This leads not only to the physiological consequences for mothers (as stated above) but also can cause digestion problems in the infants, who then consume unnaturally large amounts of milk at one time.

Mothers generally do not distract their infants as they breastfeed. They usually begin talking to them when they finish drinking and release the breast. They listen to the infant’s vocalizations and help him when he has difficulties nursing. In traditional societies mothers engage in domestic duties or groom their children while nursing. These activities do not interfere with the infant’s drinking, although speaking to the baby often does.

Breastfeeding in traditional societies extends over 3 to 4 years, but infants do receive prechewed supplementary food at an early age (for example, sweet potatoes among the Eipo). Once a sibling is born, nursing may cease abruptly, but the trauma of weaning can be alleviated when the weaned infant enters into a play group of other children (p. 600). The mother remains the basis of security for a long time and children of 6 or 7 years (Bushmen, Himba) will run to seek shelter at the mother’s breast when they are frightened or hurt. Children may also suck the breast of other female reference figures for comfort (as from the grandmother in the Eipo).

In traditional societies, mothers treat their children with considerable affection. They stroke, kiss, and delouse them, but will scold when the children do not obey their requests and commands or otherwise fail to live up to their mothers’ ex­pectations. To some extent, specific expectations are culturally determined. The Himba, Eipo, and Yanomami expect their boys to grow up to be warriors and thus to be brave and not to cry. Bushmen place less value on these qualities. In general, it appears to irritate mothers when their efforts to comfort their children are in vain. If the baby continues to whine and pout or respond by “cut off’ to the comforting efforts of their mothers this will often anger the mother and she 223

Table 4.4. Further Infant Interactions—Some Socialization Strategies

Day 1 (21.10.81) Day 2 (22.10.81) Day 3 (23.10.81)
Crying (ca. 1 sec to 2 min) 16{1} 8 14
Aggressive acts of the child 3 7(1) 10
Request
Obeyed 11 4 9
Disobeyed 12 9 10
Intervention 18 11 12
Verbal punishment 3(4f 5(4) 6(5)
Corporal punishment KD 3(7) None(7)
Social grooming 6 3 3
Stroking, kissing, etc. 5 4 3

"Beres, 18-month-old male infant from the highlands of New Guinea. From W. Schiefenhovel (1984).

may scold or slap the child. Even in traditional or kin-based societies, the mother will lose her patience if babies nag, misbehave, and dirty themselves continually. Such outbreaks of anger are intense but short-lived, and affectionate interactions are soon reestablished. Aggression is purposefully used for pedagogical means (p. 391), particularly when the child refuses to be obedient in certain situations or behaves in such a way as to endanger himself.

Wulf Schiefenhovel (1984) used a 3-day protocol drawn from the In (western New Guinea) to determine the quantitative distribution of various mother-child interactions. Pedagogical aggression and affection of the mother were about bal­anced. Scolding predominated in educational aggression, but corporal punishment also occurred. The subject of the study, an approximately 18-month-old boy was somewhat less often obedient than disobedient (Table 4.4).

4.3.7. The Father as Reference Figure, Paternal Behavior

In the cultures we investigated, the father is, next to the mother, an exceptionally significant reference figure. Indeed, although, if given a choice, the child will flee to the mother in fear. However in the Yanomami and Bushmen I have noted repeatedly that children of both sexes protest vigorously when the father leaves in the morning for hunting or for work, even if the mother is staying at home and is thus providing a firm basis of security.

In all cultures I visited I observed that fathers treat their children with tender af­fection, even in such male-oriented warring cultures as the Eipo, Yanomami, or the Himba. I emphasize this because until recently in our culture it has been considered unmanly to display affection publicly toward an infant. This could be a result of living in anonymous mass society and thus be a fairly recent development, since in rural areas fathers customarily display affection toward their children. In our anonymous society we avoid open displays of our feelings, (p. 177).

In the morning Yanomami fathers play with their children, male and female, 224 for 15 to 30 minutes while their wives tend to domestic tasks. They place their

children in the hammock, raise them up, speak to them in the typical high-toned baby talk, kiss, and fondle them. Their repertory of affectionate behavioral patterns is qualitatively identical to that of the mothers. Fathers also feed their children prechewed food. They use social body grooming behavior less frequently than mothers (delousing, cleaning off, removal of pimples, etc.) and engage in more play and athletic activities with the children. The children respond most positively to these play bouts with the father (Figs. 4.37-4.42). They utter cries of joy and babble, giving one the impression that they particularly treasure their moments with their father. These activities also occur when the father returns home toward noon or early in the afternoon, and in the evening before the children are put to

Figure 4.37. Fathers have the same repertory of affectionate behavior as mothers: Trobriand father as babysitter. He kiss feeds his son with a bit of co­conut. His small daughter sits beside him, watching attentively. From a 25 frames/second 16 mm film, frames 1, 11, 21, 31,39, 52, and 62 of the se­quence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Figure 4.38. Eipo father (Irian Jaya/western New Guinea) in morning play with his child affectionately air kissing and playing with the ear peg to amuse the small son. From a 16 mm film. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

bed. Generally a Yanomami youngster has 1-1.5 hours of intensive paternal contact per day. If the father is home he will also pick up an infant for a few minutes to cuddle with him. At night the father often takes a weaned infant into the hammock while the mother cares for the nursing baby. The older child will sleep throughout the night by the father, warmed by his body. This is an important consideration since the Yanomami sleep naked in the hammock and small children could easily become chilled.

M.J. Konner has gathered precise data on contact between IKung Bushmen and their children. Fathers interacted with their children 13.7% of the total ob­servation time; Table 4.5A (p. 230) provides a detailed summary.

Bushmen supposedly belong to the cultures in which the fathers have the closest contact with their children. It is claimed that fathers have less contact with their children in cultures that practice polygyny, war, and stress paternal obedience. However, I observed equally frequent affectionate father-child behavior among the aggressive Yanomami, Eipo, and Himba. Perhaps some investigators are misled by stereotypes. We recall the descriptions of Margaret Mead, which were dictated by her own bias. In the patrilocal Eipo, a horticulturist people leading a neolithic lifestyle, there is a strong tendency for sex segregation. Men and women gather in the morning before the gardening work begins in separate gathering places in 226 the village. They warm themselves in the sun, play with the children, and chat.

Figure 4.39. Eipo (Irian Jaya/western New Guinea) greeting an infant affectionately: repeated contact and for the Eipo typical greeting by waving the raised finger. From a 16 mm film, frames 1, 17, 37, 62, 132, 185, 211, and 304 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

They occupy themselves with various handicrafts, e.g., the men carving arrows and the women making netbags. Although men and women are spatially separated, they are by no means without contact. They speak to one another, and often a man will come and fetch his infant or young child along to the men’s area. For a short time (e.g., one-half hour) the child is the center of a group of men and boys,


Figure 4.40A. Even in warlike peoples it is by no means unmanly to spend time with a youngster. Affectionate exchange between a Yanomami (upper Orinoco) and an infant using the “eyebrow flash.” From a 16 mm film. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Figure 4.40B. Yanomami father kissing his small daughter. From a 16 mm film. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

who all try to please the youngster. The men clearly display their affections, as do the mother’s brothers and young boys in the vicinity. The affectionate behavior patterns are equivalent to those of the women. The men cuddle, fondle, and kiss the youngsters, and when they speak to them they do so in an octave higher than normal speech (baby talk, p. 208; Fig. 4.43).

In findings agreeing with those from our own culture, Eipo men feed their infants less often and do not clean them, but they play with them more than the mothers do (R.D. Parke, 1980).

When the baby coughed, sneezed or spat while feeding . . . fathers were more likely than mothers to simply stop feeding until the baby had settled down and was back under control. The mother was likely to continue feeding and increase touching of the baby, whereas the fathers showed a dramatic drop in this latter area. Despite these differences fathers are sensitive to the baby and respond to the baby in a sensible and competent way. (p. 212)

Mothers feeding their children wipe off their children’s hands and face more frequently than fathers in the same situation, and similar differences occur in other routine care behavior (D.B. Sawin, 1981). Fathers in the United States engage in more physical play with their youngsters than the mothers do, whether the children are 3 months or 2 years old. Fathers hold newborns more, shake them more often, and stimulate them more than mothers. Later they engage more in physical games and scuffle with their children (K.A. Clarke-Stewart, 1978, 1980; M.E. Lamb, 228 1975; M.E. Lamb et al., 1982; D.B. Sawin, 1981; M.W. Yogman, 1981). Mothers,

Figure 4.41. Eyebrow raising as an affectionate expression is also found in the father-child relationship (a, b) In (Kosarek, Irian Jaya/western New Guinea); (c, d) Trobriand islanders. Brother cuddles with his small sister and addresses her with an eyebrow flash. From a 16 mm film. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Figure 4.42. Other examples of affectionate behavior in males: (a) Himba (southwestern Africa).

(b) !Ko Bushman (central Kalahari). Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Figure 4.43. Males also raise their voice an octave when talking to a baby. Left, baby talk (BT) of a Yanomami male: right, nor­mal speech (NS). From R. Eggebrecht (1983).

Table 4.5A. Frequency of Proximity and Contact"

Father (all observations) Father (when present) Mother (always present)
Age: 0-26 weeks Body contact 3.80 43.27 123.46
Face/face 0.74 8.46 11.56
Up to 2 ft from reference figure 0.09 1.07 10.54
2-15 ft distance 0.00 0.00 0.11
Age: 27-99 weeks Body contact 3.85 32.13 58.41
Face/face 0.25 1.43 3.69
Within 2 ft 2.26 13.00 32.91
2-15 ft distance 0.77 4.41 8.38

"Expressed in the mean number of 5-second blocks in which each parent was the primary caretaker for the children during a 15-minute observation pe­riod. After M. Maxwell-West and M.J. Konner, 1976.

The number of infant observations with father interaction from which the data of Table 4.5 are derived are presented in Table 4.5B

Table 4.5B. Number of Infant Observations with Father Interaction

Age (weeks) ___________ Boys__________ ___________ Girls___________
Total observations Father present % Total observations Father present __ %
0-26 112 13 11.6 59 2 3.4
27-99 130 29 22.3 94 10 10.6

on the other hand, engage in more verbal play. The children become more aroused by their fathers than their mothers. Although American fathers rock their children more than the mothers do, they smile and kiss them less (R.D. Parke et al., 1975). M.E. Lamb (1976a) observed American fathers and mothers at home and found that mothers played conventional games like goo-goo da-da or with toys. Fathers, on the other hand, played physically active games. Mothers played visual games twice as frequently as fathers, whereby they made motions in front of the children to maintain their attention (46 vs. 20% of all games played with the children; M. W. Yogman, 1982).

In the Kibbutz where child care is the primary task of nonparental caretakers, sex differences in parental behavior were found similar to those in the United States and Sweden. Kibbutz mothers were more likely to vocalize, laugh, display affection, hold, and engage in caretaking than fathers were. This suggests that immediate competing demands on the parents’ time do not account for the widely observed sex differences in parental behavior (Sagi et al., 1985).

Parents may play complementary roles in the mother-father-child triad for the child’s socialization. “At various stages of development, the father-infant rela- 230 tionship may complement the infant’s relationship with the mother and facilitate the development of autonomy by providing a range of novel, arousing and playful experiences for the infant” (M.W. Yogman, 1982).

Paternal and maternal behavior toward offspring has distinct sexual differences; parents use more affection with the opposite sex and more arousal and play with the same sex. Thus mothers hold their sons more often, and hold them close to the body longer than their daughters, while fathers in contrast display a preference for cuddling their daughters. Women show their daughters toys more often and jostle their daughters more, behavior replicated by fathers with their sons, who play more and use more visual and tactile stimulation than with their daughters. Thus the parents complement each other behaviorally toward their children (R.D. Parke and D.B. Sawin, 1975, 1977).

Parental behavior changes as a child develops insofar as both spend less time with routine care behavior (cleaning the face and hands, etc.) and cuddle less with the infants. But affectionate behavior expressed as kissing and smiling remains unchanged throughout the first 3 months. After the second year, fathers interact twice as frequently with their sons as with their daughters, while mothers display no such differentiation. Boys clearly prefer the father as a play partner once the children are 2 years old; girls prefer the mother (M.E. Lamb, 1977a,b).

In the United States, the father’s first contact with a child after birth produces a powerful emotional attachment. Questionnaire responses and interviews show that they develop a strong emotional attachment immediately after first encoun­tering their child, a phenomenon M. Greenberg and N. Morris (1982) call “en­grossment.” They find their baby beautiful and are attracted to him, experiencing a need to touch the baby, note its individual characteristics, and consider it “per­fect.” The infant elicits a strong attraction, and fathers immediately after delivery record their feelings as “elated.” Feelings of self-worthiness are also improved. The infant’s behavior influences paternal reactions, particularly with reference to eye contact. One father reports the following (M. Greenberg and N. Morris, 1974):

He was sleeping yesterday and his eyes were closed, and as I looked over he opened his eyes, and I moved away and he closed them, and I moved back again—and he opened them. Now I don’t know what that is, maybe some kind of telepathy or some­thing, but I just think he knew I was standing over him and he opened his eyes . . . it felt wonderful. This is the closeness that you have with a child knowing that he feels his father is standing over him and he opens his little eyes although he can’t see anything, (p. 526)

Other “responses” by the infant can elicit affection (M. Greenberg and N. Morris, 1974): “I put my finger into his little hand and he clasps hold of my finger and squeezes it. That’s very encouraging.” Another father stated: “You put your finger in its hand and it was holding on . . . and when they just wrapped it up and put it in the cot by the side it immediately took on somebody—somebody that one could look at and touch, and it was moving immediately. I felt suddenly I had a daughter! I didn’t just have a baby. This was very satisfying” (p. 526).

Fathers permitted to touch their child immediately after birth also touch it more often in a play situation 3 months later and fondle it more than fathers lacking such early contact (M. Rodholm, 1981). The initial contact of fathers with their child follows the same pattern as initial maternal contact: after affectionately touching and stroking the extremities with the fingertips the trunk and head are stroked with the fingertips and thereafter with the palm of the hand (M. Rodholm, 1981; L. Abbott, 1975; M. Klaus et al., 1975). M.W. Yogman (1982) made a par- 231 ticularly detailed study of paternal behavior. He also found that fathers’ care be­havior duplicates maternal patterns. However fathers played with their children for a greater portion of interaction time. W.T. Bailey (1982) speaks of an “evo­lutionary-based bond” between father and child he terms an “affinity.” He dis­tinguishes it from maternal attachment, which also can be reinforced by certain negative stimuli such as the child’s crying. While mother-child “attachment” oc­curs in all mammals, paternal bonding is probably specifically human, excepting only a few New-World monkeys in which the father carries the young and only gives them to the mother for nursing. Bailey notes that 13-month-old children in a room with their mother displayed particularly marked affection upon being re­united with the father after a brief separation. Bailey speaks of a “father-binding strategy.”

If we compare the reactions of 3-month-old infants toward unfamiliar fathers and mothers, we find that negative reactions as measured by vertical forehead wrinkles occur in 29.4% of all stranger encounters, but in only 3.9% of all en­counters with their mothers and 6.0% with fathers (M.W. Yogman, 1982). Thus there is no doubt that infants can distinguish their parents from other persons at an early stage.

In western culture fathers interact more with their children than the conventional stereotype would have us believe. According to data collected on 231 Toronto families (A. Booth and J.N. Edwards, 1980), when fathers are at home they spend as much time as does the mother with the children. Naturally the total time spent with the children is less since fathers generally work outside of the home for many hours during the day.

Although fathers only devote a small amount of their total time to the children each day, the children are still attached to both parents. In unfamiliar surroundings 12- to 18-month-old infants will initially seek the mother when they encounter strangers. After the end of the second year, mother and father are sought equally (M.E. Lamb, 1967a,b,c). North American children will seek the father when at home if they experience fear of strangers, whereas Eipo, Bushmen, and Yanomami infants consistently prefer the mother in this context. Both parents are important for the emotional development of the child.

Children are aware of parental distinctions at an early age. Thus 15-month-old children asked to select one parent for a game choose the father more frequently than the mother (M.E. Lamb, 1977a), and that even though in the western world the father spends relatively little time with the children. H. Keller (1979) found that paternal time spent with children varies between less than 1 minute per day to 8 hours per week. Paternal behavior undoubtedly has a strong impact on chil­dren. Nine-month-old children whose fathers interacted with them a great deal at home could handle the stress of a brief period alone better than children whose fathers did not interact with them much; these children were also more intellectually advanced (R.D. Parke, 1980). The nature of paternal affection varies in our culture with birth order and sex of the child. In Germany, fathers interact with sons more than with daughters, although there now is a tendency to spend time equally with children of both sexes. In the Bushmen, Yanomami, and Eipo, I have the impres­sion that differential attention paid to boys and girls develops over time when the play interests of the children begin differentiating (Section 7.2). Boys often form play groups for hunting and war games, in which adult males occasionally par­ticipate. Boys also enjoy participating in adult male activities. Males in all cultures 232 undoubtedly have paternal skills. They display a strong emotional attachment and a need to interact with their children, and are equipped with a repertory of be­havioral patterns adapted for this activity and an empathetic understanding for their children. Thus parental behavior is part of the male program. Loving affection imparted by both parents to the child fosters his ability to identify with the culturally determined role of his own sex.

R.N. Adams (1960), M. Mead (1949), and A.S. Rossi (1975) were of the opinion that the father-child relationship arose as a consequence of the marital bond. Thus males assumed their parental role through this route, while women were born mothers. But I have found in all investigated kin-based cultures that boys display a strong emotional attachment to small children, albeit less often than girls. This indicates that we are dealing with a genuine behavior based on an innate disposition.

W.C. Mackey (1979) observed men and women interacting with their children in public squares in nine cultures.[5] He found that although women were together with their children more often men devoted a considerable amount of time to interacting with the children. The sex of the child did not significantly influence paternal behavior (comparing all cultures), but older boys predominated in pure adult male groups, while younger boys were underrepresented. Boys chose mens’ company and girls preferred womens’ if the adults gathered in sex-distinct groups. In mixed sexual groupings the relationships were more equal. Men and women interacted with children in a similar way and the nature of the interactions was determined more by the age than the sex of the child. W.C. Mackey concludes that there is an autonomous father-child bond independent of the mother-child and husband-wife bond. J. Money and A. A. Ehrhardt (1972) had previously noted that paternal behavior largely resembles maternal and that the only essential dif­ference was that the threshold releasing and maintaining such behavior is higher in men than women. This agrees with our cross-cultural observations.

The fact that paternal behavior belongs to the natural behavioral repertory in humans does not mean that paternal and maternal roles are interchangeable. Their roles are rather complementary.

However, with the vast diversity of behavior potential in humans, many fathers are fully capable of substituting for mothers even when caring for small children. Yet W.E. Fthenakis (1983) is overzealous with his enthusiasm for fathers when he claims that mothers are by no means better adapted to care for small children than fathers. In support for this he refers to the fact that fathers understand infant signals as well as mothers and respond to them equally well. But this says nothing about motivation and endurance; women, in general, are less aggressive and have more patience than men.

There exists no counterpart to human paternal behavior in Old-World monkeys. Adult males tolerate social exploration and the approach of juveniles, but they do not play with the young, help with feeding, or interact with them in any other caretaking manner. They will, however, defend the young and respond to their alarm cries, which is quite unlike behavior in the canids. Here also the males feed the young and play intensively with them. Perhaps this behavior arose analogously in humans and canids in associating with hunting large prey and sharing the catch (G.E. King, 1980).

Ireland, Spain, USA, India, Peru, Karaya Indians (Brazil), Ivory Coast, Morocco, Japan.

Summary 4.3

The question of to what extent a family is a natural social unit is a much dis­cussed topic. An ethological investigation discloses phylogenetic adaptations op­erating at several levels implying that there is an innate disposition for family structure. These adaptations allow for cultural modification within a specific framework.

Mother and child are bonded to each other with a series of signals and behavioral patterns that belong to the innate human repertory. Both partners are disposed to develop a strong personal attachment. In tribal societies the mother is also the distinct reference figure, if not the only one. The fact that a child develops within a differentiated social network and has many contacts with others does not mean that a child is brought up collectively without having an individual reference figure. The claim that motherliness is a recent innovation can be easily refuted with eth­nological data. This is an ethnocentric viewpoint reflecting the ideological position of those few who would prefer to see society formed on the basis of their personal perception.

Mothers attempt to establish visual contact with their child immediately after birth, and the infant’s reactions facilitate these efforts. Given an opportunity to interact shortly after delivery, the mother will experience a powerful affection and attachment toward her infant. Hormonal mechanisms probably contribute to this phenomenon. If such contact cannot be made, similarly powerful bonds can develop with time, because the attachment process is secured in a number of different ways.

As for giving birth, familiar surroundings ease the delivery process, while fear (as for example in clinical settings) makes delivery more difficult. Support of the mother by intimate reference persons is widespread among tribal people.

The interaction pattern between mother and child, e.g., face to face interaction, speaking to the child in a higher tone, dialogue type, fondling, and kissing is uni­versal as are the child’s responses. Fathers possess essentially the same affectionate behavior repertoire as mothers, also speaking to their children with baby talk one octave higher than normal; those in warfaring societies also cuddle and kiss their children of both sexes. Fathers are important reference figures for children, and infants display pain of separation when the fathers leave them alone with their mothers, as for example when they leave for the hunt. Even though father spend relatively little time with their children in traditional and modern societies, their regular play contact with their children is highly significant for the childrens’ emo­tional development.

In kin-based societies, children experience a great deal of body contact; they are breastfed for 3 to 4 years. The often abrupt weaning occurring when a sibling is born can be traumatic. An extended nursing period, which is important for healthy development, in people lacking milk substitutes makes the child dependent on its mother for longer periods than in our culture. In contrast, the western pattern provides early training for independence.

Early childhood body contact and warm relationships with the reference figure have occasionally been associated with a peaceful nature, while a lack of affection and body contact allegedly led to aggression and warfaring tendencies. Such simple relationships do not exist. Even warring peoples like the Eipo or Yanomami offer their children a great deal of love and physical contact. A child learns from parental affection and warmth to identify with his parents’ values and his group, whether these be aggressive or peaceful. A lack of warmth and absence of attachment to 234 a reference person inhibits such identification and fosters asocial aggressive traits.

4.4. Family and Marriage

The mother-child-father triad is the nucleus of the human family and society, a family type scarcely found in primates and other higher mammals. Human family triads are generally extended by the grandparent generation, who play an important role in the world of the children. In many cultures their relationship to the children is of quite a different nature than the child-parent relation, namely, less formalized. Parents often carry the burden of education and, therefore, demand respect (p. 294). Grandparents are indulgent with their love and do not see discipline as one of their major roles.

We know of no human group that lives without permanent marital partnerships, and in most instances one man lives with one woman in a marital tie. There are other forms of marriage though: of 849 societies surveyed (P.M. Murdock, 1967), 708 (83.5%) were potentially polygynous. Only 137 (16%) were monogamous by law and 4 were polyandrous. This survey could give the impression that polygyny is the typical marital form for humans. But even within polygynous societies only leaders and wealthy men usually have more than one wife and within polygynous societies monogamous marriages are 2.5 times as frequent as polygynous ones.[36] Polygynous marriages in Bushmen comprise at most, 5% of all marriages (M.M. West and M.J. Konner, 1976), and most of these result from the fact that a man is obligated to marry his brother’s widow. The expression “polygyny” is mis­leading, since in most polygynous societies men are rarely married to more than two wives.

Nonetheless the data indicate a clear tendency toward polygyny. In monoga­mous societies polygyny is expressed in the form of extramarital relationships, which in some cultures are even permissible. In the western world polygyny is concealed by the pattern of serial monogamy (divorce, remarriage). This strikes me as the least successful solution to creating legal polygyny since the consequence of western divorce is that the children lose a reference figure.

The polygynous inclination can be explained by the fact that males have a higher reproductive potential, a woman being restricted in the number of children she can bear and raise. A man can produce many children, and if he has the means he can provide for them as well. This would foster the propagation of the genes of those who are in a position to control the natural resources, thus leading consequently to the development of polygyny and patriarchal societal structure. The spread of egalitarian ideologies (p. 13), which foster monogamy, counters this trend.

Promiscuous small groups arise only occasionally as alternatives to the tradi­tional family, and none of the groups, to our knowledge, uses this form of group life as a norm. There are sound reasons to believe that promiscuous groupings were never typical for Homo sapiens. Man is emotionally and in his sexual phys­iology adapted to a marital, long-term relationship. In all nonanthropoid apes, sexual behavior is restricted to brief fertile periods. Males do not copulate with females outside of these fertile periods. Occasional exceptions do occur in the anthropoids. Chimpanzee females seeking precedence at feeding sites present themselves sexually by turning their hind ends toward the males and they are mounted (R.M. and A.W. Yerkes, 1929). Here begins a certain emancipation of female sexual behavior from its original purpose of reproduction—it can be used instrumentally.

This emancipation of sexual behavior is already well developed in humans, for the sexual act has been extended into the realm of partner bonding, and with that the woman’s capacity and emotional disposition for intercourse outside the fertile period has likewise developed. She provides the reward by satisfaction that strengthens the male’s bond, while her orgasm strengthens her attachment to her partner. In mammals, female orgasm is known to occur in only a few primates (D.A. Goldfoot et al., 1980).

Continual sexual readiness in males, with minor fluctuations, is also indication that human sexual behavior serves bonding purposes. The “hypersexualization” of humans has occasionally been criticized morally, but those critics overlook the fact that sexuality has transcended reproductive functions and has achieved an additional role in bonding, something that has posed a problem for many church discussions of birth control (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1970a; D. Morris, 1968; W. Wickler, 1969). The generally reliable church practice of studying nature to determine be­havioral norms fails to reach the entire issue since an examination of animal be­havior would neglect man’s unique role in sexuality. In animals the sexual act is exclusively for procreation; in humans it has a supplemental bonding function. This new function, which is specifically human, is as important as the procreative function of sexuality. Selection forces that have programmed mankind for long­term marriage probably came about from the need of extended care for children, for which the father’s role has long been underappreciated in the literature.

Undoubtedly, both human sexes have the capability of caring for children. This fact, plus the adaptations for heterosexual partnerships mentioned earlier, suggest that the lasting familial bonds are typical for Homo sapiens. The earlier sociological thesis that primitive cultures practiced group marriages within which sexual free­dom prevailed has long been discarded. This form of group partnership does cer­tainly not conform to human disposition and recent attempts to live this kind of lifestyle have repeatedly failed when partners fall in love with other individuals. Thus humans have a distinct monotropic disposition. Nonetheless there are per­sistent attempts to demonstrate that the patriarchal family is unnatural and re­pressive and thus should be dissolved. One of the favorite sources for proponents of this view is F. Engels (1884), drawing upon L.H. Morgan (1877) and J. J. Bach- ofen (1861), who developed the theory that natural matriarchal group marriages developed out of economic necessity into patriarchal monogamous families. He saw this as a victory of private possession, which was then transmitted to one’s heirs contrary to the natural order of group ownership. Although Engels regretted that as a result of this development woman’s status declined, he considered as positive that modem individualized sexual love had arisen from monogamy which, as he believed, did not exist before.

It is known that marriage exists among hunters and gatherers, although they generally have no possessions to pass down. Close studies of such peoples also indicate that the young people fall in love. The love songs of “savages” are par­ticularly tender. Thus individual sexual love did not just arise in recent times. The great theoretician Engels was unconsciously biased by his own ethnocentrism.

Engels’s thoughts about the family are today of historical significance for having provoked new avenues of thought, especially regarding the emancipation of women within industrial society. If a family-less social state ever existed, an institutional tabula rasa of the primitive band (H. Tyrell, 1978), such conditions predated man­kind.

The nearest approach to such family-less state are found in our closest relatives, 236 the chimpanzees, who live in territorial closed groups comprising several males, females, young, and juveniles (p. 322). Groups are structured according to rank hierarchy relationships and there are no long-term sexual partnerships. Chim­panzees are promiscuous, but there are also strong mother-child attachments last­ing until puberty. Juveniles long since weaned visit their mothers for years (J. van Lawick-Goodall, 1968) and demonstrate clear signs of affection and attach­ment. Chimpanzee bands are patrilocal. Only females, usually during their first estrous, emigrate to other groups (J. Goodall, 1986).

If we were to assume that the forefathers of Homo sapiens lived in this manner, it would mean that the family or the familialization of mankind is a recent evo­lutionary development. But it would not follow that the new adaptations associated with familialization could not be genetically (phylogenetically) fixed. Nonbiologists often commit the error of interpreting human behavioral adaptations, which are not found in nonhuman primates, as solely cultural, an untenable generalization. Just as many morphological and physiological human characteristics are recent phyletic adaptations but nonetheless phylogenetic, so many of the behavioral pe­culiarities specific for Homo sapiens recently acquired phylogenetic adaptations and are thus inborn.

H. Tyrell (1978) formulates an interesting theory to explain the development of the family, which are thoroughly acceptable if we disregard the fact that he postulates purely cultural adaptation stages. Tyrell begins with the premise that the matriarchal family is the initial entity, a special feature being that mothers are bonded even to children who are no longer physiologically dependent upon them. Tyrell states that within this family structure there was an archaic discovery of blood relationship. Mothers discovered that their offspring had their same flesh and blood, and thus arose the idea of relationships. Obviously the development of an attachment to offspring need not originate from a cognitive awareness of genetic relationships. Chimpanzees also have attachments lasting for years beyond physiological dependency (J. van Lawick-Goodall, 1975). Here we may exclude insights into the identity of flesh and blood between mother and children as an origin of bonding. However, the selective advantages of such attachment behavior are evident. The extended period of childhood and adolescence, made possible for parental care, enables the young to absorb complex cultural traditions that humans need to live. Clearly we are, by nature, programmed through phylogenetic adaptations to be cultural creatures. If we disregard Tyrell’s speculations about cognition of blood relationships, evidence would be rather strong that the matriarchal family with children of various ages launched the development of the human family. This matrilineal connection is still recognized in our patriarchal culture in that the wife as a rule takes custody of children in divorce proceedings. A lasting marital partnership may have developed out of this protofamily structure. However it is a species-typical characteristic for contemporary mankind and, like adaptations in reproductive physiology and behavior, somewhat phylogenetically programmed.

A number of adaptations determining interpersonal relations are also found in lower primates and will be discussed in the sections on territoriality, rank order, and ownership. C. Vogel (1977) writes:

On the basis of the latest findings in primate sociology ... it is increasingly likely that a whole range of cultural norms, traditions and institutions that are essentially universal are not the result of “rational” human invention but rather institutionalized embod­iments and differentiations of social behavioral tendencies already phylogenetically existent in the prehuman sphere. That is, they have a precultural crystallization nucleus. This is even more likely for the in principle transcultural (with detail differentiation!) sex role polarization and the “mother-centered” nuclear family, (p. 22) 237

Summary 4.4

Lasting marital partnerships and inclusion of more than one generation char­acterize the human family, and a family-less society probably never existed in Homo sapiens. In chimpanzees mother and young remain bonded even after the children are adults. A similar matrilineal structure may have launched the de­velopment of the human family. The familialization of the male is a recent de­velopment of the human species but is already genetically based upon a series of adaptations. Cultural variations of marriage exist, with polygynous societies pre­vailing. But even in polygynous societies, only a relatively small percentage of men have more than one wife. To this extent monogamy appears to be a trend. Societies lacking marital relationships do not exist.

4.5. Pair Formation, Courtship, Sexual Love

bakasirasi vaponu We take the wave

bakavamapusi vana

We exchange the fragrant herbs in our bracelets

bakavagonusi buita We pluck the wreath

From the Dorai song cycle of “Milamala,” the harvest festival of the Trobriands (G. Senft, tape recording T 3A-1982)

Das macht, es hat die Nachtigall Die ganze Nacht gesungen;

Da sind von ihrem sussen Schall, Da sind in Hall und Widerhall Die Rosen aufgesprungen.

Sie war doch sonst ein wildes Kind; Nun geht sie tief in Sinnen, Tragt in der Hand den Sommerhut Und duldet still der Sonne Glut, Und weiss nicht, was beginnen.

Theodor Storm

Man cultivates all facets of his natural behaviors and thus distinguishes himself from the animals. That the realm of sexuality motivates man to the most subtle expressions of art, may be in part explained by the paramount importance of sexual behavior for bonding. Man belongs to those few species in which a lifelong sexual bond is established, the need for this deriving from the slow development of the human child, necessitating many years of parenting.

Beneath the cultural layer, so characteristic of man, there are two biological strata determining human sexual behavior, the oldest being the archaic layer of agonistic sexuality, characterized by male dominance and female submission. This “reptilian heritage” still determines certain aspects of human sexual behavior. It is controlled, however, by affiliative sexuality, which is mammalian heritage, and by individual bonding. A predominance of the archaic agonistic sexuality gives raise to certain pathologies (p. 258).

Probably unique for man is the phenomenon of falling in love, whose physiology is not yet understood at all. Scientific study of human sexual behavior is all too frequently limited to the sex act (A.C. Kinsey et al., 1948, 1966; W.H. Masters and V.E. Johnson, 1966). The ethologically more interesting phases of heterosexual 238 contact initiative, courtship, and falling in love, have only recently been given attention (D. Morris, 1977; M. Cook, 1981; R.A. Hinde, 1984; M.M. Moore, 1985).

M.R. Liebowitz (1983) developed a number of interesting thoughts on the phys­iology of falling in love. He states that the euphoric perception of those in love could arise from a chemical change in the brain caused by the production of the cerebral phenylethylamine, a compound closely related to the stimulant amphet­amine.

The earliest phases of pair formation indicate that man is disposed toward marital long-term partnerships. Falling in love is often celebrated in poetry due to its astonishing dynamics, which often transcend reason. Love is one of the universals, yet one often hears that it is a modern invention, as in the words of N. Luhmann (1982) when he writes: “It is sociological common knowledge that the communal living conditions of earlier societies had little room for intimate relationships. ...” (p. 198).

E. Shorter (1977) states this position even more clearly in attempting to dem­onstrate that the farmers and property owners of 18th century France, England, and Germany had not experienced romantic love. Marriage was based on social position and means. Much of this was undoubtedly accurate, but to generalize broadly that love is a modem invention is a bit premature and grossly ethnocentric. Tribal peoples are well acquainted with romantic love. And even when marriages were not formed from initially loving relationships, they tended to result none­theless in affectionate relationships between partners.

Ethnological literature occasionally portrays intimate relationships in tribal so­cieties as superficial as well. Margaret Mead (1935, 1949) reported that Samoan love relationships were promiscuously alternating and lacked firm partner at­tachments, but her statements did not stand up to critical review. Derek Freeman’s (1983) carefully sampled data showed that Mead’s viewpoint of Samoan love life was incorrect.

The female partner in love with a male typically responds with “coy” resistance. This is probably based on the previously discussed ambivalence occurring in in­terpersonal relationships but is enhanced in a ritualized manner and forces the man to expend a great deal of effort and time to win his woman.

W. Wickler and U. Seibt (1977) point out that species living in long-term sexual partnerships are not generally bonded until after an extended courtship. The greater the effort the male must expend, the more important it is for him to keep that partner at a later time, otherwise the cost of courtship would outweigh the benefits. The coyer the female partner, the more valuable she becomes in terms of invested courtship efforts, up to an optimal level. The responses of the partner being courted determine the course of courtship. By her coyness a woman also tests the male’s readiness (preparedness) to invest into the relation as well as his characteristics as provider and protector. From a sociobiological point of view, her investment by the physiological burden and risk of pregnancy and birthgiving is much higher than that of the male, and this of course reflects itself in gender characteristic behaviors (R.A. Hinde, 1984). There can be little doubt that the sex differences in behavior reflect evolutionary pressures, and that the tactics of self-presentation, criteria for mate choice, and strategies used in the development of relationships correspond to different “ultimate necessities” in both sexes.

In an experiment with German young adults (K. Grammer, in press) found distinct sex differences. The subjects, who did not know each other before the experiment, were left alone in a room and filmed through a one-way mirror. After 10 minutes, a questionnaire was presented, which assessed two main dimensions: 239

subjective ratings of attractiveness of the partner, the readiness to date the partner, and the probability (risk) of acceptance by the partner. As predicted by socio- biological theories, females are more choosy than males. Males show an overall greater willingness to date a female, which is dependent on the rating of the part­ner’s attractiveness in both sexes: the higher the rating of attractiveness, the higher the risk perception and the greater the willingness to date the partner. But whether the male initiates contact also depends on his self-esteem. If she is too attractive he might consider his chances low and accordingly refrain from courting in order to save face. Only males, who are more overtly competitive than are females, take their own attractiveness into account for risk perception: the more attractive they rated themselves, the lower the risk they perceive. In questionnaires presented to same-sex dyads as controls, this relationship was not observed.

A high rate of laughing signified interest of a woman to join the young man; laughing together signalled communality. But laughter is not the sole criteria. The content of the statements preceding the laughter were remarks about the immediate situation and refer to the speaker himself. Females laugh more than males when they talk about others. A second dimension is the qualification of statements. Males use more qualifying parts of sentences than females, while females use them less or not at all. Males use positive qualifiers in their statements, while females use negative ones. Thus, males laugh about positive self-presentation, and as predicted use self-presentation more often than females. In addition, verbal self-presentation varies with perception of risk. Males are more indirect the higher they perceive the risk of female nonacceptance. When perceived risk is high, they avoid the use of “I did, I will, etc.” Instead, they use the inclusive “we,” or even no personal pronouns.

Thus, tactics of male self-presentation depend on risk perception, generated by ratings of attractiveness of the partner. Although males take the verbal initiative and present themselves verbally as potential mates, the episodes are structured by the female’s nonverbal behavior. Thus females control the structure of the episodes by manipulation of male risk perception and encourage or impede male self-presentation. According to biological theories, females show a great degree of selectivity, whereas males tend to advertise overtly due to the pressures of male-male competition.

There are also important nonverbal signs, which indicate contact readiness dur­ing the opening phase. Thus, when males and females folded their raised hands behind the neck thus exposing their acillae this indicated readiness for contact (Fig 4.44). Other signs of contact readiness were all kinds of “open” positions (legs open, arms open), presentation signals by which secondary sex characteristics such as the breasts were visually presented, and orientation toward the partner. Males respond to the signals of the female partner, but pay particular attention to signs of nervousness, such as self-grooming, which betray genuine interest (K. Grammer, in press).

Looking at the universal features of courtship behavior we find that the reticence of females is overcome in stages and by means of a variety of universal strategies. Direct questions are usually avoided.

One must regard with great skepticism the claims that tribal people normally approach each other directly (C.S. Ford and F.A. Beach, 1969). B. Malinowski (1922) ascribed this behavior to the Trobriand islanders, but obviously never 240 questioned female subjects. I. Bell-Krannhals (1984) found that direct questions

iechenland

Figure 4.44. One position indicating openness for contact. It is also a position of relaxation; this is probably indicated and signalled by the posture. The photograph was a candid snapshot. Photograph by Ch. Doermer. From K. Grammer (in press).

were rarely used. Trobriand men court mainly with songs and by means of persons acting as mediators.

The reason for using the indirect approach is that this strategy leaves open alternatives. In forming any social relationship the partners seek to preserve their own decision-making ability and thus to save face. At the same time, each partner tries to win the other over to his own interests and thus foster common goals, which requires subtlety. If indirect suggestions are rejected, the relationship re­mains intact. Such is also the case when a man uses a mediator.

It is important that the approach strategies be subtle ones if the partners are not yet well acquainted. Visual contact is important for initiating contact at a distance. One communicates to the partner that he is the focal point of interest. The prominent white eyeball enables us to perceive partners’ eye movements quite readily (Fig. 4.45). Eye contact return is a sign of a positive response, but alone is uncommitted. Affection and interest are also indicated by the eyebrow flash.

In the succeeding contact conversations the partners test each other’s interest in further contact. The cultural scope of these encounters varies, and approach strategies vary with the degree of existing acquaintance. If the partners are un­acquainted, they will attempt to develop a common reference system. Common interests are determined and compatibility is expressed. D. Morris (1977) writes that courting individuals nod to one another a great deal. However it is not unusual that the one being courted expresses different opinions and thus tests through exploratory aggression the earnestness of the partner’s efforts as well as his self­control.

The partners’ next step is to construct a basis of trust. One confides in another partner by disclosing one’s weaknesses, but always in conjunction with a positive projection of self, which I distinguish as courtship display from dominance display.

In the latter one attempts to achieve a dominant position relative to the other interacting party. In courtship display the male attempts to demonstrate that he is in a position to dominate others and thus to protect his partner. This elevates her esteem for him. Konrad Lorenz describes an interesting analogy of greylag ganders attacking other ganders and then “triumphantly” running to their courtship object while continuing to threaten a fictious enemy. Thus, the courtship threat display is meant to impress the partner without being directed at her.

Demonstrating dominance over the social environment, which can occur in a variety of ways, is not the only way to present a positive self-image. One also represents oneself as a competent and reliable provider, for example, by means of displaying material goods (wealth, etc.) and by caregiving expressions. Finally,

the man (and the woman as well) presents himself through infantile appeals as a suitable object for caregiving which complies with the wish for mutual care.

Love poetry and songs reveal that the verbal cliches of courtship are universal. In Medlpa (New Guinea) love songs, the female partner is addressed by the male as a “young bird,” a tender diminutive also used in western culture. Positive self­presentation, appeals for attention, and infantile appeals during courtship are common in all cultures. What is considered a positive projection of self varies culturally. In warlike cultures, for example, it is bravery. In others it may be wisdom and knowledge or skill in hunting.

Body contact is brought about in a noncommital manner. In some cultures custom offers opportunity for contact, as in dance. When contact occurs outside of such a societal context the man generally takes the initiative often by utilizing a quasi-accidental and harmless contact, as for example laying a shawl over the woman’s shoulder or otherwise offering assistance that the partner may invite in a subtle way.

The man usually makes the proposition and the woman makes the decisive selection by accepting or rejecting her suitor. This does not exclude her from taking an initiative as they flirt. The role of the woman during courtship varies considerably from culture to culture. Thus statements about “human nature” in this regard are speculative.

The barriers of intimacy are broken when the further behavior of embracing, stroking, and kissing are initiated. Of course, we kiss our children and fondle them out of paternal, maternal, or friendly motivation. But in heterosexual contacts these affectionate expressions introduce sexual foreplay, which leads to sexual union upon touching and stroking the erogenous zones. Thus the standards of modesty, which exist in all cultures, are breached. These behavioral patterns of physical affection are found in various cultures, even in those that were obviously not influenced by Europeans (Fig. 4.46). Thus oral affection with mouth-to-mouth contact (kissing) is found in Peruvian ceramics dating from pre-Columbian times (F. Kauffmann-Doig, 1979).

Affectionate kiss feeding is also observed in diverse cultures. In the Kamasutra lovers are described sipping wine mouth-to-mouth. A. Strathern related to me that Viru lovers (southern highlands of Papua/New Guinea) utilize mouth-to-mouth feeding (and even have an expression for it: “Yangu peku”). We lack a word for this but execute it occasionally. Embracing, stroking erogenous zones, fondling, and social grooming are all universally practiced (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1970). Many tribal people groom each other during sexual foreplay.

In many cultures these intimate contacts are preceded by formalized courtship rituals, particularly in those cultures that do not permit premarital sex in an effort to prevent illegitimacy. In these situations the society arranges partner contacts. In the Medlpa of New Guinea the parents of marriageable girls invite potential husbands to a tanim het. The colorfully decorated partners sit in pairs in a com­munal room. They sing and after introductory head swaying rub foreheads and noses, always twice. Then they bow deeply twice, rub noses two more times, and continue the courtship dance by alternating bowing and rubbing noses. This “head rolling” is a courtship dance during which course the partners synchronize their movements. The song itself does not impart the rhythm. The partners develop a common rhythm during the dance (T.K. Pitcairn and M. Schleidt, 1976). The easier they obtain movement synchrony, the better the partners seem to adapt to each other, as synchronization serves to express harmony. This also operates in pair dances found in western culture. 243

Figure 4.46. A flirting Yanomami couple. The playful withdrawal of the woman and her simultaneous attraction can be discerned readily in her expression (play-face). In this series the man makes the initiative first, then the woman. Their playful jostling reflects the conflict between attraction and coyness. I have selected this example from the Yanomami because one occasionally hears that they would not display any mutual attraction in heterosexual relations, which is certainly false. From a 25 frames/second 16 mm film, frames 1, 136, 622, 629, 646, 700, 987, 991, and 1062 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Heterosexual pair formation thus takes place in several stages whose course depends on the degree of existing acquaintance. In the phase of contact initiative one partner subtly signals interest to the other; the response leads to further ap­proach. The man particularly maintains a positive projection of himself whereby he also presents himself as trustworthy to overcome personal shyness. R.A. Lewis (1972) states that middle-class Americans utilize various steps of pair formation in which they initially (1) find points in common (values, interests, personality characteristics determined by sociocultural means). Then (2) the pair relationship is established, which is expressed by ease of communication, positive mutual evaluation, and satisfaction with the relationship. Then follows the formation of (3) trust and mutual candor with defined role compatibility (4) and (5) role ad­aptation (fine tuning of role compatibility, complementarity of roles, needs, sim­ilarities, and agreements). Finally, this leads to (6) pair bonding expressed in elab­orated interactions, behaving as a dyad, showing mutual responsibility, and pair 244 identity.

L.A. Kirkendall (1961) questioned 200 male subjects in the United States on these events. Self-projection plays a major role in the first phases of contact in­itiative, but the way it is expressed varies. Importance is attached to the projection of a good impression, and the introduction of the courted partner to one’s friends. Another method consists of allowing oneself to be seen by others with a girl. This demonstrates that one is desired and thus challenges other girls. Often a relationship is tested at the start by asking little favors.

The rich cultural elaboration of courtship procedures is based upon an innate repertoire of expressive movements and elemental interaction strategies, as we have shown previously. It has often been discussed whether love is a necessary prerequisite for marital pair formation, and it is often pointed out, quite accurately, that many peoples arrange marriages. In these situations the partners typically become acquainted just a short time prior to their marriage. But it would be in­correct to assume that love does not exist among such peoples. It often develops during the marriage, whereby the sexual relationship may play a significant role.

In all cultures investigated in this respect, human sexual behavior is regulated by specific prohibitions. Initially mutual attraction is comprised of a high level of sexual interest combined with curiosity. Thus sexuality has the potential to disrupt the harmony of the community. Since inborn restraints (controls) seem insufficient, cultural ones come into play. They may also have prevented selection pressures which would have shaped instinctual controls. On one hand, this allows for great flexibility, but, on the other, it must be the source of many problems (including pathologies) since cultural restrictions are easily broken, particularly, if they are very repressive. In this regard, Homo sapiens is a culturally molded primate, for which he is well disposed by his genuine friendly nature. However, his biological programs are not sufficient to ensure harmonious family and group life.

Sexual morality usually contains a double standard in that males have more freedom than females. For example, in almost all cultures, adultery by women is more strongly disapproved of than by men and there may be sociobiological grounds for this. The man, as the provider for wife and child, must ensure that he is indeed caring for his own genetic heritage since he is making a substantial investment in the family. If he also deposits his genes elsewhere he is fostering his own genetic survival. The woman, on the other hand, must ensure that her husband maintains the responsibility of a caretaker and keeps her affection for her. The question of whether this selective pressure produces differential dis­positions toward fidelity, despite the natural sexual interest of both sexes, has not yet been answered. It appears as if women have a stronger tendency to bond with a single partner, as if they are by nature more monogamous than men, while men are faithful to an individual partner, but not as strictly monogamous. Women certainly also have appetences to enter into extramarital relations, for they too are sexually curious, even if less so than the male. M. Shostak’s (1982) brilliantly written autobiography of Bushman women is quite revealing in this respect.

Rules governing sexual behavior vary from culture to culture, and in our western world we often interpret this as a reason for slackening our customary sexual discipline. Some of our cultural restrictions may indeed be passe due to new tech­niques in birth control and thus the possibility of enjoying the bonding role of sexuality without the reproductive role. But before we casually throw all the re­strictions overboard in the name of liberalism, we must clearly understand that cultural regulations are adaptations to the unique requirements of human groups evolving at a specific time and under specific economic, climatic, and social con- 245 tingencies. These adaptations have survival value! New environmental conditions may make their modification desirable, but we should always consider their adap­tive value. Cultural practices concerning sexuality are flexible but only within certain limits if societies are to reproduce themselves, maintain harmony, and thus survive.

Sexual modesty is another cultural universal element of behavior. It is found in all cultures and is expressed in various ways. The sexual organs are often covered by clothing, although there are people who, in our view, walk about completely naked. One example is the Yanomami, whose women wear only a thin cord around their waists (Fig. 4.47). But even this cord is symbolic “clothing.” If a Yanomami women is asked to remove the cord she becomes just as embarrassed as a woman in our culture would be if she were asked to remove her clothing.

Yanomami men wear a cord around their foreskin by which they fasten their penis to their abdomen and they become embarrassed if the cord loosens. In their culture “clothing” is adapted to the moist, warm rain forest climate. It is likely that hip (waist) cords are vestigial articles of clothing as the Yanomami ancestors probably did not transverse the cool Bering Strait naked.

Modesty demands that one conceal sexual activity from others. A number of attempts have been made to identify the origin of modesty. B. Hassenstein (1982) states that we would want to cover this unattractive part of the body. But is it not more likely that people cover their sex organs around others with whom they have no sexual contact in order to maintain an undisturbed group life? This would conform to the fact that women, unlike other mammalian females, do not have a visible estrus. While in all other mammals there are prominent estrous signals during ovulation in order to attract males’ sexual interest, in humans this type of signal disappears. That certainly facilitates group life through reducing overt sexual competition.

Group disruptions are known to occur, for example, in nonhuman primates and some birds (greylag geese). A sexual union can provoke attacks, especially by higher ranking male group members. They attempt to interrupt copulation with threats and even attacks. This is a form of sexual rivalry through which the higher ranking members maintain multiple options for propagating their genes. It is less developed but also observed in females who primarily defend their bond (C.L. Niemeyer and J.R. Anderson, 1983). In this context an observation made by van de Waal (1982) is noteworthy. A low ranking chimpanzee who became sexually aroused by a female in estrous hid his erection behind one hand when a high ranking male looked toward him.

It is interesting to note that due to conventions of modesty, that revealing oneself before others can express scorn and mockery. Thus !Ko girls jestingly mocked us by lifting their skirts and thus breached rules of conduct (Fig. 4.48). Otherwise, they only do this in dance while flirting.

Another reason for concealing sexual activity is that during the sexual act a person is so involved with the partner that he cannot perceive the environment accurately and thus is vulnerable.

Many of us in the western world believe that modesty should be abandoned for the sake of sexual emancipation. Thus, in the kibbutz, boys and girls were brought up together and used the same sanitary facilities and showers. However, at puberty girls developed feelings of modesty and protested against the lack of sexual separation in these intimate situations (M.E. Spiro, 1979).

There are societies with liberal sexual norms that tolerate partnership changes 246 prior to marriage. The Mangaians of the southern Cook Islands allegedly are highly

Figure 4.47. Yanomami women in their everyday clothing, which is limited to a thin cord about the hips. Without this sym­bolic garment they would feel "naked.’' Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

promiscuous in youth and frequently have sexual unions with different partners. Copulation supposedly occurs independent of personal acquaintance and it is sexual prowess and not an emotional involvement that is the determining factor in achievement (D.S. Marshall, 1971). However these claims are based on hearsay and thus must be considered with many reservations, especially since the Man- gaians do eventually marry. Marshall concludes that the European notion of love is absent in the Mangaians because he found that the they were amazed when he discussed the concept of love with them. This seems to me a highly questionable basis for making such a conclusion. B. Malinowski’s (1952) description of unre­stricted sexual activity among Trobriand island boys and girls, who supposedly engaged in sex between 6 and 8 years of age, does not hold at all, as W. Schie- fenhovel and J. Bell-Krannhals (pers. commun.) recently stated. Malinowski had greatly underestimated their ages! Furthermore, the young people do fall in love. They are indeed sexually liberated but subject to the restraint that one has a single partner at any given time except during the festival period after the yam harvest. Similar relaxation of norms is seen in our culture during festive cycles, for instance, during the carnival in southern Germany.

Figure 4.48. Mocking !Ko girls (central Kalahari): they raise their aprons. From a 16 mm film. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

So far, no culture is known in which adults live communally and freely change partners. Attempts to form such communities are recent experiments, and they have usually failed because firm family bonds developed between specific indi­viduals within the commune.

The Oneida community in the United States is a notable experiment in extreme collectivism. This religious, communistic movement, founded in 1830 by John Humphrey Noyes, had 500 members at its height. The group settled in Oneida, New York in 1847. All possessions, including clothing and childrens’ toys, were common property. The children were raised communally and were taught to love all the adults as if they were their own parents. Adults were expected to respond equally to all others; romantic love was considered to be selfish and monogamy was thought to be detrimental to community life. While the lack of ownership and a classless society were achieved, the group failed to abolish sexual division of labor, dominance of men over women and children, the formation of individual sexual partnerships, and parent-child bonds, and the community was dissolved in 1881 (R.J. Muncy, 1973; W.M. Kephardt, 1976). We will discuss similar de­velopments in the far less radical setting of the kibbutz at a later point.

In discussing adaptations fostering marital ties we cited the bonding power of sexuality and, in particular, the strong sexual interest of the male and the woman’s capacity (in contrast with other mammalian females) to receive the man outside her fertile period. Thus she offers both her male partner and herself positive bond­ing experiences. She is also motivated to seek sexual union due to her capability to experience orgasm.

If there were visible signs of estrus in the human female, the small group would be disturbed and marriages endangered by male-male rivalries. Thus I believe that the maintenance of group harmony and the preservation of heterosexual long­term partnerships developed hand-in-hand with the concealment of estrous signals. The female thus acquired sexual readiness for a longer time span, which fostered continual bonding. There has been a great deal of recent speculation on the origin of the concealed ovulation (summarized in J.P. Gray and L.D. Wolfe, 1983). D. Symons (1980) states that the lack of visible female estrus did not arise in the service of marital bonds but to enable women to offer themselves to men to obtain portions of the booty from the hunt. I find this less plausible since prey is already shared in chimpanzees without any such sexual reward by the partner. Symons also contends that the female orgasm occurs only as a by-phenomenon without function since it is experienced infrequently, which seems an unacceptable hy­pothesis.

According to data from England, the United States, and Germany between 31 and 50% of all women questioned always experience orgasm and only 2-14% never do (A.C. Kinsey et al., 1953, 1954; E. Chesser, 1957; S. Fisher, 1973; H.J. Eysenck, 1976; S. Hite, 1976). Furthermore these surveys indicate that mainly women in successful partnerships experience orgasm. Only 3% of all women who regularly experience orgasm with their partner are prepared to sleep with other men, versus 10% of all women who do not experience orgasm with their partner (E. Chesser, 1957). Thus the bonding influence of sexual satisfaction is certainly significant. D. Rancourt-Laferriere (1983), who contested Chesser’s conclusions, claims that besides the hedonistic function that preserves the woman’s general sexual interest and the bonding function there exists a potency-maintaining function for the male. Thus “the delicate male ego” is maintained intact with the knowledge of his part- 248 ner’s satisfaction. Although there may be truth to this argument, his further con­tention that this enhances the male’s trust of being the children’s father seems farfetched to me.

Female orgasm differs from the male orgasm in a number of ways. While male orgasm reaches a high point after which sexual appetence declines and is not aroused again until after a refractory period, female orgasm can be aroused re­peatedly in short intervals. Furthermore there probably exists both clitoral and vaginal orgasms.

In the 1940s, gynecologist E. Grafenberg described a site of particularly sensitive distensible tissue on the ventral side of the vaginal wall directly behind the pubis, and stimulation of the site seems to stimulate vaginal orgasm (E. Grafenberg, 1950; A. Kahn-Ladas et al., 1982; J. Perry and B. Whipple, 1981; F. Addiego et al., 1981; E. Belzer, 1981; D.C. Goldberg et al., 1983). However stimulation of the cervix and uterus are also implicated in vaginal orgasm. L. Clark (1970) reports that several women lost their enjoyment of sexual intercourse following a complete hysterectomy due to the loss of this stimulation.

Many women clearly distinguish the two forms of orgasm. Perhaps the vaginal is the earlier orgasmic form, for clitoral stimulation only occurs when the partners are oriented face to face, which is known to be the phylogenetically more recent pair position.

Sexual intercourse is particularly important in its bonding value for the woman. Perhaps it’s related to the birth experience. Vaginal and cervical stimulation in goats and sheep release via hormonal stimulation a powerful readiness for indi­vidualized bonding (p. 168). In the human female strong uterine contractions ac­company vaginal orgasm. Oxytocin is also released, which likewise occurs during birth. This would conform quite well to the fact that mother-child bonding mech­anisms were commonly extended during our evolution to maintain adult attach­ments and in this case to strengthen the individualized bonds with a male.

It appears to me that falling in love in women is often reinforced and sometimes even triggered by orgasm, as if it is followed by a reflex-like formation of a phys- iological/psychological condition in which there is a nearly irrational attachment to just this particular sexual partner. However, I express this strictly as an hy­pothesis. This could be tested with questionnaires and with physiological inves­tigations. If complete vaginal-cervical orgasm was followed by oxytocin release, this would be a strong indication of the validity of my hypothesis.

We know, of course, that people can fall in love—and desperately so—prior to any physical contact. Fantasy and imagination are of paramount importance in sexual bonding. People can fall in love idealistically without sex, but sexual contact may also lead to love.

In paraplegic patients, genitopelvic and cerebro-cognitional eroticism function independently of one another. Even though the lower half of the body is paralyzed and without sensation, paraplegic males and females experience sexual dreams which culminate in orgasm (J. Money, 1960). I assume that neurochemical events (massive release of transmitter substances) are responsible for this phenomenon and that they also play a significant role providing the intense rewarding climax in normal orgasm.

The close relationship between infantile care and sexual behavior is manifested in the woman in many ways. During sexual arousal, as in nursing, the nipples are erect and can lactate (W.H. Masters, 1960; N. Newton, 1958; B. Campell and W.E. Petersen, 1953). In some women stimulation of the nipples suffices to elicit an orgasm (A.C. Kinsey et al., 1954). Finally, uterine contractions occur both 249


during nursing and sexual intercourse (C. Moir, 1934; A.C. Kinsey et al., 1948). This is consistent with the fact that the breast is not only a source of nourishment for the infant but is a sexual releaser for the male (P. Anderson, 1983).

Female sexual libido fluctuates with the menstrual cycle. It is often particularly high during ovulation; sexual fantasies reach their apex during this time (T. Be- nedeck, 1952). According to M. Shostak (1982), !Kung Bushmen women have more interest in sex at this time and discuss it more. Yet American women react to erotic tape recordings with identical vaginal blood accumulation in all phases of the menstrual cycle (P.W. Hoon et al., 1982). Generally libido is reduced during menstruation, but it does not vanish. Cultural regulations generally prohibit in­tercourse during menstruation, and this has elicited a great many naive interpre­tations, often made without any in depth consideration. Thus W.N. Stephens (1962) came to the conclusion that the prohibition was caused by castration fear,[37] an apprehension that the blood could endanger the male’s own genitals. Bruno Bet- telheim (1954) wrote this prohibition was based on male jealousy of the reproductive capabilities of women; thus menstrual taboos were essentially masculine attempts to minimize the feminine function’s importance simply because of the male’s in­completeness in procreation. These fantasy-laden theoretical jugglers never take into account that esthetic and hygienic considerations (avoidance of bacterial in­fection) could have played a role here.

The blood testosterone level of males increases after sexual intercourse with a female. A similar change in the hormone level takes place after success in all competitive situations (p. 304). Masturbation, however, does not lead to an increase of the blood testosterone level (C.A. Fox et al., 1972).

Coital positions vary (S.B.J. and V.A. Sadock, 1976). Japanese woodcuts and pre-Columbian Peruvian ceramics show that these are always variations on a few basic positions. Thus there is a certain variable range of human behavior.

Most mammals, including the anthropoid apes, mate with the male mounting the female posteriorly. The sexual signals of the female are on her bottom and are presented to the male by displaying the rear. During the course of hominization, with the evolution of upright body posture, a new orientation arose with the sexual- releasing signals being transposed to the front of the body. One can readily speak of humanization of the act whereby the mutual orientation toward each partner’s face plays an important role. It is, in fact, so important that many people place a greater value on the esthetics of the face than on other secondary sexual char­acteristics. Upright posture facilitated this orientation and face-to-face contact which already played an important role in mother-child interactions in the pongids certainly served as a preadaptation in this context.

Of female secondary sexual characteristics, not only the aforementioned body contours but also the breast plays a role as a releaser. The form-giving lipid bodies of the breast are not required for nourishment of the child, but instead give the breast display value. D. Morris (1968) maintains that the breast became a display organ in conjunction with the development of the upright posture as sexual ori­entation changed to the front of the woman. Human ancestors oriented to the posterior of the female, which in nonanthropoid apes is still an important sexual display organ with its prominent swelling during estrus. Morris claims that in hu­mans the breast acts as a mimicry of the posterior, copying the buttocks in form.

The preadaptation and thus the point of departure for this selection was the re­leasing effect of the posterior region on the male. This idea is, of course, speculative but should not be offhandedly rejected since there are interesting parallel adap­tations in the nonanthropoid primates. In the gelada (Theropithecus gelada), who sits a great deal and does not display its posterior, the female bears an astonishingly accurate copy of her rear on her breast. The closely placed red teats replicate the labia; a white, hourglass-shaped field with white warts on the periphery replicate the rear of the female exactly (W. Wickler, 1967a). One often hears that the human breast would not serve in all cultures as a sexual releaser since in many tribal cultures the men would not react to breasts since they see them continuously. But Bushmen and Yanomami as well as men in many other tribal societies find a young girls’ breasts attractive, and a girl with beautiful breasts is esteemed (Fig. 4.49).

A well-formed breast is definitely (a signal of sexual attraction) significant for the early phases of partner formation and marriage. I observed flirting Yanomami men playing with their partner’s breast in sexual foreplay.

The ancient releasing function of the female posterior remains. In the Khoisan the female buttocks are emphasized by fatty deposits (steatopygia), and in our culture the posterior is emphasized in various styles of clothing, while certain dance forms (such as the can-can) contain stylized genital displays by baring the

Figure 4.49. G/wi Bushman (central Kalahari) playfully approaches and touches the breast of a young girl. Also in tra­ditional societies, the breast of a young woman is an erogenous char­acteristic. From a 25 frames/second 16 mm film, frames 1,34, 50, 54, and 57 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl- Eibesfeldt.

Figure 4.50. (A) Parisian nightclub dancer. She moves from left to right, presenting her posterior in the center photo. Photo: W. George, Gunpress. (B) Himba woman dancing and raising her skirt with a rapid turn. She jumps in front of the group of clapping, singing women opposite whom stand a group of men (Fig. 3.6). From a 25 frames/ second 16 mm film, frames 1, 3, 12, 146, 148, and 150 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

c

Figure 4.50. (C) Ancient Greek vase decoration.

From L.B. Lawler (1962).

posterior or displaying the frontal region (Figs. 4.50A-C). There are comparable dances in the Bushmen and Himba. The elongated labia of the Bushmen women serve as signals in genital display from the rear. Bushmen often copulate from behind (a tergo) while lying down on their sides, a position facilitated by the pronounced lordosis of the pelvic spinal column.

In Ethology: The Biology of Behavior I stated that the female schema to which men respond is based upon two fundamental ideal types, which can be categorized as the Lower Stone Age ideal of the Venus of Willendorf and the ideal of the Grecian and Roman Venus. Since then I have found that Bushmen, whose adult women correspond closely to the Lower Stone Age ideal, also find as beautiful the young slender women with firm breasts and lacking exaggerated steatopygia as is the case in our western culture. Thus I now theorize that the Lower Stone Age idols do not depict the idealized sexual partner but rather the mature woman and successful mother, not because such idols were considered to be particularly attractive sexually but because they symbolize the fertile mother.

While men respond highly to visual stimuli of their female sexual partners, females also respond to such stimuli in men, albeit not to them alone. We know that narrow hips, a small firm buttocks, broad shoulders, and, in general, a mus­cular body are perceived as handsome features in men.

The beard is one of the prominent male secondary sexual characteristics in many races. This feature appears to have evolved less as a heterosexual signal and more for its display value for other male group members as a signal of strength and maturity (see p. 482). Hair is a lifelong accessory developing into a white adornment with age that camouflages the body’s aging process and elicits respect and thus perhaps is a status-enhancing characteristic associated with wisdom and experience.

E.A. Hess (1977) developed a way to measure preferences using pupillary re­actions. The pupils dilate briefly whenever someone sees something interesting and pleasing. Hess constructed an apparatus with which a person’s pupil could be filmed while the subject observed slides. The pupillary reaction study showed that normal males and females respond to naked women and muscular men, re­spectively, even if the female subjects claimed they had no interest in muscle men (Fig. 4.51 A). Hess found that male subjects were divided into two groups. One showed a clear preference for large female breast, while others preferred pictures of women with well-developed but not excessively large breasts and in which the women were presented in such a way as to also display the posterior body portion.


Most heterosexual American men conformed to the first type, while Europeans conformed, in general, to the second type. However, each group contained a number of individuals that did not conform to the within-group norms. Thus, some American subjects preferred normal breasts while some Europeans preferred ex­ceptionally large ones. Later Hess found a correlation between these preferences and bottle or breastfeeding. Those Americans and Europeans who preferred large breasts had been bottle fed. One is inclined to speculate that these subjects retained an infantile desire for the maternal breast. Those who had been nursed preferred the young woman’s breast but not the unusually large ones. Homosexuals could also be identified with this test, for they reacted positively to partners of the same sex (Fig. 4.51B) and not to those of the opposite sex. We have already discussed the male and female body contour, particularly the significance of shoulder breadth as a male characteristic (see also T. Horvath, 1979, 1981).

K.H. Skrzipek (1978, 1981, 1982, 1983) used model choice tests to investigate the preferences of children, juveniles, and adults of both sexes for schematicized male and female faces and body contours. The drawings did not depict any primary sexual characteristics but in preceding studies other interviewed subjects had cat­egorized the drawings statistically significant as male or female according to impression. Skrzipek found that young boys and girls select faces and silhouettes of their own sex. This probably expresses their appetence for the same sex in terms of social role imprinting (B. Hassenstein, 1973). A dramatic change in pref­erence of body contours occurs at puberty, when the silhouettes of the opposite sex are preferred (Fig. 4.52). The pleasing qualities of body silhouettes are de­velopmentally specific and probably caused by hormonal changes. The responses to faces were more complex, in that boys indeed changed their preference from the male to female prior to puberty around the age of 10, while girls continued to prefer the female face beyond puberty. This may be due to the fact that the female face model corresponds more closely to the baby schema (childlike features).

Flirting behavior and female and male postures are universals that to some extent are programmed by phylogenetic adaptation. Olfactory releasers also are significant, for women react subconsciously to specific substances with male odors. Their olfaction threshold varies with the menstrual cycle. We will discuss this in more detail in the section on olfactory communication (Section 6.1).

Sexual studies show that imprinting-like fixations on specific visual character­istics of one’s sexual partner also occur. Thus there are male fetishists that are only aroused when, for example, a woman wears black shoes, gloves, or a fur. Others are stimulated by a handkerchief or some specific part of the body, or only within some individual context (perhaps while on a swing). In many instances, these phenomena are associated with some sexual experience that led to the in­dividual’s first orgasm (R. von Krafft-Ebing, 1924) in which the object involved played some role.

At present we can only speculate on the role of imprinting in normal sexual development. It may foster cultural demarcation (pseudospeciation, p. 15) by making the opposite sex of one’s own culture particularly attractive and distin­guished from members of other cultures by clothing, decoration, and also by his/ her demeanor. Certain forms of homosexuality may also be imprinting phenomena. K. Leonhard (1966) described a number of such cases. Here imprinting occurs on a very specific visual image and not generally on the opposite sex.

One of Leonhard’s subjects, Knut D., was a 28-year-old who reported to have engaged in sexual games with a male friend that highly aroused him. The genitals 254 of this friend could be clearly outlined beneath his slacks. After this sexually

Observed pictures

Figure 4.51. (A) The pupillary re­action of male and fe­male test subjects in response to various pictures. After E. Hess (1977). (B) The pupillary reaction of heterosexual and ho­mosexual males in re­sponse to pictures of naked women. After E. Hess (1977). arousing experience, D. began masturbating. While he was masturbating, he men­tally fantasized about his friend’s protuberance, and he developed a proclivity toward homosexuality and only became aroused when the phallus was prominent under tight slacks. The uncovered penis was not arousing. Another of Leonhard’s homosexual subjects was fixated on the upper body, while a third was fixated on the face of a male partner. As in heterosexual fetishism, these object imprinting phenomena are highly resistant to therapy. Women can be imprinted in the same way as men (K. Leonhard, 1966), but their fixation is often less complete since sexual arousal during the imprinting experience is rarely as intense as it is in boys. The fact that the imprinted form of homosexuality is often a consequence of se­duction experience obligates lawmakers to protect minors from such acts. Juveniles could become imprinted aberrantly if such behavior is generally accepted.

Figure 4.52. Model choice study with human silhouettes: selection of female (....) and male ( ) body contours by female ( • ) and male ( + ) test subjects of various age classes. Abscissa: % of choices. Ordinate: age classes (at least 100 subjects per year and sex). Below are shown the female and male silhouette models (S1-4). One sees from the frequency curves that a change in preference occurs at puberty, with the same sex preferred before puberty and the opposite one thereafter. The pref­erence for the same sex in childhood probably fosters identification with one’s own sexual role and thus its acceptance. After K.H. Skrzipek (1978).

Homosexuality derived from juvenile seduction is distinguished from another type that is less dependent upon a learned experience as it is from early hormonal factors. Since this is a prebirth condition one refers to such individuals as primary homosexuals.

J. Marmor (1976) summarizes a number of studies demonstrating hormonal dif­ferences between homosexual and heterosexual men. M.S. Margolese (1970) in­vestigated the amounts of the breakdown products of testosterone, androsterone (A) and etiocholanolone (E), in urine. In homosexuals E values were higher than A values, while the opposite was found in heterosexuals. Since women also have relatively higher E values in their urine, Margolese concluded that higher A values in men produced a preference for women. R.C. Kolodny et al. (1971) found that homosexual men have a distinctly lower level of plasma testosterone than het­erosexuals. Other investigations indicate that some homosexual men possess a type of feminized differentiated brain derived from a lack of androgen during em­bryonic development (G. Dorner, 1981; G. Dorner et al., 1975). The free plasma testosterone level is lower in homosexuals than heterosexuals, although the total testosterone level is identical in both (G. Dorner, 1980; F. Stahl et al., 1976).

Testosterone deprivation during a critical period of the embryonic development of male rats causes feminization of their brains, and upon reaching sexual maturity the rats become homosexual. This can be induced by putting pregnant rats under stress, causing the mother’s adrenal gland to produce substances which lower the testosterone level of the male embryos. The deficiency will then occur in the male young, whereby homosexuality occurs at maturity. Domer found that human males born during stressful periods during World War II displayed a higher rate of homosexuality. Another indication that the male homosexual brain has been fem­inized is that the brain of primary homosexuals reacts to estrogen injections by releasing ovulation-inducing hormones, just as the female brain reacts to signals from the ovaries. Heterosexual males do not react similarly (Fig. 4.53). Experi­ments by B.A. Gladue et al. (1983) confirmed these findings. Brain feminization of some male homosexuals is often correlated with the fact that as children they preferred female rather than masculine activities (E.A. Grellert, 1982).

Studies on homosexuals with twin brothers bear out the possibility of a genetic disposition for homosexuality. All monozygote twins in F.J. Kallmann’s (1952) study were similarly homosexual, while there was a lower correlation between heterozygote twins.

Freud assumed that bisexuality is normal and that each person experiences a homoerotic phase during childhood. Homosexuality would arise when the patient remained at an infantile level or regressed to it from castration fear. Modern med­icine is rejecting these speculations.

A.P. Bell et al. (1981), using a large body of questionnaires, came to the con­clusion that pure homosexuals can scarcely be modified by their environment whereas bisexuals are accessible with social learning. Earlier psychoanalytical theories ascribing homosexuality to particular parental constellations early in life (maternal dominance, weak father, oedipal conflict) are currently being rejected.

Homosexuality does not occur in all cultures. Of 76 cultures surveyed by C.S. 257

E o v> 0>

•-------- • Homosexual men (n = 21)

o------- o Heterosexual and

bisexual men (n=20 + 5 = 25)

Figure 4.53. Changes of the luteinizing hor­mone levels in the blood serum

60-

Hours

following intravenous estrogen injection in homosexuals and heterosexual as well as in bi­sexual males. From G. Dorner

(1980).

Ford and F.A. Beach (1969), 28 did not have homosexual members. A.C. Kinsey, using data on 5000 Americans, found that 37% of all males experienced at least transient homosexual experiences. He included all cases of transitory homosexual activity (e.g., mutual masturbation in boys) and chance occurrences in prisons. If such events are excluded, we find that 4% of the subjects in this group were exclusively homosexual, in addition, and about 6% were predominantly homo­sexual. In Holland 2% of males were found to be exclusively homosexual and 4% bisexual. Similar figures exist for Germany.

In addition to deviations regarding the sex object there are also those deviations in humans that, in my opinion, can be ascribed to the hypertrophy of normal drive components of sexual behavior. Male dominance behavior is closely associated with male sexuality. This is undoubtedly an ancient vertebrate legacy from which we are gradually liberating ourselves.[38] In many fishes and some higher vertebrates, courtship is initiated with mutual display behavior. The female will also display threat in such contexts. The victor, usually the male, assumes the masculine role. Thus pair formation only succeeds when the male is able to dominate his partner. Male sexuality is thus associated with aggressivity but not with fear. Female sex­uality is the exact opposite: in lower vertebrates aggressive motivations inhibit sexuality, although flight motivation (fear) does not necessarily suppress it.

In the marine iguana, for example, the courtship of the male consists of a threat display of the same type as demonstrated in agonal encounters with rivals. Re­ceptive females respond by submission—by lying flat on their belly, which invites copulation. The reptile pattern of agonistic sexuality is thus characterized by a male dominance and a female submission sexuality. In birds and mammals, this archaic agonistic sexuality is superceded by a phylogenetically new pattern of affiliative sexuality which in some of them, including man, gave rise to a love relationship based upon individual bonding. The origin of affiliative sexuality can be traced to the evolution of maternal behavior which gave rise to care-taking behaviors such as grooming, feeding, and protecting and of the infantile behaviors which release them (p. 169). The tools are thus provided for friendly interactions, which could serve for adult bonding. In addition, the mother-child relation gave origin to the individualized bond.

Human sexual behavior is characterized by affiliative responses and love. However, the archaic layers of agonistic sexuality did not disappear. There still exists a connection between male dominance and male sexuality as expressed in certain phallic dominance displays, as well as in hormonal responses such as the increase in levels of blood testosterone after achievement (such as winning in a tennis match, p. 304).

There also seems to still exist a linkage between fear and female sexual arousal, suggestive of the archaic female submission sexuality. Sexual fantasies of women often describe situations as arousing which involve domination by the sexual part­ner (Kitzinger, 1984). Cleptomaniacs report that they experience sexual arousal and even orgasm during the act of stealing and the subsequent flight (Keupp, 1971; Stoller, 1975). One subject told me that she experienced her first orgasm at 14 years old when she became fearful of a mathematics assignment. Her fear-induced orgasm occurred repeatedly without any mechanical stimulation until her sixteenth year. Both the tendencies to dominate and submit are exploited in western por­nographic material.

Some of the pathologies of sexual behavior observed can be explained as phy­logenetic regressions to an archaic agonistic sexuality. Among others, there exists one form of male homosexuality which is characterized by the lack of bonding (frequent change of partners) and brutal expressions of dominance. These ho­mosexuals seek partners who allow themselves to be dominated. The components of dominance sexuality are the lust for dominance and the lust for submission. I speculate that sadism, which often accompanies homosexuality, and masochism are two forms of pathological derivations of these desires which are present in what we would call normal human beings, but that they are controlled by affiliative sexuality and love.

Our phylogenetic model contributes to the understanding of sexual pathologies in man, but, of course, should not be taken as the sole explanatory principle. Nonetheless, we can state that sexuality without love and affiliation is a patho­logical regression to an archaic reptile stage level of sexuality (p. 238).

Under isolated conditions, males in groups often verbally express heterosexual fantasies in a vulgar, joking way. According to H. Schelsky (1955) this is a means of maintaining interest in the opposite sex. Pathological male exhibitionism is less a sexual need than an impulse to frighten someone, representing hypertrophy of the phallic threat (p. 81; Musch, 1976).

Human sexual behavior has been emancipated in a number a ways from the bonds of our phylogenetic heritage. However, this has increased its susceptibility to imprinting and other environmental influences which, under certain conditions, can lead to deviations. The very lack of innate controls demands that we be par­ticularly aware of the need for cultural controls over this extraordinarily powerful drive. The fact that not only sexual perversions but also other kinds of deviations from the expected norm in sexual behavior are so widespread does not mean that these are normative. According to Kinsey one-half of all white North American males engage in extramarital intercourse at some time. The fact that a behavior persists does not of in itself make it “natural” nor does it imply that it should be legitimized (see the concept of the norm). As I have already emphasized repeatedly, mankind only attains an orderly, harmonious social life when he cultivates his behavior in many respects. This is particularly true regarding the control of sexual behavior, not only because of its strength as a social explosive but also for the sake of our offspring who can claim a moral right to be taken care by their pro­genitors. The various cultures of the world have all designed controls corresponding to their unique environmental contingencies and economic situation. They are binding for each culture, since as H. Schelsky (1955) convincingly showed, only the cultural standardization of human sexuality ensures the function of procreation, satisfaction, and social integrity in marriage and family, and has a positive effect on the self-confidence of the individual. Thus, a sexuality so integrated brings with it the possibility of developing higher forms of love.

The cultivation of this realm of behavior does not mean repression, for culti­vation also means the accentuation of enjoyment. In this sense, the biologist is by no means opposing a liberalization of sexual behavior, but he feels a special obligation for life and is moved to oppose decadent developments that endanger fitness.

Summary 4.5

Human sexual behavior is characterized by love and affiliative responses which superimpose upon an archaic layer of agonistic sexuality characterized by male dominance and female submission. Some of the sexual pathologies observed (e.g., sadism) can be explained as phylogenetic regressions to the archaic “reptilian stage” agonistic sexuality. Man is biologically disposed toward long-lasting sexual partnerships, and romantic love is not a recent discovery. It finds manyfold expression in traditional societies in song and poetry, among others. The basic appeals used in courtship, as far as is known, are identical in all cultures. Display, infantile appeals, and caregiving behavior are employed. The strategies involve seeking a common reference basis. The man must also succeed in developing a basis for trust, since a woman’s investment is greater than the man’s and winning her requires a greater courtship effort on the man’s part. This in turn results in a powerful attachment of the man to his female partner, who he has made a sub­stantial investment to woo her.

Indirect approaches and veiled speech characterize courtship. Thus a direct rejection, loss of face, and the possibility of conflicts is avoided.

Sexual modesty is a universal. No culture is known in which promiscuity pre­vails. The more promiscuous societies restrict this behavior to specific devel­opmental periods or ritualized events. Man and woman alike are programmed in their sexual physiology for long-lasting relationships; women have the ability to receive and satisfy men sexually without dependence upon the ovulation cycle as well as the ability to experience orgasm, which bonds them emotionally. The cervical-uterine orgasm is of particular interest in this regard and may be related to the birth experience. In some mammals birth induces, via a hormonal reflex, a readiness to accept the young and to form a powerful attachment to it. Whether a similar bonding mechanism operates in humans via the female orgasm remains to be verified. The sexual bonding theory developed herein suggests that such a mechanism indeed could exist. Whether sexual liberalization due to advanced techniques of birth control exerts an influence upon the strength of partner bonding 260 remains to be investigated.

The upright human posture led to a change of the preferred sexual position and, in conjunction, to the development of sexual releasers on the front of the woman (the breast). In his face to face orientation, man distances himself from animals and humanizes the sexual relationship. Preference changes at puberty were tested using simple male and female contour drawings. Such tests suggest that sexual preferences arise from innate programs.

Sexual pathology shows man’s sexual vulnerability. Male homosexuality and fetishism can be imprinted. Male homosexuality, in addition, can also arise from a feminization of the brain in individuals who otherwise are phenotypically and genotypically males. Tolerance toward sexual deviants should not lead to con­sidering pathological manifestations as “normal” since individual imprinting plays a role in this area. Juveniles could become imprinted aberrantly if such behaviors were generally accepted.

The strong sexual drive in man is linked with a likewise powerful curiosity, which calls for particular cultural controls over sex.

4.6. Incest Taboos and Incest Avoidance

The nuclear family typically is bonded by powerful affectionate ties. Parents love their children, and they in turn love their parents and siblings irrespective of the minor rivalries of daily life. Thus it is feasible that these attachments could manifest themselves in sexual love, but this occurs very rarely. Using a ques­tionnaire, D. Finkelhor (1980), tested students in social science and sexology classes, and found that 13% of them had engaged in some kind of sibling sexual interaction, which could suggest that incest is not so rare after all. But if we look at Finkelhor’s data closely, we find that less than 15% of those positive responses included sexual intercourse or attempted intercourse with a sibling. Thus only 2% of all respondents actually engaged in incest, and the majority of these did so before the age of thirteen. Of the 796 students, only three of them had or attempted having sibling intercourse, after reaching the age of thirteen.

In a population of approximately 18,000 psychiatric patients, K.C. Meiselman (1979) found only eight instances of father-daughter incest and one instance of mother-son incest. Higher figures would result if we define incest in broader terms of any kind of sexual activity without coitus. Meiselmann estimates its prevalence as 1-2% of psychiatric patients. S.K. Weinberg (1955) reported 0.73 cases of incest per year per million inhabitants in Sweden, while figures in the United States were 1.9 cases per million inhabitants in 1930. Further data is found in R.H. Bixler (1981).

Incest is prohibited in all cultures by an incest taboo. It is universally valid, and since the prohibition often appears as a codified one, it was long thought to be a learned cultural adaptation, particularly when Freud (1913) claimed that in­cestuous desires occur during certain developmented stages of the parent-child relationship. It was also believed that animals have no incest inhibitions. Finally it was thought that since a formal prohibition was necessary, incest taboos must be purely cultural arrangements lacking any biological basis. Thus until quite re­cently (C. Levi-Strauss, 1969; M. Harris, 1971; L. White, 1959) prevailing thought held that there was no reason to assume a genetic basis for the incest taboo.

In Weston LaBarre (1954, p. 122) we read: “Human incest taboos are not in­stinctual or biological. They are, rather, the initial (and universal) cultural artifact, deriving immediately from the universal fact of familiar social organization in hu­mans. For secondary incest taboos vary widely in their range and hence can 261 scarcely be instinctual if they can be modified by mere cultural change, even so minimal a change as state legislation.” And on p. 216 he continues: "Much as one might wish to believe that incest avoidance rests on the rock of the instinctual, and not on the shifting unsure sands of our indoctrinated psyches (this is what makes philosophical absolutists), no one can pretend that mere genes, bearing the bright banner of instinct, could thread their way through this maze of fickle cultural contingencies.”

We will see in the following that there are indeed culturally variable incest taboos but that they arise from a biological basis. The diversity of many cultural taboos is fully compatible with its biological origin.

In the early 1970s it was learned that there is a whole series of animals, included nonhuman primates, that display incest inhibitions. These animals will not copulate with conspecifics with whom they have grown up (N. Bischof, 1972a, b, 1975). Incest taboos develop particularly where strong parent-child and associated sibling ties exist and where the animals remain in the vicinity of each other beyond pu­berty. Thus parent-child or sibling mating would be likely if such inhibitions did not exist. In some species the young are driven out by the parents and dispersed over a large area upon reaching sexual maturity ensuring that they do not mate with closely related individuals. Thus incest inhibitions are not needed (Eibl- Eibesfeldt, 1970). This occurs, for example, in squirrels and house mice.

Long ago E. Westermarck (1894) and H. Ellis (1906) observed that people growing up with each other experience little mutual sexual attraction and that, in fact, a sexual aversion develops, even between unrelated individuals, who ex­perienced close daily contact during childhood. A.P. Wolf (1966, 1970) confirmed these observations in a comparative study of two kinds of Chinese marriage ar­rangements on Formosa. These marriage arrangements are distinguished chiefly by the fact that in one the couple meet as adults while in the other so-called sim- pua marriage the bride and groom meet in childhood; the bride is adopted by the groom’s family and is brought up like a sister. The consequence of this common upbringing period is frequently a pronounced lack of sexual interest. These mar­riages lack sexual harmony, excitement, and result in fewer children being born. Partners meeting and marrying as adults bear 30% more children. The divorce rate in sim-pua marriages is also higher. Of 132 sim-pua marriages Wolf inves­tigated, 46.2% resulted in separation and divorce while only 10.5% of the 171 adult marriages were so terminated.

The objection was raised that these differences could have arisen from social class. A.P. Wolf (1974) then investigated a third Chinese marital form, in which the future groom is obligated to serve the bride’s father and live with his future father-in-law because he could not afford to pay the dowry. This type of marriage is one of low esteem; nonetheless, these marriages are particularly fertile! Thus status cannot be the cause of lower fertility between partners.

Another theory offered was that the reduced fertility was due to the fact that the sim-pua marriage partners are frequently of the same age, and the woman could readily resist her husband on grounds of status equality. However in mar­riages involving bridal service (the last type discussed) the men are clearly inferior economically in rank to the women and yet such marriages, as stated above, are very fertile. A.P. Wolf (1974) found a linear relation between the age of the groom at the time of adoption of the wife and the separation rate. If the groom was 4 years old or younger, 14.6% of the marriages ended in divorce. If at the time of adoption he was between 5 and 9 years old, 12% of such marriages terminated in 262 divorce. When the future groom was 10 years old or more, the divorce rate sank to 5.4%! This suggests that a common upbringing during a particular developmental stage results in inhibitions against sexual union. These findings have been supported by those of J. McCabe (1983) for the FBD (Fathers Brothers Daughters) marriages of the Sunnites of Bayt al-’asir, Lebanon, where a patrilineal parallel cousin is preferred for marriage partners. Parallel cousins grow up in a family relationship, bound by sibling-like ties. But such marriages produce less children and suffer a higher divorce rate than other marriages.

Further evidence for the existence of incest inhibitions arising from common upbringing is found in J. Shepher (1971, 1983). In the kibbutz children are brought up communally in age classes. Girls and boys use the same showers and toilets, since kibbutz leaders wish to abolish sex discrimination and the discomfort in being seen unclothed by the opposite sex. The children raised in this way expe­rienced no embarrassment with the opposite sex until reaching the age of twelve, but from that time on the girls refused to have contact with the boys. They avoided undressing in front of the boys and taking showers with them, in short, displaying all the signs of modesty that the kibbutz leaders were attempting to suppress. They also became interested in young men who had not grown up with them. After puberty the tensions between boys and girls raised together eased, and they developed friendly sibling-like relationships. But age class members did not marry. J. Shepher (1983) investigated 2769 marriages between individuals raised in the kibbutz, and in no instance did members who were brought up together marry. Group members regard each other as brother and sister, and not because of any external authority but out of their own choice. Since these children were not blood relatives, the adults would have held no objections against such marriages and in fact desired them. But such marriages did not take place because those who grew up together did not experience any mutual sexual attraction. Later, J. Shepher discovered thirteen exceptions in his data, that is of marriages between members brought up together. A close analysis of these showed that in every case an ex­tended interruption of the “sibling” life relationship had occurred before the sixth year. Shepher concludes that there is a sensitive period before the sixth year in which one learns whom one does not desire sexually at a later time in life. This conforms well to the observations of A.P. Wolf. Homosexual male twins likewise avoid incestuous relations with each other. Once again the evidence suggests that growing up together results in reduced mutual sexual interest (R.H. Bixler, 1983).

The biological mechanism underlying this process has not yet been elucidated, but K. Kortmulder (1968) and N. Bischof (1972a, b, 1985) have formulated some theories regarding it. Kortmulder starts from the observation that pair formation in animals is usually accompanied by aggression and fear reactions. Since these reactions are eliminated or inhibited between family members, interrelations be­come less exciting and thus pair formation is less likely. In this view aggressive and sexual motivation are closely connected, and such a finding has been verified ethologically in male vertebrates. In females, aggression inhibits sexuality whereas fear does not. A. Kortmulder refers to an “agonistic sexual arousal link.” N. Bischof observed that goslings do not arouse each other with stimuli that would normally elicit fear and aggression, and he feels that this dampens the curiosity and exploratory drive, and with it sexual excitability. Indeed a large number of studies of both animals and humans demonstrate a positive relationship between aggression and sexual arousal (see summary in S. Parker, 1976, including neu­rophysiological studies). Since aggression is inhibited in the course of human fa­milial socialization, the accompanying sexual arousal would be thereby reduced.

In my opinion this view touches on the proximate mechanisms but is not the 263

Figure 4.54.

Exogamy gradient

Favored

Neutral

Tol erated

Prohi bi ted

Strongly forbi dden

Distance from Ego

Blood relationship

Nuclear family Unrelated

Cuitural

Transculturally uniform char­acteristics of the incest ta­boo. From N. Bischof (1973).

Own culture Foreign culture

Geographi c

Local Outside region Physiognomic

Own race Animals

ultimate explanation. The sensitive period must also be considered. Subsequent pacification by no means disposes one asexually, so we must consider innate learning dispositions for incest taboos. Without an incest avoidance mechanism, sexual reproduction, which was developed to accelerate evolution, would occur senselessly since new combinations of genes would not be taking place. The im­portance of incest avoidance can be seen from the fact that even plants have many kinds of adaptations inhibiting self-fertilization.

In addition to incest taboos, humans have other kinds of sexual restrictions determining that marriages occur only within a specific caste, race, geographic area, or within a particular ethnic group. Distance in all cultures is an important determining factor for marriage regulations, for the marriage partner should be neither too close to oneself nor too distant. N. Bischof (1972a,b) expressed these relationships graphically (Fig. 4.54). The dotted line (endogamy gradient) in the graph represents the distance of positive “we feelings.” If this criterion were the only one, then nuclear family members would be preferred as marriage partners. But another factor counteracts this one, the exogamy gradient rising from left to right. The joint effect of both forces, symbolized by the gradients, results in an inverted U-curve of preference. Relation and distance scales can be interpreted differently in different cultures, so the peak of the preference curve can vary culturally based on different tolerances within a given cultural group.

Summary 4.6

The incest taboo can no longer to accepted as a purely cultural invention. During a sensitive period from infancy to about 6 years of age, children learn with whom they should not fall in love. An innate program facilitates developing inhibitions against copulating with those raised together with them during this period. Thus the incest taboo has a biological basis but undergoes numerous cultural transfor- 264 mations.

4.7. Sex Roles and Their Differentiation

Marital partnership is based upon a division of labor. Man and wife fulfill various tasks in virtually all societies. To some extent, role differentiation is physiologically determined. Women nurse and in tribal societies they often nurse an individual child for up to 3 years. Since women usually raise several children, they spend many years closely attached to an infant, carrying it around and providing for its needs. It is easy to see that during this time a woman needs protection and that she should not unnecessarily expose herself or her children to danger. In most tribal cultures women do not participate in warfare or in the hunting of large game. These tasks are left to men who are physically and physiologically better adapted for such activities.

Constitutional differences in anatomy and physiology between man and woman are substantial. However, we often read that these distinctions were of secondary importance for the development of sex roles and that they could be overcome. F. Salzman (1979) even wrote that they were created by physical training alone and that it was not phylogenetic adaptations but culture that defined and created sex roles. Margaret Mead (1935) remarked that man is the rawest of all raw ma­terials: “We may say that many if not all the personality traits which we have called masculine or feminine are as lightly linked to sex as are the clothing, the manners and the form of headdress that a society at a given period assigns to either sex” (p. 280).

Her statement has been quoted repeatedly. The biologist reads these words with a certain skepticism, since the intimate physiological unity of mother and child has existed since mammals first appeared some 200 million years ago. Thus we would expect from the biological perspective that phylogenetic adaptations exist for female and male personality characteristics, determining sex-typical be­havior and gender roles. Margaret Mead was aware of them herself. After her initial, perhaps overstated, formulations she stated in a later work (1949) that the “core gender identity” is probably determined biologically and her subsequent commentary indicated that she meant behavioral characteristics.

She speaks of natural male and female dispositions in temperament and remarks that American society rarely permits the role of the male to be emotionally sat­isfactory since domestic virtues such as patience, perseverance, and stability would prevail which fit more for women. According to Mead, men are placed in a difficult position since they have no means of expressing their biologically disposed ag­gressive role as protector or their desire for individual bravery. She then suggests that society should structure male tasks so that they offer males the possibility of engaging these masculine dispositions. She felt that any society would experience difficulties if it attempted to influence one sex toward the direction of the other counter to its natural temperament. The Mundugumur would suffer because of masculinizing their women, and the Arapesh would conversely experience diffi­culties for feminizing their men. These observations cited by M. Mead in Male and Female (1949), which substantially expand on her statements in Sex and Tem­perament (1935), are rarely quoted, perhaps because Mead was thinking in bio­logical terms here and such thoughts do not fit the theories of those who deny that biological factors play a role in determining gender roles.

Before we begin a discussion of the biological bases of gender roles, a number of concepts should be clarified. We will use the concept “gender role” to designate that behavior expected or prescribed culturally for males or females. 265

Within the general area of gender role behavior we can distinguish between sex-typical and sex-specific behavior patterns. Sex-typical behaviors are those appearing in both sexes but differentially. Thus men and women are both ag­gressive, but men clearly more so. Sex-specific behavior is restricted to a single sex.

Our interest lies in determining behavioral sex differences, testing their uni­versality or cultural specificity, following their development, and thus determining what factors are responsible for the origin of sexual differences. Finally we in­vestigate the adaptive aspects of such differences and thus glean the actual basis of their existence.

Clear distinctions exist cross-culturally in the tasks performed by men and by women. Typical male activities include hunting large game and group defense. There is no tribal culture in which women are warfaring. Only in the current age of technological civilization did mankind “progress” to this stage.

Women are primarily responsible for caring for infants and small children and for maintaining the household and usually bear a substantial proportion of sub­sistence work load through gathering and gardening. There are spheres in which men and women work together, as in field and gardening work, whereby the heavier physical tasks like clearing the forest are left to the men. In societies in which men and women contribute equally economically by each performing their own tasks one could speak of an economically egalitarian system. Economic equality, however, does not necessarily imply social equality.

In the IKung Bushmen of the Kalahari, hunter-gatherers who are often described as egalitarian and thus used as a model for the original human conditions, men definitely are dominant although women contribute as much or more economically then the men. Marjorie Shostak (1982) found that men more frequently have in­ternally influential positions (as group spokesmen and healers), and this authority over many aspects of !Kung life is universally accepted. The extreme subordination of the woman, as exists in some modern and tribal cultures, does not occur in Bushmen; rather we observe women’s dominance in particular contexts. !Kung women are primary decision makers in situations involving the children. Of course, one could say that the women bear 90% of the “burden” of child care, but one could as easily claim that they provide 90% for the welfare of their children. In addition, Bushmen women contribute the major proportion of the subsistence in­come through gathering and according to Shostak the woman determines how she will distribute her gathered produce. In reciprocal exchanges (Hxaro) women play as substantial a role as men.

Male activities, however, achieve more general recognition. Shostak (1982, p. 243) writes that most gathered food items, excepting mongongo nuts, are described as “things comparable to nothing,” while meat is equated with nourishment. “Squeals of delighted children may greet women as they return from gathering, but when men walk into the village balancing meat on sticks held high on their shoulders, everyone celebrates, young and old alike.” In 1949 Margaret Mead wrote that in every known society the male need for success can be verified. A man may cook, sew, clothe dolls, or hunt hummingbirds, and if society considers that to be adequate male activity it is also defined as significant. But when the same activities are carried out by women they are considered less important. The !Kung Bushmen are no exception to this:

Unfortunately, though, the !Kung are not the exception they first appear to be. !Kung women do have a formidable degree of autonomy, but IKung men enjoy certain distinct advantages, in the way the culture values their activities, both economic and spiritual, and in the somewhat greater influence over decisions affecting the life of the group.

(M. Shostak, 1982, p. 243)

Perhaps there exists something like an androgen-induced appetence for rec­ognition (and I suspect that there is). We know that success elevates the level of androgen in males. In societies such as the Enga (P. Wiessner, pers. commun.) where competition between males is intense, men gain wealth and status through the ceremonial exchange of pigs raised largely by women.

Outgroup representation is a man’s affair, probably derived from territorial de­fense. Men usually control political relations between groups and in this connection are the main mediators to the higher forces in religious rites. In a certain respect this is also a representation of the group to the outer world. This role, however, is not exclusively male, since women are often engaged in religious rituals as well.

What has been stated thus far holds in principle for the matrilineal cultures as well. In such cultures, the men of the maternal lines are the political decision­makers. The Nayar of Malabar, southern India, are characterized by matrilineality and communal property is inherited through the female line. Although these are a belligerent people, the women have little political influence. Economic leadership and group representation to the outside lies in the hands of elder males, usually the maternal uncles (H. Zinser, 1981). We know of no matrilineal culture in which women assumed these traditional male roles.

Once these role differences are identified one can inquire how they developed as adaptations in the various tribal cultures and whether this adaptation is still valid for modern industrial society. One should furthermore investigate the con­tribution of phylogenetic and cultural adaptations to shaping these different roles.

It could well be that some of the norms controlling gender roles, whether of cultural or biological origins, are no longer “adaptive” in our contemporary society. The modern feminist movement questions such norms as male dominance (and in my opinion, rightly so). With this in mind the question must be asked for which of the diverse demands of social and economic aspects of life do women or men possess particular predispositions. This does not mean that we simply acquiesce to such biological dispositions, but rather that these dispositions should be taken into consideration.

There are extremists in the womens’ movement who advocate an indiscriminate mimicking of male behavior. This is tantamount to the very male dominance they wish to eliminate. For example, some feminists maintain that women should be conscripted into military service, which is neither an “emancipation” nor an im­provement in social standing. Rather than mimicking male behavior, women’s traditional roles as mothers, educators of their children, and managers of a house­hold could be revalorized in order to present this as an alternative option to the many other alternatives currently open to women.

Most investigations of the behavior differences between the genders have been conducted on white children and juveniles in the United States and Europe (sum­marized in E.E. MacCoby and C.N. Jacklin, 1974). Newborn girls are quieter than boys (S. Phillips et al., 1978; J. Feldman et al., 1980); beginning in the third year boys are usually more physically active than girls. Newborn girls smile sponta­neously with closed eyes more frequently than boys and, later, more often com­municatively (intended smiling).

In a quantitative study of altruistic behavior in 279 North American school children, girls were shown to be significantly more altruistic than boys. These 267


behavioral observations confirm independent evaluations made by their teachers (C.C. Shigetomi et al., 1981).

Boys are generally more aggressive than girls, which is most observable at 2 and 2[1]/? years of age. This aggression is both verbal and behavioral (B.B. Whiting and C.P. Edwards, 1973; E.E. MacCoby and C.N. Jacklin, 1974). T. Tieger (1980) criticized the claim that men are biologically more disposed to aggressive behavior than women, but his line of reasoning is untenable. J. MacCoby (1980) responded to T. Tieger and showed additional evidence that differences in aggressive behavior between boys and girls are evident very early in life. This has also been confirmed cross-culturally (T.S. Weisner, 1979).

Older boys display a higher degree of physical activity than girls (J.H. Block, 1976). Boys distance themselves further from their mothers, their playroom, pa­rental home or playground and thus are more independent than girls, who maintain closer physical contact to the mother and do not wander as far from the house. Boys of 12-36 months of age removed themselves from their mothers in a park more often than girls of the same age (R.C. Ley and J.E. Koepke, 1982). The higher level of independence of boys is basically equal in Londoners and !Kung Bushmen (N.G. Blurton-Jones and M.J. Konner, 1973; P. Draper, 1976). This may be due to greater fearfulness or caution on the part of girls. Questionnaire responses indicate that girls are more fearful from the eighth year on (E.E. MacCoby and C.N. Jacklin, 1974). Their highly ambivalent behavior with strangers is another indication of a high motivational level for fear (p. 170).

Kindergarten boys show greater interest in new play objects than girls (A.D. Daldry and P.A. Russell, 1982). Boys of 12-24 months old play more with toy vehicles than girls, climb over chairs more, and investigate furnishings more, de­spite admonishments by their parents that they could injure themselves (P.K. Smith and L. Daglish, 1977).

Beginning in the fourth year, boys in mixed groups generally assume a higher rank position than girls, and they display more (B. Hold, 1974, 1976, 1977), although there are exceptions since derived rank plays a major role. Thus if one girl in the group is the daughter of the teacher, her relationship elevates her rank position.

Verbal abilities are in general more developed in girls beginning in the eleventh year. Girls are in general more obedient and follow suggestions of adults more often than boys. Spatial orientation is superior in boys beginning in the eleventh year (H.A. Witkin et al., 1967).

Preschool children display a clear preference to form play groups with members of the same sex (E. Goodenough-Pitcher and L. Hickey-Schultz, 1983). This may be due to a shyness of the opposite sex. In the study conducted by G.A. Wasserman and D.N. Stem (1978), children of both sexes maintained a greater distance between themselves and members of the opposite sex, turning away from the other sex more frequently. However, differential play interests may be the primary factor determining this behavior. Similar relationships occur in the Kalahari Bushmen. Children have the opportunity to play in mixed sex groupings, but they gravitate toward members of the same sex.

Data from H. Sbrzesny (1976) on !Ko Bushmen from 126 play groups show that sixty of them (47.6%) were composed of boys only, forty eight (38.1%) were exclusively girls, and just eighteen (14.3%) were mixed. Table 4.6 presents distinct sex differences in Bushmen child play activities.

Other data also indicate that interests of Bushmen children is sex differentiated. Shortly before H. Sbrzesny concluded her work on the Bushmen, the New Zealand 268 teacher Liz Wiley initiated schooling of !Ko children as part of a developmental

Table 4.6. Sex Differences in Child Play Activities

Game activity n Distribution (%)
Boys (n = 93)
Playful pursuit, scuffling 17 18.28
Experimental games 40 43.01
Fighting and competitive games 14 15.05
Dance
Other games (movement games, ball games, jumprope, sand games)
2 2.15
20 21.51
Girls (n = 76)
Melon dance game 39 51.32
Melon rock game (a game of skill played alone) 16 21.05
Playful pursuit 3 3.94
Experimental games
Other games (mother-child games, ball games,
4 5.26
sand games, jumprope) 14 18.42
76

project. In some of her classes children were permitted to draw whatever they wished. H. Sbrzesny’s evaluations of the drawings confirmed significant sex dif­ferences regarding subjects drawn and is based on 556 drawings by boys and 610 drawings by girls. Their differential interests are reflected in their drawings. One could explain this series of differences by claiming that the children oriented their interests toward adult role models. Thus the fact that men hunt could be the reason that boys drew animals more frequently. The differential interest in technical ap­paratus, alien to the Bushman culture, can be seen from the data. No one en­couraged the girls to be less occupied with these objects; they were genuinely less interested in them. We will discuss the related significant observations on play in egalitarian-raised kibbutz children (p. 279).

Many sex typical differences are first manifested at puberty. A. Degenhardt and H.M. Trautner (1979) summarized these in tabular form, which we show here in Table 4.8.

The more social interests of girls at this period are manifested in, among other things, a desire for contact with other people and the need for security within the group. Young girls cite as their most significant problems those that are personal, interpersonal, and familial. Young boys, on the other hand, cite school and financial problems (J.P. Adams, 1964). In contrast to the socially oriented self-images of juvenile girls and young women, boys and young men are power and strength oriented (E.E. MacCoby and C.N. Jacklin, 1974). Data from American school classes show that girls form more exclusive friendships than boys. Their dyads and triads are closed units (D. Eder and M.T. Hallinan, 1978). Girls also tend to remain in isolated dyads for a longer time. Boys are less exclusive, a characteristic facilitating social interactions in such activities as competitive games. New class members are more readily accepted by the boys. This perhaps reflects what L. Tiger (1969) described as the difference between male and female group formation. Tiger feels that the male tendency to form larger groups derives from a phylo- genetically based disposition adapted to common fighting and hunting. Of course, that should not be interpreted to mean that “female bonding” does not exist. But it could be that females are more small group oriented, which would certainly not exclude girls from forming larger compatible play groups. Sociability and friendship cannot be equated.

Table 4.7. Objects of Drawings

Depicted object Boys(%) Girls (%)
Domestic and wild animals 29.8 10.2
Flowers 8 23.7
Technical apparatus (wagons, airplanes) 19.5 1.5
Huts 9.5 23.6
Man 15.4 4.9
Woman 3.5 21.8
[[“Human” (sex not identified) 5 3.7 ___________ 269

Table 4.8. Sex Typical Differences at the Time of Adolescence

Female Male
Cognitive aspects Verbal abilities
Perceptual speed
Perceptual acuity
Quantitative abilities Spatial orientation
Social aspects Conformity
Person orientation
Socially referenced interests
Self-confidence
Occupational orientation
Materially subject- oriented interests
Self-image Interaction related Assertion related

Adult males have a stronger skeletal structure, and the pectoral girdle is more developed than in females. This makes males better at throwing, using a bow, and wrestling, and thus “prepares” the male for hunting and fighting. Men’s longer

Figure 4.55. Comparison of the intel­ligence test components (endowment profiles) of persons in technical oc­cupations (commentary and terms in text). After Amthauer (1966). legs and the nature of articulation between the thigh and the hips enables men to partake in activities which require sustained strength and rapid locomotion. Women have particular difficulty running downhill. On the other hand, women enjoy a certain genetic advantage from their double X chromosome: hemophilia and color blindness occur only in males, and males are more susceptible to infectious dis­eases. Male mortality is higher than that of females. The conception ratio of male to female fetuses is 125—135:100. This ratio declines to 106:100 at birth. In addition to the higher life expectancy of female, there is a lower accident rate, which may be due to reduced risk-taking in girls. From 1962 to 1966, in the German Democratic Republic, 3905 boys had accidents as compared to 1319 girls.

Central European women are, on the average, 10 cm smaller and 10 kg lighter than men of equal age. Male musculature weighs 35 kg, while in women it only weighs about 23 kg, and the relative muscular performance in women is also re­duced, due to differential chemical composition of the muscle fibers. Women pos­sess 30-40% less muscular strength than men. This is one of the reasons for sep­arate competition of men and women in sporting events. Female basal metabolism is lower than that of the male, and there are differences in oxygen intake capability (males have a greater number of red blood corpuscles per cubic centimeter, greater lung capacity, differences in heart volume, blood composition, breathing technique, etc.). All these factors combine to enhance the physical capabilities of the male (H. Dannhauer, 1973; A. Anastasia, 1958). One can thus readily understand the role of these factors in group defense and hunting. Their more easily aroused aggression also makes men more prepared for combat.

R. Amthauer (1966) analyzed the endowment profiles of 1000 men and 1000 women, all adults with differing educational and professional backgrounds. Nine task categories were included: sentence completion (SE) -“judgment formation”; word selection (WA)~ “linguistic sensibility”; analogies (AN) -“combination abil­ity”; commonalities (GE) -“abstraction ability”; retention tasks (ME) -“retention ability”; calculating tasks (RA) -“practical quantitive thought”; number series (ZR) -“inductive thought with numbers”; figure selection (FA) -“power of imag­ination”; cube tasks (WU) -“spatial concept ability.”

Sharply defined individual functions (appearing in quotation marks) were not tested in this study. However, the general direction is clear. This analysis produced capability profiles that could be studied on the basis of individuals or groups. Thus technical craftsmen, engineers and advanced engineers, despite their different working levels, shared superior performance in the nonverbal areas RA, ZR, FA, and WU (Fig. 4.55). Combination ability (AN) performance was significantly higher than concept formation (GE). These kinds of performance profiles are more helpful for occupational counseling than the typical measurement of intelligent quotients, for individuals with equal intelligent quotients can have entirely different endow­ments.

Amthauer ascertained the mean standard values for all task groups. He also determined the arithmetic mean of this standard value and developed the mean deviation for each task group. The differences are shown in Fig. 4.56. Results of the test showed sex differences, with women superior in verbal tasks, particularly in abstraction and retention ability, while males excelled in calculating tasks, con­ceptual ability and, especially, in spatial orientation. If randomly selected female subjects are compared with an equal number of males selected only from technical occupations, the profiles are exactly bilaterally symmetrical. The profile of tech­nical male personnel was found to be opposite the trend found for randomly se­lected women (Fig. 4.57). 271


The verbal superiority of women has also been verified in numerous American studies. Females learn to speak faster, rapidly acquire and use a larger vocabulary, and write longer school essays. Speech disorders occur twice as often in boys as in girls. Interestingly, girls grades in mathematics, are not lower than boys (although boys scored higher in Amthauer’s tests). On the basis of grades, then, girls score higher in general than boys, and this is probably due to their superior verbal ability in expressing themselves.

The extensive studies of C. P. Benbow and J. Stanley (1980, 1983) also bear out significant differences in mathematical ability. Beginning at puberty, boys are significantly superior in mathematical performance. Benbow and Stanley found no environmental factors responsible for this differential ability (see also M. Wittig and A. Petersen, 1979).

The female brain is somewhat less hemispherically specialized than the male brain (J. Levy, 1972), and the corpus callosum that joins the two hemispheres is somewhat thicker in females. This corresponds with the fact that women are su­perior to men in integrating verbal and nonverbal information and that language loss after traumatic damage of the left hemisphere in women is easier to cure by therapy than comparable traumatic injuries in men. Whereas, in women, language is more a means of social communication, in men it is perhaps more a means of analytical thought.

Male and female language differs correspondingly in syntactic structure. Italian women for instance, utilize a great many terms of doubt, make fewer expressive statements, and use indirect speech a great deal. Many of their sentences are not completed. "Women use a series of non-verbal means of communication which fit in with what we defined as ‘natural rhetoric’ of their linguistic behavior; we could say that women use pathos, persuasion appealing to the emotions, where men use logos, persuasion based on logical argumentation” (G. Attili and L. Be- nigni, 1979). J. Durden Smith and D. Desimone (1983, p. 59) state that women have been selected for improved communication ability: “Women are commu­nicators and men are takers of action.” Women had greater social sensitivity as peacemakers, welfare workers, and social mediators, whereas the male could be portrayed as the lone hunter and, due to stronger lateralization, had less verbal access to his emotions.

This is, of course, a somewhat rough generalization. It may well be that men communicate in other ways. They maintain intergroup relations and the complex contract songs of the Yanomami, which establish alliances, or their argumentative conversation. Male courtship finds manifold expression in poetry and song.

The more unified organization of the female brain makes it less susceptible to malfunction. The superior spatial orientation with its corresponding right hemi­sphere specialization of the male probably developed in conjunction with hunting and defense, which requires precise estimates of direction and distance.

If right-handed boys and girls are given the task of identifying objects with their hand without any visual aids, girls can identify equally well with both hands but boys have left hand superiority. This suggests that spatial and visual information is processed in the right hemisphere (S. Wittelson, 1978).

Women are more sensitive to touch and have superior fine motor control (D. McGuinness, 1981; D. McGuinness and K. H. Pribram, 1979). The above re­searchers also found differences in the means of information intake and problem solving. Men are more bound to rules and less sensitive to environmental dis­tractions. They are more single-minded and have a superior ability to concentrate 272 upon and maintain a task.

Deviation from mean

-------------- +0,2 +0.7 -0.5 +1.7 +3.8 -2.7 -0.4 -1.2 -2.0 2 N = 1003

------------------ 0.6 -0.1 +0.3 -0.6 +0.1 +0.2 ±0.0 +0.6 +0.2 (3 N = 1001

Figure 4.56. Sex differences in intelligence structure from two randomly selected (alphabetically) groups. After R. Amthauer (1966).

Distinct sex differences exist in susceptibility to specific types of behavioral disturbances. Autism, hyperactivity, dyslexia, and stuttering occur more frequently in males than females. Men are also more inclined to commit violent crime. Depression and hysteria are more prevalent among women.

Other distinct differences occur in body postures. Men stand with their legs further apart, spread them when they sit and also tend to spread their arms and to spread their bodies in other ways. Thus they subconsciously occupy more space, a posturing that suggests dominance. Women occupy less space: they neither stand with legs spread, sit with their thighs opened, nor do they spread their arms while sitting. Thus their bearing conveys less dominance (G. H. Hewes, 1957; M. Wex, 1979; E. Goffman, 1976; N. M. Henley, 1977). We regard the thrusting forward of the thigh while standing as specifically feminine, a trait that occurs in many cultures. Many body postures are developed through training, for girls are ad­monished not to spread their legs and not to loll about indecorously. Older women are frequently more unconstrained and often sit in a masculine manner, which

Deviation from mean in standard value

Figure 4.57. Sex differences in intelligence structure from randomly selected females (alpha­betically only), and males in technical occupations (selected from a large file). After R. Amthauer (1966).

may be due in part to a hormonal masculinization related to the onset of meno­pause.

According to Marianne Wex (1979), men display more “possessive” behavior than women, more frequently placing the arm over a female partner’s shoulder or about the hips. Chimpanzees behave in the same way. The interpretation of this behavior as “possessive” or “possession taking” strikes an emotional chord that is negative and problematic, since one could also interpret the behavior as a “caregiving” gesture. Both are actually correct. Mothers and fathers protectively embrace their children, and they develop attachments, which they jealously defend like possessions. We even say that we have “captured” someone’s affections. This does not mean that the relationship is one-sided for the relationship between two individuals is reciprocal—they “possess” each other, so to speak.

A study of 1296 photographs from school and university yearbooks showed that women smiled more frequently and vigorously, than men, often holding the head slightly to the side (J. M. Ragan, 1982). Thus women express subordination through head posture more than men, while men display dominance. Differences in carrying objects, based on anatomical distinctions, have also been verified. Women support books on their hips, while men simply hold them against their body (J. Scheman, J. S. Lockard, and B. S. Mehler, 1977).

The differences discussed up to this point concern sex-typical behavior. The differentiated reproductive behavior patterns are sex-specific, although to a lesser degree in courtship. Both sexes, as stated earlier, possess a similar repertoire of affectionate behavior patterns. The extent to which it is sex typically different remains to be investigated. Copulatory behavior includes a number of sex-specific acts. This is true for the erection and thrusting of the male as well as his orgasm. Female sex-specific behavior includes the contraction of the pelvic musculature, glandular activity facilitating lubrication, and the specific form of the female or­gasm.

There are indications that humans respond to sex-specific sexual stimuli. Women perceive musk odors at lower concentrations than men, whereas men can only perceive them in high concentrations. The female olfactory threshold also varies with the menstrual period, which is reduced during ovulation. Estrogen injections influence the olfactory threshold (P. R. Good et al., 1976; J. LeMagnen, 1952; R. L. Doty, 1976). Recently, a substance (androstenol) was isolated from human male axillary perspiration that smells like musk. This substance is also produced by the male wild pig causing arousal in the female pig (D. R. Melrose et al., 1971; R. L. S. Patterson, 1968; E. B. Keverne, 1978; R. Claus and W. Alsing, 1976). This would indicate that this phenomenon is an older phylogenetic adaptation.

R. P. Michael et al. (1975) found substances in human vaginal secretions called copulines that were already known from rhesus monkeys. In the monkey they have a sexually arousing effect on males. The quantities of copulines produced by women varies cyclically except in women using birth control pills, where co­pulines are found only in trace amounts.

Obviously, men and women react visually to different releasing stimuli. How to elicit these reactions and to present them in a stylized manner is learned. More information has been found on the key stimuli to which men respond. It is oc­casionally stated that women react less readily to visual stimuli then men, although contradictory opinions exist in this regard. Certainly there are differences in the tactile qualities of the erogenous zones. The nipple region in females is easily aroused, while in men this zone has less erogenous function.

If children are shown pictures of small childrens’ faces and those of adults, they will prefer the adult faces. But a change in preference occurs in girls at 12 to 14 years of age, for at this time they prefer baby pictures. This preference change may be hormonally induced. Boys display the same trend 2 years later (W. Fullard and A. M. Rieling, 1976). K. H. Skrzipek (1978) found a similar pref­erence change at the onset of puberty with male and female body silhouettes. Before puberty the same sex was preferred, while thereafter the opposite sex was chosen (p. 256).

J. E. Williams and D. L. Best (1982) investigated the sex stereotypes by asking respondents in 25 countries which of 300 adjectives they attributed as masculine or feminine. They found high cross-cultural agreement. The items adventurous, dominant, forceful, independent, masculine, and strong were found to be male- associated in all countries. Sentimental, submissive, and superstitious were female- associated in all countries, whereas affectionate, dreamy feminine, and sensitive were female-associated in all but one.

We can maintain that sex differences occur not only in morphology and phys­iology but also in human behavior. These consist primarily of differences in the degree to which these characteristics occur in both sexes (sex-typical behavior). Sex-specific patterns have also been verified.

If the same sex-typical behavior patterns, as discussed above, are compared with those of Old-World monkeys, one notes many points in common which sug­gests a common phylogenetic basis (B. A. Hamburg, 1974; C. Vogel, 1977).

The question of how behavioral differences between men and women arose has been the subject of countless discussions. In extreme cases the psychological differences between men and women are ascribed exclusively to learning processes. Although biologists have always pointed to the significance of phylogenetic heritage in sex role differences, no biologist has gone so far to maintain that differences are entirely innate. It is, in general, presumed that learning processes play a decisive role.

Of the learning theories, the first cited here is the reinforcement theory of sex role development. According to this theory, culturally expected behavior is re­warded and fostered by the social environment, while behavior that does not cor­respond to the norm is considered to be inappropriate and elicits punishment. In our western culture there are indications that play behavior is differentially rein­forced by praise and censure (S. Goldberg and M. Lewis, 1969; B. I. Fagot, 1978). Sex role differentiation is certainly influenced by the way the parents interact with their children. Mothers vocalize more with their daughters (H. Keller, 1979), and fathers play with boys more than with girls (M. A. Tauber, 1979). Generally the parents respond positively when their children behave in their traditional roles (B. I. Fagot 1978). Thus parents expect their boys to achieve, compete with others, and to develop independence and self-control. For example, in our culture crying is considered unmanly. Boys are also punished more, while behavior toward girls tends to be protective and affectionate (I. H. Block, 1976). But that is in part a reaction to differential child behavior; for example, girls call for parental help three times as frequently as boys, and their calls are more frequently answered.

The fact that boys are scolded and punished more often by their fathers as early as 12 months old is due to their tendency to be more daring in play and thus do something “forbidden,” including activities that endanger themselves. Fathers rarely offer dolls to their 12-month-old sons, but not because of the children’s differential responses, since at this age girls do not prefer dolls (M. E. Snow et al., 1983). Thus parents respond differentially to babies, depending on whether the child is male or female, and this is in all likelihood partially a response to their 275

Table 4.9. Sex-Typical Behavior Patterns of Catarrhine Nonhuman Primates'

Male Female

Sexual behavior

More mounting, less presenting

Fear suppresses sexual behavior

Juvenile upbringing

Reduced inclination to care for young (with all essential care components)

Aggressivity

More violent aggression

More juvenile fighting games

More defense (also territorial)

More drive and initiative

More direct social intervention

More display behavior

More exploration

Higher “arousal” tolerance

Social behavior and socialization

Create slowly developing close ties among each other

Less social contact and care behavior (social “grooming”)

Greater social distance

Develops tendency for social peri- pheralization

Stronger tendency for forming social hierarchies

More display behavior

Less imitation behavior (more “indi­vidualistic”)

Less concealed and more spontaneous behavior, more “open” social strategy

Less mounting, more presenting

Fear does not suppress sexual behavior

Strong tendency to care for young (even before puberty)

Less violent aggression

Fewer juvenile fighting games

Less defense

Less drive and initiative

Less direct social intervention

Less display behavior

Less exploratory interest

Lower “arousal” tolerance

More rapidly achieve close knit social relationships among each other

More social contact and care behavior

Lesser social distance

Lacks tendency for social peripheralization

Lesser tendency for forming social hierarchies

Less display behavior

More appropriate imitation beha­vior (more “opportunistic”)

More concealed behavior, more ramified social strategy

"After Vogel, 1977.

sex-typical behavior (H. A. Moss, 1974; M. Lewis and M. Weintraub, 1974; A. F. Korner, 1974). Prevailing differences can thus be strengthened. H. M. Trautner (1979), who tested the effect of differential reinforcement on sex role differentiation using published studies from numerous authors, found that there are significant sex role expectations in our culture but that these are by no means always effective in the form of corresponding differential reinforcement. Sex-typical behavior often manifests itself even when training was precisely to the contrary. Although boys are typically brought up more strictly than girls, they develop the sex-typical male aggressions contrary to this socialization pressure (E. E. Maccoby and C. N. Jacklin, 1974). Further examples will be cited from the observations of M. E. Spiro (1979) on sex role identification in the kibbutz (p. 279).

The imitation and identification theory is another important learning theory used to explain sex role acquisition. According to the imitation theory the child imitates the same sex model, and this selective imitation of the same sex presumes that the child is initially predisposed or biased to do so, even though both small boys and girls spend most of their time with women. This selective interest in their own sex has been verified (J. E. Grusec and D. B. Brinker, 1972; R. G. Slaby and K. S. Frey, 1975). This tendency is reflected in the drawings of Bushmen children (p. 269) and in the behavior of kibbutz children (p. 282). The tendency for spontaneous selective imitation of same sex models is well documented (E. E. Maccoby and C. N. Jacklin, 1974). Innate dispositions account for the fact that girls preferentially choose mothering women as role models (M. E. Spiro, 1979). Learning is channeled in such a way that children identify with and acquire their gender-characteristic behaviors which are the cultural norm, while the more basic dispositions are determined by hormones (H. M. Trautner, 1979).

According to the identification theory, sex role development is based on an emotional attachment to the reference person and the “internalization of a broad pattern of sexually appropriate demeanor, feelings and behavioral patterns, thus one’s own sex role, would result” (H. M. Trautner, 1979, p. 66). Once again there is a problem of selective identification with the same sex parent. According to the psychoanalytical hypothesis of defensive identification, the boy identifies himself with the father as an aggressor, but this assumption has not been confirmed empirically. When one observes fathers, affection is observed more frequently than aggressive strictness (p. 224). It appears that admiration and love of the per­ceived powerful parents could lead to identification with them (P. H. Mussen and M. Rutherford, 1963; R. R. Sears et al., 1965), but this is difficult to verify ex­perimentally.

The identification and imitation concepts are not necessarily mutually exclusive. L. A. Kohlberg (1966) formulated a cognitive theory of sex role development. The developing child acquires knowledge about sex roles during upbringing by observing his environment (parents, siblings). A general concept of sex role de­velops from this experience as the capability to form judgments progresses. The development occurs in steps. At 2 to 3 years of age, the child normally acquires his own sexual identity (“I am a boy”), and 1 year later he identifies with others (“We boys”). Behavior is organized on the basis of a “need for cognitive con­sistency” (H. M. Trautner, 1979) toward conforming with one’s own sexual iden­tity. It is presumed here that behavior consistent with one’s own sex role is self­reinforcing. In other words, innate learning dispositions are postulated here.

Once a child has categorized himself as male or female, this perception is re­sistant to subsequent external influences. It was thought for sometime that social sex attribution could, to a certain degree, replace chromosomal and hormonal sex attributions. An often cited example concerns a male child who lost his penis at 7 months of age during an attempted circumcision. His parents subsequently raised him like a female and he accepted this identity. Operative corrections (castration) were conducted at the age of I[1]/?, and in a subsequent report (J. Money and A. Ehrhardt, 1972), the experiment was described as successful and quoted as a model example of demonstrating the significance of environmental factors in sex iden­tification. But this conclusion was premature, for in spite of subsequent treatment with estrogens and other surgical procedures (plastic vagina), the experiment did not succeed. This person, who had behaved as a child like an androgenized female, had great difficulties identifying with the assigned sex role (J. Durden-Smith and D. Desimone, 1983).

Social sex assignment has its limitations. An illuminating case in this regard 277 concerns a mutative defect that occurs in males in three villages in the Dominican Republic. This defect causes a deficiency of the particular enzyme that inhibits the transformation of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone in males. Dihydrotes­tosterone must be present within the fetal tissues of the future gonads to ensure the development of masculine anatomy at the time of birth. Thus, these babies with the genetic make-up of a male come into the world as females. However, at puberty, the clitoris grows into a penis, the testicles migrate into the scrotum, and behavior is masculinized even though these children had been treated as girls throughout their early childhood (since no one knew they were boys). They display distinct masculine sexual interests, seek contact with girls, and can have sexual unions with them. They are sterile since ejaculation occurs through a hole at the base of the penis. Their sexual drive is pronounced. This masculinization is derived from testosterone released by the gonads (dihydrotestosterone is only responsible for developing male characteristics up until the time of birth, while testosterone is effective upon reaching puberty) (J. Imperato-McGinley et al., 1979; R. T. Rubin et al., 1981). In these cases it is clear that the social environment has less influence in sex role determination than was generally assumed.

If we follow the elemental differentiating processes of normal development, we can determine that these are initially under genetic guidance. The sex chromosome mechanism determines whether the gonads will develop into male or female struc­tures. If the zygote has two X chromosomes, female gonads develop; if it has one Y chromosome the gonads will differentiate into male structures. Subsequent de­velopment is under hormonal guidance. Under the influence of the androgens produced by the male gonads the initially bisexual organ rudiments develop in a masculine direction. The genital folds coalesce into a scrotum, the penis grows outward, and the gonads descend through the inguinal apertures. In addition, the central nervous system becomes masculinized. If there is no androgen influence, the person develops female characteristics. For example hypothalamic centers guiding the course of the female cyclical sex functions develop. Short-term an­drogen influence during a sensitive embryonic period will block this development. Androgens can also masculinize genetically female embryos in other ways. Massive androgen influence can substantially alter the appearance of genetic females: the labia majorae coalesce into a scrotum, the clitoris develops into a penis, and body hair patterns take on a masculine character. Smaller androgen doses produce only a masculinization of behavior, so that genetic and phenotypic girls tend to engage more in athletic activities. They enjoy forming play groups with boys, compete with them for rank position, enjoy roughhousing, and later have a more developed urge to maintain a career. They use less makeup and have diminished interest in doll games and maternal-care behavior.

As a result of extreme fetal androgenization genetic females can be born with a penis. Their further gender identity depends on further surgical and hormonal treatment and the social sex assignment. If the patient is to live as a female, cli- doridectomy, vaginal exteriorization, and cortisone replacement therapy is re­quired. When the patient is to live as a male, the female internal sex organs must be removed and cortisone and testosterone replacement therapy must be provided. J. Money and J. Dalery (1976) reported on a number of cases of extreme andro­genization. Of the seven cases, four were raised as females and took on a female gender identity with “tomboy-type” behavior. The other three were reared as males and took on a male gender identity. They were interested in woman as sexual partners and able to engage in sexual intercourse, which ended in ejaculation 278 of a small amount of liquid, probably of prostatic origin. Genetically and gonadally these “males” were females, but androgenized to such an extent that they per­ceived and functioned as males.

For a long time social scientists attributed all sex differences in human behavior as due to training and sociocultural expectation. The investigations of the last decades made it evident that androgens are a major causative factor. For a review see L. Ellis (1986) and L. Ellis and M. A. Ames (1987).

In addition to these findings, which make clear that the psychological differences between the sexes are by no means only culturally determined, there are the most interesting results of the studies by L. Tiger and J. Shepher (1975) and E. M. Spiro’s (1979) work on sex role differentiation on the kibbutz.

The kibbutz is a major social experiment in which, among other things, an attempt is being made to realize the utopian feminism of early socialism. But after one generation this feminist revolution terminated in a feminine counterrevolution with a return of the values of the traditional female gender role, apparently a victory of biology over ideology. What actually happened?

The kibbutz movement pursues the following principle objectives: it is radically egalitarian, both socially and economically. Each member of the community is a worker, and capital and land are under common ownership. The form of govern­ment is absolutely democratic so no one has any authority over another. Even children are communally raised so they are liberated from parental dominance. This, in turn, frees women from traditional ties to maternal duties and the house­hold. This emancipation of women is one of the objectives of the kibbutz move­ment. It is presumed that it is indeed a biological imperative for women to bear children but that there is no corresponding social imperative for them to act as mothers and raise the children, so it is desirable to deindividualize such ties using communal upbringing. Equality of the sexes is conceived as an effective psychic equality in terms of identity. Women in the traditional Kibbutz labored to live up to this ideal. They dressed like men to eradicate the sexual dimorphism considered to be a sign of their inferiority. They believed that femininity had to be suppressed to achieve equality. Lacking makeup and wearing baggy pants, they mounted the tractors and worked overtime to match the higher physical capabilities of men, attempting to exceed male performance whenever possible.

The founders of the kibbutz movement also had as a goal to replace interpersonal ties with attachments to society, and any withdrawal into individualism was con­sidered to be a moral defect. Thus the emotions of love, affection, and cooperation, which would normally be exercised within the family, should be diverted to the collective group, which would serve as the future family, with the nuclear family being dissolved during the course of achieving this new relationship. Marital part­nerships were tolerated, and couples had their own living areas, but all celebration of marriage was avoided and everything else that could emphasize the marital relationship was minimized. Divorce was a relatively simple transaction and was not associated with any stigma, in fact the individualization of the sexual bond was perceived as dangerous for group identification. Shortly after birth, children were placed in infant homes and arranged in age categories for collective social­ization in order to liberate them from parental authority. They were overseen by specialized child attendants. Mothers visited with the children during appointed playtimes and, initially, to nurse them as well. This occurred communally whenever possible, and an attempt was made to designate the children as “children of the community” so mothers would not address their offspring as “my child.” During nursing each mother attempted to give her child as much milk as the other babies received. If a mother had more milk and her infant had already consumed the 279 allotted milk portion (the babies were weighed during feedings), she nursed another child who had received less milk from his mother in an effort to maintain the goal of equality.

The family did not function as a residence unit. The care of the children by specialists freed women for work, making them economically and socially inde­pendent of men, and women retained their maiden name to reinforce this inde­pendence. Public show of affection between spouses was despised. Kibbutz mem­bers ate in communal mess halls, cooked in a communal kitchen, and had a communal laundry.

M. E. Spiro (1979) investigated the kibbutz Kiryat Yedidim (founded in 1920) on two visits (1950 and 1975). At the time of its founding this kibbutz pursued the objective of radical egalitarianism and collectivization. In 1920, 50% of the women were occupied in productive labor. By 1950, 30 years after its founding, only 12% of women were so occupied, the remainder specializing in child care and service professions. By 1975 the percentage of “productively” active women decreased even further. Spiro found very similar results in another kibbutz, Artzi, which was also a highly traditional one. At the time of his study, only 9% of the women were active in agricultural work, and if women employed in industry were included the total of all productively occupied women was only 12%. Artzi men accounted for 87% of the farm workers, 77% of the industrial workers, and 99% of the con­struction workers. Women, on the other hand, comprised 84% of all the educational and service personnel.

The majority of women born on the kibbutz were not prepared to assume their ideological roles. M. E. Spiro (1979, p. 18) summarized the prevailing attitude when he quoted a sabra (native-born Israeli): “I think that a woman should do the work for which she is suited; not on tractors or in the fields. Women, by nature, cannot be active in agricultural production, particularly if their family life is to be integrated. Of course, some do it, and they do it in Russia. Still, I think it’s not natural.”

Women often suffered miscarriages during the first phases of intensive physical work as a consequence of their overexertion. Spiro (1979) comments:

Today this obsessive concern to prove their worth as women, by demonstrating that they are as good as any man in the things that men do—is dead. For the older sabras, it has become a historical memory; for the younger ones it is merely another of those “quaint” ideas that the pioneering generation had dreamed up. This change is especially important relative to the theoretical argument of this book because the sabras’ disinterest in agricultural labor persists despite the fact that, as “productive” labor, it is the most prestigeful. Although this would be the avenue to social equality in its “identity” meaning, they are nevertheless not interested in pursuing it. (p. 20)

Women also participate less in administration and thus in political life, for over the long term these areas have not been attractive to them. L. Tiger and J. Shepher (1975) found that men comprised 84% of the public administrators. They occupied up to 71% of the leading positions of the federation and 78% of the political activists.

Of particular significance is the change in the value of family and marriage. When formerly the marital bond was tolerated as an inevitable discomfort and every individual attachment was thought to endanger the collective, they are now evaluated positively. Marriages are celebrated, with the blessings of the com­munity. Bachelors are perceived less positively, and divorce, although permitted, has a more negative value.

Women, including those of the pioneer generation and sabras, now value family more than labor. Of the pioneer generation, 68% of the women consider their role as spouse and mother more important than their role as laborers, and 88% of the sabras share this attitude. In men, the percentage was much lower (pioneer gen­eration 32%, kibbutz-born 27%), which does not mean that men who esteem their work do not experience strong family ties.

Again a quote from Spiro (1979) describes the change in attitude. A highly talented 32-year-old woman working as a bookkeeper was asked whether family or work was more important, and she replied: [44]What a question! The family is to me more important than anything. Look, my work is extremely important to me. I like my work, but I wouldn’t invest one-fourth the thought into my work that I invest in my family, under any circumstances” (p. 31).

The attitude toward children has also changed. From the very beginning, the interest in relinquishing children to the collective was not very strong, but kibbutz members felt they had to yield to this condition. Today although mothers prefer having their children with them, such a change would require a great deal of re­construction of the facilities, for which funds are lacking. Children are still kept in communal sleeping quarters, but during the first 6 weeks they regularly stay with their mothers, overnight as well, and often for as long as 8 months. Parents visit with their children for longer periods, and children now visit with their parents for 4 or 5 hours without incurring community disapproval. The traditional female roles are acquiring a higher esteem, and radical feminism is being superceded by a femininity movement. Women place a value on feminine appearance, becoming fashion conscious. They enjoy cooking, baking, and embroidery. They recognize sex differences and do not wish to suppress them but to accept them naturally. Equality is viewed as equal esteem and is accepted within the context of role differentiation. This kind of equality has been largely achieved. Inequality still prevails in the assessment of labor in that more is invested technically in male labor than in womens’ household work. This turnabout regarding family is all the more astonishing since it is not a refutation by a generation raised in the traditional manner but repudiation by those women born on the kibbutz and raised in an extremely feminist milieu who instituted the counterrevolution of femininity.

M. E. Spiro discusses these events and comes to the conclusion that “pre- cultural” determinants were a factor here. Nature, he states, prevailed against the educational practices on the kibbutz. Most kibbutz objectives have been at­tained successfully, with the exception of the attempted dissolution of the family by extreme feminists and the elimination of sex-typical division of labor. Thus, to that extent, the kibbutz experiment reflects the boundaries of human ideological manipulation.

It was the women, finding it burdensome to leave their protesting children alone each night, who finally claimed that they experienced more satisfaction bearing and bringing up children than working in the field or in industry. It is noteworthy that Spiro espouses the thesis that there is a precultural basis for sex-typical be­havior differences, since initially he assumed there was no such thing as human nature. In his introduction to his book, he states “The roots of this enquiry go back to 1951, when, accepting as axiomatic the widely held social sciences view that human beings have no nature—or, to put it differently, that human nature is culturally constituted and, therefore, culturally relative” (M. E. Spiro, 1979, p. xv).

Spiro’s findings are directly opposed to his original expectations and thus are especially significant evidence. He solidified his evidence of precultural deter­minants by studying childrens’ games on the kibbutz. He used his 1951 data as a 281 basis, when children were brought up according to strict egalitarianism. Boys and girls were treated equally in all groups, and the learning experiences for both sexes were equal. One would then expect that no differences should exist during open play if there were no innate dispositions for sex differences, but these ex­pectations were not fulfilled. The analysis of free play activities revealed distinct sex differences. For example, boys played with objects more than girls did (41 vs. 30%), particularly large objects requiring substantial physical strength (17 vs. 9%). If these 17% are added to the 16% of movement games and are categorized in a single class of muscular-physical activities, then play in this category is used by 33% of the boys vs. 21% of the girls. Girls predominated in the categories of verbal and fantasy games (39 vs. 24%). Spiro could not explain these differences in terms of cognitive theory or those of social learning. A study of the fantasy games of the girls revealed that when the girls acted out womens’ roles they pre­ferred maternal ones exclusively, and not, of course, as a result of any social reinforcement since none existed. Clearly, the girls did not desire to identify gen­erally with the women around them, since they were occupied in many other roles, such as labor. Therefore one must assume that some need for maternal behavior was manifested in the girls’ behavior. M. E. Spiro (1979) summarizes:

On the assumption that sex preferences in childrens’ choice of role models are motivated by differences in precultural needs (whether in degree or in kind), it follows that boys and girls, respectively, should prefer those models whose behavior is viewed as a means for gratifying those needs. By this theory, parenting women may be said to have been the preferred role models of sabra girls because the imitation of their maternal roles served to gratify the girl’s own parenting need . . .Now, cognitive theory holds . . . that the choice of role models is motivated by one and the same precultural need. Having established their distinctive gender identities, it is the innate need to value things that are like the self which, according to this theory, motivates children to choose models of their own gender. That in the present case the establishment of a feminine identity was a prior condition for the preference of sabra girls for female models is highly likely—after all, their preferred models were female, not male. But that, of all the female models available to them, the girls chose parenting females exclusively, suggests that this preference was motivated not by a need to value that which the self is likely—femininity—but by a need to value that which the self wishes to be like—a parent . . .

Contrary, then, to cultural interpretations, this analysis suggests that sex differences in childrens’ choices of role models can be determined by precultural needs, and that a preference even for culturally appropriate models need not be culturally determined.” (pp. 85-86)

Of course, this does not mean that culture is simply explained away as an epi­phenomenon. The girls perceived a whole series of culture-specific behavioral patterns of child care in adult models.

Interestingly, the boys often identified in their symbolic games with animals, such as, horses, dogs, snakes, frogs, and wolves, and not with those surrounding them, like cows, lambs, sheep or chickens. Spiro states that this occurs because these animals are potentially dangerous or wild. At 5 years of age these symbols are gradually replaced by male models.

Other researchers have also confirmed an increasing familialization within the kibbutz (B. Beit-Hallahmi, 1981; S. and H. Parker, 1981). These changes did not occur solely because of the womens’ desires but due to the needs of both sexes.

Another reason for the retreat of women from the labor force on the kibbutz is that their work is more routine and is thus perceived as less creative and chal- 282 lenging. Besides, the reality of kibbutz life, even in the founding days, was still far from its ideal of sexual egalitarianism (B. Beit-Hallahmi and A. I. Rabin, 1977). All this led, no doubt, to a return to traditional patterns but still does not explain why the children played in sex-typical manner nor the radical change against the prevailing ideology.

The results of the investigations by M. E. Spiro (1979) and L. Tiger and J. Shepher (1975) on kibbutz sex roles complement perfectly the results of devel­opmental psychology, ethology, and anthropology cited previously. R. P. Rohner (1976) found that in the 101 cultures he investigated, boys aged 2 to 6 years were significantly more aggressive both physically and verbally, than the girls. Obser­vations on the kibbutz children bore similar results. Undoubtedly, such differences are biologically based.

Even if there were only minor differences in behavior of the sexes, differential dispositions or body strength would result in a division of labor that would further reinforce these distinctions. Indeed, such an increasing polarization is occurring. Behavioral differences between partners with children are greater than those be­tween childless partners, and their differences are likewise greater than those be­tween single men and women (G. Allemann-Tschopp, 1979). In general such dif­ferences are not insignificant, and in certain areas they are substantial and well differentiated.

The fact that cultures, as Margaret Mead and others have stated, can socialize their members contrary to innate dispositions does not contradict this evidence. Even Margaret Mead (1935, 1949), who described the femininization of Arapesh men and masculinization of Mundugumur women and found a role reversal in the Tchambuli regarding dominance, dependence, care behavior, and aggression, stated that those who were socialized against their natural roles were under stress.

We have already discussed Mead’s contention that our society offers the male insufficient roles compatible with is nature. A number of members of the feminist movement belittle women by denigrating their traditional roles as mothers, which can be thoroughly fulfilling. Since they frequently refer to Mead, they should also aware of Mead’s comments in 1949 (1968 ed., pp. 168-169):

The recurrent problem of civilization is to define the male role satisfactory enough ... so that the male may in the course of his life reach a solid sense of irreversible achievement, of which his childhood knowledge of the satisfactions of childbearing have given him a glimpse. In the case of women, it is only necessary that they be permitted by the given social arrangements to fulfill their biological role, to attain this sense of irreversible achievement. If women are to be restless and questing, even in the face of child-bearing, they must be made so through education. If men are ever to be at peace, ever certain that their lives have been lived as they were meant to be, they must have, in addition to paternity, culturally elaborated forms of expression that are lasting and sure. . . .

She further encourages women to seek political and economic equality as women and not as persons.

In a commentary on the 1965 report by the presidential commission on the status of women, she writes the following on the feminist movement: "But the pendulum must not swing too far, forcing out of the home women whose major creative life is grounded in motherhood and wifehood.” Further: “It is known that in societies in which maternal principles are honored, there is greater peace and balance” (quoted by P. R. Sanday, 1980, p. 347).

Simone de Beauvoir (1968) states that the woman is bound to maternity and body like an animal is and thus dependent on a male like a parasite extracting life 283 from another organism. A profession is thus the key to emancipation and through such activities a woman can liberate herself. Marriage ought to consist of a free union terminable at any time, and abortion and birth control should be permitted. Alice Schwarzer (1976) also considers motherhood to be a form of true slavery and states that modern woman should beware of the "trap” of motherhood and marriage. Shulamith Firestone (1970) states that until the discovery of birth control women were dominated by their biological contingencies (menstruation, meno­pause, birth, nursing, child care). Above all, raising children resulted in a long­term mutual dependency. This natural difference in reproductive functions led to a sex-based division of labor and thus to discrimination based upon biological characteristics. Thus the source of evil should be attacked at its roots. Biological reproduction should be replaced by artificial means (test tube babies) in order that biological sex distinctions no longer determine sex distinctions in social roles. She considers pregnancy to be barbaric, and birth as painful. And the children? Well, the bond within a small group would render the close mother-child attach­ment superfluous.

The attempt of the kibbutz movement to realize utopian feminism of early so­cialism, whose goals were closely aligned with those of the cited proponents of the women’s movement, failed because of the biologically determined sex differ­ential dispositions. It was the women who increasingly brought their children back from the communal room to the family and who, by choice, retreated continually from land and factory work and from politics and administration. Out of their own free choice and contrary to ideological indoctrination the women of the fem­inist revolution instituted a feminine counterrevolution. In this regard the large- scale kibbutz experiment has shed light on understanding human behavior. The need of the mother for an individualized bond to her child, distinguished from other attachments, was sustained, reinforced no doubt by the protests of the child against the prolonged absence of the mother, especially at the evening farewell. The child’s monotropy played as major a role in this process as the mother’s need to care for a child. Before we blindly contest the traditional division of labor of the sexes, we should investigate whether it is not to some extent reasonable, on the one hand, serving the child’s welfare and, on the other, corresponding to the constitutional characteristics of men and women.

In a phylogenetic perspective, these differences are quite ancient. W. LaBarre states in his introduction to Spiro’s work that one can refer to a trimorphism within the human nuclear family. Childhood, and specialized maleness and fe­maleness form together a functional unit. Intensive affection and care over an extended period of time for the child by the mother is required to pass on the cultural knowledge required for survival. The woman was capable of performing this tedious but also differentiated and diverse task because she was protected from wild animals and other dangers and was also provided with her needs, and with materials which could only be obtained some distance away from the dwelling. As LaBarre states, the woman is removed from the need of caring for herself like a wild animal by the male. There are numerous criteria of anatomy and physiology (p. 270) that make the male more suitable as hunter and defender of the family. Men can remove themselves more easily from the home site than women. Julia A. Sherman (1978, p. 174) writes, women in reproductive phases were a danger to themselves, their offspring, and even the group. The smell of blood attracts wild animals. One can imagine how welcome a menstruating women would be in a hunting party. Most of the victims of unprovoked bear attacks in the Yellowstone Park in recent years have been menstruating women. There have been good reasons, then, for the development of male and female cultures as they are, but they are clearly no longer maximally functional.

The reservation in Sherman’s remark is appropriate. The extent to which tra­ditional role differentiation is adaptive in industrial society must be investigated. But an uncritical total rejection of the traditional female role is certainly unrea­sonable. In many respects the woman in the traditional role optimally fulfills her sex-typical tasks even today. The egalitarian movements should place more em­phasis on equalizing esteem for typical female activities. In many ways women’s culture is richer and seems to me to be superior to man’s lot. Consider, for example, achievements in domestic handicrafts. I also doubt that standard occupational work makes more demands on the spirit, imagination, and temperament than raising several children of different ages, when this is done with genuine engagement. The possibility of a working woman should be considered an alternative but cer­tainly not the only worthy role directed at the socialization of girls for feminine roles.

Thus Ramona Frasher et al. (1980) oppose the typifying of sex roles through sex-specific toys, and K. and R. Dunn (1977) write:

If you cannot resist (buying a doll carriage), then do it, but recognize that you are contributing to the stereotypical image of each girl becoming a “mommy,” rather than an independent professional woman who may also be a mother. . . . Try to control your inclination to surround her with the traditional restrictive items that suggest do­mesticity as her central life ... (If someone gives your daughter a doll and she likes it) permit her to keep it without exhibiting any negative feelings, but do not lapse into cuddling it or encouraging her to do so. Treat it as another object and direct attention to other more beneficial toys (pp. 46-48, quoted by Brian Sutton-Smith).

In other words, one should avoid raising children on the basis of their biological sex roles. I doubt that this is humane counsel. What is so bad about maternal behavior that it should not be a model? The goal of our education should not be to make a person feel insecure or bad if they choose to live according to their traditional gender roles. Certainly, traditional girls’ games do not prepare them for career life in the same way as boys’ games (B. Sutton-Smith, 1979). Girls are, for example, less competitive. But during the last century girls have greatly broad­ened their play repertoire. In addition to traditional games, girls now enjoy tennis, ice skating, baseball, and swimming. The question is whether they should imitate all boys’ games! “Now that things are beginning to change, we really must ask most seriously . . . whether we want to turn girls into footballers and boxers for the sake of their future in the economic, military and political worlds, or whether there may not be some other alternative” (B. Sutton-Smith, 1979, p. 251).

The dissatisfaction of many modern women must be appreciated. It is, among other factors, founded in the strain (or the humdrum routine) of family tasks and their economic dependence. But that is not the fault of the few men who lead an interesting career life.

The reduction of the family to the nuclear members has probably contributed to the discontent of modern women. Gone are the relatives, aunts, grandparents, and caring neighbors and their older children, who in earlier times (and in rural areas today still) would provide essential relief by attending to smaller children and providing emotional outlets for stimulation and conversation. Contacts with same sex members of the same age bracket are also lacking. In traditional societies, men and women spend many hours of the day with members of the same sex, 285 with obvious enjoyment. Communication is more problem free in such gatherings; I have been impressed with the affability with such groups, with a great deal of joking and laughter. One also gets the impression that within such women’s groups the burdens of child rearing are reduced to a level far below that which we observe in technologically civilized society. Such positive conditions still exist in rural Europe. It is in modern society that marriage partners are so limited to each other. This affords the opportunity for deepening relationships but can also lead to dif­ficulties in the form of strain, habituation, or irritation since the spouse cannot fulfill all the social needs of his partner.

The dissatisfaction of modern women is also caused by the denigration of the traditional woman’s role, in contrast to gainful occupations. In all tribal societies women have as great or greater economic role than men. It is only with the de­velopment of western industrial societies that the man supports the woman eco­nomically. Even in the western peasant or farming societies women play a major economic role that is compatible with child rearing. If modem professional activities do not allow for child rearing and since a sexual division of labor is inevitable for survival, child rearing must be become an acceptable salaried profession. In this way women would be liberated from economic dependence on males. But placing all women into the work force is not the solution. Women need the freedom to select between alternatives, and that necessitates elevating the esteem for tradi­tional female roles and motherhood, for children need mothers who have time for them.

The new competition between men and women has created problems for which we seem to be poorly equipped biologically to handle. Women appear to be in­hibited in various competitive situations with men. For example, the studies of G. E. Weisfeld et al. (1980) and C. L. Cronin (1980), showed that young girls playing ball with boys were less competitively motivated than when playing among themselves and that they achieved less than their potential (see also S. W. Morgan and B. Mausner, 1973; A. Peplau, 1976; C. C. Weisfeld et al., 1983). Even highly ranking women generally hesitate to dominate their husbands and instead tend to submit to their wishes (E. I. Megargee, 1969). During courtship, women behave toward their suitor as if they needed direction and leadership and often even pretend naivety. This is probably a feminine strategy in recognition of the fact that marital sexual life and partnership would be disturbed by a subdominant male (W. H. Masters and V. E. Johnson, 1970, J. Scanzoni, 1972) and is related to the old infantile appeals for care.

Agnes Heller’s (1980, p. 217) remarks are noteworthy in this regard:

Whenever men do make efforts not to feel and behave in the old "masculine” way and whenever women expect them to change their emotional habits, this happens only within the framework of the family pr occasionally in man-woman relationships in general. But no attempt at change is made and no expectations for such a change are developed on the level of sociopolitical activity. Here the traditional male stereotype prevails unchallenged. Wives may require their husbands to be emotional, nonau­thoritarian, playful in the family, but they want them to be authoritarian, strong, tough, competitive and earnest in all other areas of social life. They could not even love a man behaving differently that is in an “unmanly” way. . . .

She claims, however, that this is based on cultural traditions which one must overcome over time in favor of an emotional diversity based not on sex but on individuality.

Sarah Blaffer-Hrdy (1981) writes that the broadly held view is completely false that women are not motivated to compete because of their biology, that they are sexually passive, and only interested in child rearing. That is indeed correct. But women originally competed primarily with other women, just as men originally competed with males. As Blaffer-Hrdy correctly notes, they also use men to their advantage, but less in a competitive situation. One female strategy is to submit and in this way effect leadership. It is incorrect to interpret this behavior as pas­sivity and submissive behavior. In fact, this strategy requires much more sensitivity than strategies of so-called male dominance. Furthermore, the woman understands how to put the man into a sexually dependent position, and that is a form of dominance that is specifically female.

The denial of sex differences in dominance behavior will never help to change the situation. It is better to recognize and deal with it. Thus, publications like those of Elanor Burke Leacock (1981) have made significant contributions, not because they have demonstrated that male dominance is a myth, as if males lacked a biological basis for dominance, but rather because they show that there are societies in which dominance apparently plays a smaller role. It confirms that human behavior is malleable and can be modified even contrary to hereditary traits. Leacock’s thoughts on the egalitarianism of tribal societies must be inter­preted with caution, however, for her data were quite selectively evaluated (E. B. Leacock, 1978 and discussion). We will return to the theme of dominance and rank later (p. 297).

S. and H. Parker (1981, p. 771) add in this connection that womens’ liberation has little to do with what an individual woman chooses:

Ultimately, liberation has little to do with whether a woman chooses to become a professional or a housewife and mother, or both; she can be liberated or traditional in either of these roles. The term liberation . . . can be considered in both psychological and social-structural contexts. In the former, it may be thought of as an attempt to change one’s identity—to differentiate oneself, to establish and define one’s own boundaries of self—with a concomitant consciousness of new needs, values and goals. In the latter, at a sociological level of conceptualization, it refers to the emergence of a social structure that allows and encourages males and females alike to achieve goals in accordance with their talents and differentiated selves.

Undoubtedly, hereditary predispositions have led to the development of a po­larization of the sex roles in various cultures with dominating males and sub­ordinated female roles. In some contemporary Islamic states, women are still dominated by the men in such a way that a modern liberal view cannot be accommodated. Also in our society we ought to refrain from fixed role cliches. As stated earlier, biology does not mean inevitable fate. The great difficulties in understanding the new roles of the sexes and especially new relationships between men and women lie in the fact that for most of their history man and woman have worked cooperatively for the sake of their offspring, something for which we appear to be biologically prepared. Competition was avoided by assigning even the neutral tasks to one sex or another, which is still the case in tribal societies. The economic contribution of woman has always played a major role. Contemporary women face the problem that jobs are incompatible with child rearing, i.e., one can not take one’s children to work. Furthermore, jobs are less sex specific with the di­vision of labor breaking down, leading to male-female competition both in jobs within and outside of the home.

In biology, the phenomenon of functional conflict is well known although rarely considered in discussions of humans. For example, armor protects but restricts 287 freedom of movement. A bony skeleton gives the muscles a point of evolved attachment but is heavy. Before the swimming bladder had evolved in fishes a problem existed for those living in the open sea. Skeleton weight had to be reduced, but that meant a loss of power. Signal mechanisms facilitate intraspecies com­munication but also provide visible cues for enemies. Analogous conflicts deter­mine our interpersonal behavior and especially heterosexual partner relationships. Territorial defense and rivalry fights in primates and many other mammals pro­duced physically more powerful and aggressive male individuals. We also bear this heritage. In a positive sense this means that males can afford protection. But that almost automatically leads to a dominance and a demand for control over the “weaker sex” and, correspondingly, to reprehensible abuses. In many cultures the behavior of males toward females is ambivalent—while man honors woman as his beloved and mother and she spurs him on to highest artistic creations, he also represses her. Unfortunately, this repression of females, as K. E. Muller (1984) showed, has been and still is a problem for people of all cultural levels and in all times. We must solve these problems with insight, using our capacity as “cultural beings.” However, as in the discussion on problems of aggression, the difficulties are not explained away by denying the existence of sex differences, but by becoming aware of them. We must be ready to accept the positive aspects of sex differences and control those aspects that interfere with our harmonious living together by causing distress. Reason and mind permit us to tame our human nature. Our hereditary disposition allows us to make such changes and if we do not take advantage of it, we are the ones to blame.

Summary 4.7

The claim that human gender roles are as culturally determined as the clothes people wear does not stand up to critical examination. There is a universal pattern of sex division of labor which occurs even in the “egalitarian” hunter and gatherer societies. Among their activities, men act as representatives of their group in in­teractions with others, defend the group in actual combat and ritual, and generally hunt big game. With these tasks, especially those involved with representing the group to outsiders, men have also taken on the leadership roles, even in so-called matriarchal societies, where the men of the matrilineal lines are in authority. In addition to realms of male dominance there are aspects of life where women prevail. This includes the socially important area of child rearing and internal group in­tegrity, that has been researched little to date. In tribal societies, the men and women contribute economically in different but equally significant ways to maintain the household, and they are mutually dependent economically. Thus, for most of history, a partnership of complementarity between man and woman has existed. Only in historically recent times has there been an economic disequilibrium with male economic dominance.

Men and women are biologically predisposed for division of labor anatomically, physiologically, and behaviorally. They differ in action, perception, and motivation. Most differences are quantitative (sex-typical), and a few are qualitative (sex­specific). Differences even develop contrary to upbringing procedures. Thus on the kibbutz there was a concerted effort to raise all members in an “egalitarian” manner contrary to the traditional sex roles. But this feminist revolt was followed by a return to traditional family patterns. Studies of childrens’ games on the kibbutz have shown that children select their own sex as social models, and girls, in par- 288 ticular, with all the various role models available to them, imitated in play only those women who were mothers caring for young. Phylogenetic adaptations ap­parently have determined these preferences.

Hormonal factors during embryonic and child development play a major role in realizing male and female dispositions. Girls who are androgenized during em­bryonic development behave like boys in many respects. In this connection there exists a noteworthy mutant that causes genetically male children to have female phenotypes at birth. They are thus raised as girls and behave like them. Their sex changes with the onset of puberty, not only morphologically but behaviorally into fully functional males. Examples like these show that social sex role determination has its limits. This does not exclude alternative life styles for men and women, but the biological factors should be considered.

The male predisposition to dominate is probably based on his primate heritage. In the past as today this led to domination of woman in many societies, a condition that must change. But this cannot take place by denying inherent sex distinctions. We must be aware of them in order to bring those aspects of our behavior under control. In a positive sense, sex differences are a challenge for the establishment of equality in complementary partnerships.

4.8. The Individualized Group: Family, Kin, and Alliances

Tribal societies are in essence kin based and this organizational principle was probably what characterized human society through most of its history. The fam­ilies which comprise a group are interconnected by ties of blood relation. The individual thus is embedded in a network of kin who ultimately will support her or him and fill her or his needs when necessary. Likewise, each individual is obligated to these kin. Despite rugged individualism, tribal peoples cannot separate themselves from this community and its obligations. We can neither imagine the good and secure feelings of being enmeshed in such a web nor the incredible burden of the constant obligations. These groups are made up of close genetic relatives. Siblings or cousins account for 80-90% of nonaffinal relationships in a hunter/gatherer group. Kin selection, therefore, undoubtedly was a major reinforcer in the evolution of these groups.

Groups usually demarcate themselves as territorial units distinct from other such groups and are characterized by continuity in membership through time. The members of these local groups in hunter/gatherer societies develop a group feeling that separates them from other groups. At the same time, regular interaction is maintained with other groups. In fact, local groups cultivate relations between themselves. They exchange marriage partners, form alliances, conduct trade, and exchange goods—or consider each other enemies. Thus human groups tend to form relatively stable bounded entities whether they reside in a single area or wander as a unit. The group is characterized by lasting interpersonal relations extending over the family borders. Intergroup mobility is regulated to maintain group identity, so excessive immigration is usually avoided. People who are ac­quainted with each other are bonded by familiarity, whereas strangers, even if they resemble one another in costume, dialect, and demeanor, are met with reserve. This is even more probable if the stranger deviates more significantly in appearance and behavior from the group norm. Xenophobia is a universal quality (p. 175). A certain demarcation is thus a prerequisite for group formation and maintenance. Groups define their memberships by certain characteristics, such as, costume and dress, dialect, and certain norms to which they adhere. We have observed that individuals who deviate from the group norm in any respect become the targets 289 of aggression of other group members. This norm-maintaining aggression, which we will discuss later in more detail, results in either the adjustment of the deviant individual or his repulsion if he does not conform to the norms of the group. Group exclusivity fosters the development of group-specific behavior, which via dialect and language formation, along with other differentiating mechanisms, can lead to the development of divergent cultures, a process E. H. Erikson (1966) spoke of as “cultural pseudospeciation.” The tendency to contrast oneself with one’s neighbor and thus segregate one’s identity from others, is thus quite strong. Chil­dren and adults within an individual group form their own subgroups often also distinguished by some common characteristics, such as speech characteristics or shared a “secret” knowledge.

How do groups form? How do individuals bond within groups? What sets them apart from nongroup members? Groups normally grow by propagation. A child enters a group at birth. As he grows up, he acquires the cultural characteristics of the group, develops personal ties with others, and learns to identify as a group member.

Bonding has been observed to extend beyond the group, even in hunter/gath- erers. Local groups develop ties and alliances with other groups. When two allied groups join forces, males from different groups come together to form a new group for a special task. This process of group formation, which plays an important role in the life of the males, has been studied experimentally. M. and C. W. Sherif (1966), in what is now a classical study, investigated the formation of groups in a camp. The 11- and 12-year-old boys were initially unacquainted, but after 2 or 3 days had formed small groups of three or four members each. The boys were given freedom of choice of friends, and when questioned could name their best friends.

The Sherifs then divided the boys into groups, intentionally separating friends. Within the new groups, boys learned to depend upon one another as they worked together to assemble tents, carry canoes, cook, and engage in other activities. The old friendships dissolved and new alliances and group structures developed with a distinct pattern of leader and follower roles. Each group developed specific means of undertaking particular tasks. This became clear in later experiments which caused altercations between groups. The group pursing a tough approach enjoyed having physical encounters with their opponents, while the other group attempted to resolve conflicts without physical aggression. Among other things, they were hopeful that the others might lose. Group-specific jargon developed and each group had its own secrets and jokes.

Once the groups had formed their own identity profiles, group competitive ac­tivities, such as baseball games, were held and the winners awarded sought-after prizes. Tensions between groups arose as a consequence. The losers complained and embarked on revenge campaigns whereby both parties threw green apples at each other. As out-group members were repulsed, the members of the in-group grew closer, overestimated their own capabilities and underestimated those of the opponents in an interesting denigration of the opponents. After one contest for collecting the most beans, slides were shown allegedly portraying the beans each group had collected. The same number of beans was shown on each slide, but if the slide was announced as that of their own group, the pile of beans was perceived by the viewers as greater than if it was described as the results of the competing group.

The polarization that arose from competition was later alleviated when the 290 groups were united by common task situations. For example, defects in the plumbing system were repaired jointly. Both groups also collected money to rent a film for the camp. A common enemy, introduced artificially, also elicited this effect.

Most of the elements that bond adults or cause their segregation occurred in these camp groups. The environmental contingencies operating at a given time initiate processes of self-organization of the group. This is found at a much more complex level in the organization of the state and thus suggests a universal rule system—a grammar of human social behavior (p. 493).

Since humans respond to particular situations in predictable ways according to given programs (“if . . . then”), the group acts as an entity. As K. Lorenz noted, common combat unifies a group. We have already discussed the reason this is so (see family defense, p. 169). It is always the individuals who behave on the basis of phylogenetic and cultural programming, coordinated by commonly perceived environmental conditions and objectives. This explains why intragroup relationships often obey the same rules as interpersonal relationships. Even at the diplomatic level, for example, one party may claim that the other has committed an offense and threatens to break off relations, a strategy employed by the in­dividual in an attempt to block aggression (p. 500).

However, there are aspects in which group behavior differs from that of the individual. Thus certain situations have an amplifying effect through mood in­duction (e.g., panic, group aggression). We will discuss this phenomenon in more detail later. At this time, suffice it to say that there are many points in common between interindividual and intergroup behavior, but that the latter is more than a simple extension of the former.

The awareness of belonging to a social category can suffice to produce group behavior (H. Tajfel, 1978). The assigned membership can even be more important than the external similarities between group members. However, similarities are quickly manifested by using common symbols and rituals. Tajfel states that simple mutual attraction of individuals is insufficient to form groups, which requires some social categorization. Social categorization reinforces social identification and leads to the definition of unifying group characteristics, such as similarities in appearance and demeanor, a shared destiny, proximity, perceived or imagined common threat, and others.

Tajfel thus resolves the question of the necessary conditions that take a group of individuals in an aggregate and convert them into group members using a social identification model, which has a cognitive basis. A social cohesion model can also be offered as an explanation. This theory states that a group develops au­tomatically as the product of reciprocal interactions—the people comprising the group merely must like each other.

Tajfel maintains that the first question a group member asks himself is not whether he likes the others in the group, but who is he in relation to it. This indicates how essential group membership is to human identity formation.

The Sherif studies show that initially groups form of their own accord. However, group leaders were also able to institute new groups experimentally by having them identify with new tasks and objectives.

Groups act as units in particular contexts and require that their members make certain community responses at such times. The group also has certain rights, such as owning a particular hunting or grazing ground or perhaps a water hole. The group also has one or more representatives who act as spokesmen during intergroup contacts, even in societies where there is no concept of “chieftainship” in terms of a superior individual in whom authority is vested. Thus the Kalahari 291 Bushmen do not have chieftains, but there are individuals who, as owners of water holes, must be addressed and persons to whom a stranger desiring to live in the tribe must speak (p. 324).

Individualized groups can take on various forms. Hunters and gatherers live in band communities and move in an annual cycle through a territory owned by the group. Within this territory they have stable camping sites consisting of ag­gregations of small huts. They spend a great part of the year in these camp sites. Pastoralists move through a familiar region in which each group has individual rights, such as, to watering places. They also use encampment sites owned by a group. Even the so-called nomads, who spend most of the year in family bands, usually possess defined rights to grazing areas, and the migration routes are strictly determined. Several family bands may also unite to form temporary groups. In this case, affiliation with the group does not constantly change but is regulated by lasting continuity in membership.

Segregation and territorial ties are typical for the individualized human group. We find these conditions in hunter/gatherer groups who are often used as models of the original cultural conditions of mankind. I emphasize this because one oc­casionally hears the Kalahari Bushman (San) described as nomads, as if they lacked territories. Indeed, the Bushman have territories and defend them if necessary against intruders. Group segregation is also manifested in settlement design. The settlements are arranged so that wherever individual family huts or homes are standing they open into a common central space. Thus, the individual families gravitate toward the community naturally. We find basically the same arrangement in the settlement patterns of Bushmen and of European villages where the village square is used as a communications center. On the outside the settlements are often demarcated with fences, palisades, and hedges, which all help to reinforce village or tribal community identity.

Some rather astonishing conceptions of the “original” human community prevail even into the present. Thus collective thought is imputed to “primitives.” F. A. von Hayek (1983, p. 165) writes: “Civilization brought differentiation and indi­vidualization.” I would reverse this concept, since I observed well-developed individualism among the Kalahari Bushmen, the Yanomami, and the Eipo. By specialization into different professions, a great deal of differentiation does indeed occur in “civilized” society. However, it is precisely in a labor-sharing society that a great deal of the generality (“universality”) of the individual is lost. The so- called “primitives” are individualists who are much less dependent on external in­fluences (people and events). The Bushmen of Kalahari decide on a individual basis whether to go hunting or stay by the hut. They show no professional specializations but are more involved in a kin-based society with mutual economic obligations. In­dividual families are bonded to each other through a system of exchange interactions, which acts as a form of social insurance during a time of emergency, but otherwise they are rather autonomous, each family producing practically everything it needs for survival. Every Bushman male can hunt, build his hut, and produce his imple­ments, whether they be weapons, clothing or adornment.

Even in professional circles many misconceptions have prevailed on the nature of original human communities, as represented today by hunters and gatherers. It is often claimed that these nonterritorial, peacefully coexisting open communities are constantly changing their composition. We will discuss this in section 4.11 on territorial behavior. According to another thesis, Bushmen lack long-term social attachments, as did all other hunters and gatherers. This “fluid organization” is 292 said to result from the necessity of the groups to distribute themselves according to the availability of resources (R. B. Lee, 1976; J. Woodburn, 1968; J. Yellen and H. Harpending, 1972).

The thesis of the “instantaneous hunter-gatherer economy” and the transitory ties of the hunter-and-gatherer has been questioned by P. Wiessner (1980). We will discuss her findings in some detail since she conveys an exemplary impression of the permanence and differentiated nature of extrafamilial social relationships. P. Wiessner (1977) investigated the highly developed reciprocal exchange system known as “hxaro” in ’.Kung Bushmen. Each member of the group develops a personal relationship network based upon mutual obligations of gift giving, which thus acts as a form of social insurance. The hxaro partnerships are quite durable and hxaro partners are often transmitted by parents to their children. They foster a far-reaching involvement of the individual in a broadly based system of social relationships. P. Wiessner (1981, 1982) later added the following facts about the existence of short-lived bonds in the hunter/gatherer society:

1. Although the direct organization for work requires little investment (effort) and produces immediate results, the relationships which structure the redistribution of social and natural resources requires a substantial investment, for which repayments are significantly delayed.

2. Because the investment is high and repayment postponed, the !Kung make an effort to maintain relationships over time, which leads to numerous relationships each with a long history.

3. This stability and continuity of mutual relationships plays a very significant role in the mobile, kin-based society. Reciprocal obligations remain active even after bi­ological relationships are long forgotten. This ensures that each person has a sufficient number of partners who can and want to fulfill his needs. “In other words, it equalizes the number of productive kin available to a person in the face of a highly variable biological reproduction. ’ ’

With the hxaro exchange system, in which a roughly balanced long-term gift exchange takes place, individuals maintain access to their resources. Each person has an average of 16 such partnerships, 18% of which bond him to another person in the camp, 24% to persons in neighboring camps (in a 5-20 km radius), and 58% to persons in two or three other camps up to a distance of 30-200 km.

The total network of such alliances with other individuals is known as “my people.” Via an exchange partner, one also develops relations with the exchange partner’s family without actually entering into a direct relationship with them. The one or two exchange partners in another camp, however, do in turn divide what they received with their group members and thus relations are mediated. Census data by R. B. Lee (1968-1969) and P. Wiessner (1977) on annual visiting trips of more than a week for by 30 adults living in /Xai/xai showed that 80 of these visits (93%) were to regions where exchange partners lived. Only six were undertaken in areas where the traveler had no exchange partners. Wiessner es­timated that the average amount of time spent making gifts for hxaro exchange is 5 work days per partner per year.[39] This is a considerable amount of time when we remember that each individual has an average of 16 partners.

The expenses of the partner being visited are substantially high and particularly noteworthy. For the first two or three days the host is obligated to provide for the visitor and his family. Thereafter, the guests provide for themselves (they are permitted to hunt and gather in the host region), but they work less than the others and bring less to the community. The social investment in the form of providing for and integrating the guests into the group remains quite high.

Generally an individual makes 1.5 visits annually with a total mean duration of 2.2 months. Thus an individual spends an average of 3 months per year with a hxaro partner. Due to this substantial investment, the Bushmen are interested in maintaining these relationships. During the partners’ lifetimes 55% of the part­nerships are created, while the rest are inherited. Of the exchange partners, 45% are not closely related. Thus one cannot speak of transitory social ties within hunter/gatherer society; what we find is a long-term complex of relationships.

The relationships within the local group (averaging 30-50 persons) or “band” are differentiated. While the relationships between parents and small children are intimate and spontaneous, those of the other members of the extended family are regulated by a series of cultural conventions. For example, these “joking rela­tionships” determine toward whom one may act casually and to whom one main­tains a formal demeanor. Thus in Bushmen and many other African tribes there is a formalization of parent-child relationships (with the exception of infants and small children). As a rule respect is given to those individuals exercising educational authority. The grandparents in these groups are not authorities, so their grand­children can behave in a relaxed manner with them, making the grandparents “joking partners” (A. R. Radcliffe-Brown, 1930). The children can use these joking partnerships to release tension through banter and other forms of playful aggres­sion. Joking relationships are also formed with siblings of the same sex and with potential spouses. Relations with siblings of the opposite sex are more formalized, as are those with parents-in-law and their joking partners (H. J. Heinz, 1966).

A. Barnard (1978) demonstrated how differentiated just the rules for determining formalized and nonformalized Bushmen relationships are: Joking partners for an individual are grandparents, mother’s brothers and their wives, father’s sisters and husbands (only in the !Ko), and mother’s brother’s and father’s sister’s children (“cross cousins”).[40] If the individual is a man, a paternal aunt’s daughter is ex­cluded from this group, and if the individual is a woman the same holds for the son of a maternal uncle. In some Bushmen, these persons are known as “respect relatives.” Joking partners also include all joking partners of the spouse (only in !Ko and Khoekhoe Bushmen) and their spouses, namesakes of the same sex, siblings of the same sex, and parallel cousins of the same sex, the spouse and spouse’s siblings of the same sex, and the spouses of siblings of the same sex. Respect persons are parents and their siblings of the same sex, one’s children and the children of siblings of the same sex, namesakes of the opposite sex (only in Khoekhoe), siblings of the opposite sex, parallel cousins of the opposite sex, pa­ternal aunts and their spouses, and respect figures of the spouse and their spouses.

In view of the precise definition of these relationships, one could say that the regulating system for social relationships in these kin-based societies is more highly differentiated than those for Americans.

This is also true for the cultural rules which regulate whom a person may marry or not beyond the limits set by the biological incest inhibitions.[41] One of the simplest ones, used in many tribal societies, is that one may marry all those to whom one applies a cross cousin kin term but not those called parallel cousin terms. In some patrilineal societies, children descended from two sisters may marry because their children are descended from the unrelated husbands of these sisters. But children descended from two brothers may not marry in such a society. Genetically there actually is no difference between these relationships. In matrilineal societies the rules are reversed.

Marriage-regulating conventions can be highly complex, as they are, for ex­ample, among desert Australian aboriginal societies. They make it difficult for a man to find a suitable marriage partner in his immediate vicinity. Men therefore, are frequently compelled to search for a partner in distant groups. This phenomenon led to the development of a complex network of relations between widely separated groups resulting in a wide variety of mutual rights and obligations. Since the desert aborigines are hunter/gatherers in an arid region, it is vital for them to have access to other districts during severe periods of extreme drought. Thus the complex marriage regulations are ecological adaptations and a means of maintaining social integrity (H. K. Fry, 1934; A. A. Yengoyan, 1968). The Arunta system is a classic example of the degree of complexity of this regulatory system (A. R. Radcliffe- Brown, 1930). It functions as follows:

Man A can only marry woman alpha. Their children are designated as D’s. Each D girl must marry a delta male and their children become betas. Each beta women must marry a B male. Their children are C’s, and each girl C must marry a gamma male, and the children of this union are alphas. According to this rule, each alpha woman must correspondingly marry an alpha male, and their children are gammas. Each gamma woman must marry a C male, and their children are Bs. Each B woman marries a beta male, and they produce deltas. Each female delta, finally, marries a D man, and their children are As. The A’s, B’s, C’s, and D’s represent the exogamous half of the tribe. They must marry the other tribal half (alphas, betas, etc.) and only within the classes specified above.

Moiety I___________ Moiety II

Section One { A — a } Section Three
B — P
C — 7
Section Two { D — 8 } Section Four

The marriage rules are idealized and in practice are by no means always strictly followed, but by and large they have an ordering effect and ensure a relatively uniform mixture of a gene pool, whereby the cross cousin rules create a network of descending lines (whether patrilineal or matrilineal). Other regulations determine whether the woman resides in her husband’s group (virilocal residence) or the man resides in the wife’s group (uxorilocal residence), when spouses are from different groups which they often are.

With such an extended incest taboo, man imposes new structures beyond his biological nature into society. Levi-Strauss clearly recognized this, but he did not distinguish between the primary taboo (see incest inhibition) and its secondary, cultural elaboration. He claimed that incest taboos were determined only culturally, which is certainly incorrect.

A clan system develops within many cultures. If the members of a clan can trace themselves to a single known ancestor, then one can speak of lineage. Lineage is often fictitious with a totemic ancestor as a mythical figure. This has the potential to integrate distant kin via Active close blood ties. In the Eipo (West New Guinea), for example, there are 11 clans, and members of individual clans are obligated to help their fellow clan members. Since a clan is distributed across the entire language region of the Eipo, clan members can be found in distant villages, and they are obligated to render assistance due to this supposed relationship. Clan exogamy prevails, for members of an individual clan may only marry someone from another clan.

A clan can extend across many territorial groups, and a territorial group can encompass several clan communities. No less than eight clans were represented in the small village of Dingerkon, which in 1978 had only 64 adult inhabitants. In the Eipo, the clan system is supplemented by male initiation groups which cross­cut clan lines forming an additional network of ties. Male initiation takes place only every few years. Several age classes of boys and young men are selected from various villages (sometimes from an entire valley) and are simultaneously initiated (V. Heeschen, 1984b). These individuals are bonded to each other for life and have mutual lifelong obligations. Cultural adaptations of this kind create structures which integrate the territorial local groups into a larger community forming alliances and thus political interactions.

Summary 4.8

Humans appear to have an innate tendency to form larger social groups and establish group identity. Group commonalities are created as groups develop sym­bols of identification, and distinguish between in- and out-group members. The dynamics of group formation have been experimentally investigated. The process of self-organization of adolescents follows a dynamic resembling adult interactions. We observe emphasis of contrast and group bonding mechanisms, such as co­operative tasks, definition of a common enemy, development of negative attitudes toward outsiders, and other shared features.

Among hunters and gatherers, the family is integrated into local bands of 30 to 50 persons. These bands most likely characterize the original condition of human social life. Bands preserve their own identity and as a rule are bound to one or more specific areas, maintaining relationships with other groups through marriage ties, exchange partnerships, rituals, clan membership, and other cultural conven­tions. However, they retain their identity and rights and display notable continuity in membership so that it is incorrect to consider them a transient grouping in a completely open and fluid society.

Mobile existence of this societal structure should not be understood to mean that the people are wandering constantly without any restrictions on their move­ments. The relations between group members as well as those between members of different groups, are more highly differentiated than is generally assumed and 296 are also relatively permanent, such as the reciprocal exchange system among the !Kung Bushmen. Rules also determine potential marriage partners and toward whom one acts in a formalized manner or in a casual way. Clan organization, initiation groups, and other cultural structures lead to the formation of interre­lationship networks extending beyond the small group. These cultural arrangements maintain order in society well beyond those regulatory mechanisms operating within kin and small group systems and through which man distinguishes himself as a political creature.

4.9. Rank Order, Dominance

We observe in humans a relationship to authority that is incongruous. On one hand, we fight for a society of equals and maintain that we are anti-authoritarian, but, on the other hand, we unabashedly hang pictures of leaders on our walls.

Our disposition to submit to leadership is in striking contrast to our outward rejection of dominance. How is this contradiction explained? I believe that the contradiction is only an apparent one. Our natural tendency to form rank order relationships requires that the individual perceives the impulse to rank himself above others, which requires a rebellious attitude toward the top ranking indi­viduals.

Continual rank struggles, however, would severely disturb group harmony and it is also important for those defeated in the rank competition to be prepared to accept a subordinate position and thus have confidence in the superior ranking figure and recognize his important role. If the individual lacked such a capability, he would either have to leave the group or be in a constant contest with the other members of the group. In addition, he would not be able to profit from the positive leadership qualities of a more gifted person. In this context it would be interesting to learn about the function of ranking and to what extent rank orders establish themselves on the basis of innate dispositions. H. Laborit (1980) claims that ri­valries about particular matters automatically lead to tests of strength in which one or the other party prevails. But does that suffice to explain the relatively harmonious group life in a rank-structured organization? And must not obedience also be explained?

The phenomenon of rank order was first investigated in animals. T. Schjelderup- Ebbe (1922a, b) found that chickens kept together as a group initially fought among themselves and created a “pecking order” from their encounters. Each hen knew who was superior and who was inferior to herself. She would avoid victors of previous encounters in the future and would peck at a subordinate if she did not make room for her. Rank order can be linear, with alpha pecking at beta, beta at gamma, and so forth down to the omega individual. Generally, however, rank relationships are more complex. Thus a hen A could defeat hen B and B in turn C. But C could by good luck be victorious over A. In such a case C would be dominant over A but subordinate to B, who is ranking below A.

These dominance relationships based on aggression are distinguished from those rank orders in which superior members do not owe their position to aggression alone but also to other “positive” leadership characteristics, such as in supporting others, resolving conflicts, sharing, or imparting other important knowledge to other individuals. In these cases of leadership designation, superior rank position is based primarily upon achievements and thereby upon subsequent recognition of these leadership qualities. But aggression as a rule always makes some con­tribution to rank determination. A high ranking individual must be able to defend his position if necessary against challenging subordinates, usually younger ones. 297 Rank order relationships occur in all groups of living primates, especially in chim­panzees, who achieve and maintain their rank position chiefly with displays (often incorporating noise). One male in Jane Goodall’s study area that learned to push around empty tin containers noisily used this strategy to move from the second rank position to the first. Animals achieving a high rank position enjoy a number of advantages. They have priority at feeding sites, superior access to females, and thus enhanced individual reproductive success. However, they also expose them­selves more to danger since they protect subordinates in threatening situations.

The group profits from high ranking members in a number of ways. They gather round the superiors when danger threatens, profit from their knowledge and from the fact that high ranking individuals are able to solve conflicts due to their social position. Once a rank order has been established, further aggressive encounters within the group are largely blocked. Thus rank order is a means of neutralizing intragroup aggression.

R. Dawkins (1976) views rank order as merely the sum of individual behaviors with no group factor involved and is thus a manifestation of individual behaviors at the group level that only benefit high ranking members. Rank order as such, according to Dawkins, has no group function at all, especially not one of controlling aggression. In my opinion, one must consider not only individual selection, but also group selective advantages in evaluating the role of rank order. High ranking members are not the only ones benefiting from social hierarchies. When groups compete, it is advantageous for one group if it is less torn by internal conflicts than the other group. This is particularly so for man. Furthermore, wherever lead­ership hierarchies exist, all group members benefit from the abilities of the top ranking individuals. Thus, while rank order may have originated through individual selection, group selection, in the face of competing groups, could have strongly reinforced it, selecting further for mediating rather than aggressive traits in the high ranking.

In many primates, one can identify top ranking members since they are looked at more frequently by other group members and are thereby the “focus of atten­tion” (M. R. A. Chance and R. R. Larsen, 1976). Other individuals orient to them and turn to them, on the one hand, because they are feared but also because high ranking individuals are sought when danger threatens and thus are a source of protection. The significance of the attention structure as a rank order criterion has been doubted recently with the observation that not every individual who is the center of attention is necessarily of high rank (G. Schubert, 1983). A female in estrus can elicit enhanced attention temporarily, as can a particularly cute ju­venile, while another time these individuals are peripheral. But these exceptions are rather easily delineated from other situations (for the use of these criteria see also p. 152).

When people are placed into groups, they form rank orders quickly. R. C. Savin-Williams (1979, 1980) found in an American camp that distinct rank orders developed in a cabin of five or six boys within 1 hour of their arrival. The highest ranking individuals were not the biggest and strongest but the best looking, most athletic, and those with the most advanced physical maturity. A parallel study in a girls’ camp showed that rank orders developed less rapidly and were formed on the basis of different criteria. Highest rankings were awarded not to the most attractive and athletic but to those who were most mature and maternal.

Human rank order behavior is closely allied to that of nonhuman primates. Thus, B. Hold (1977) showed that the attention criterion as a measurement of 298 rank position operates in humans, which is reflected in such expressions as de­scribing someone as highly “regarded” (the verb regard can mean to observe something with a firm, steady gaze). Highly ranking individuals command respect not only by being seen but also by being heard. Others orient to a high ranking individual when he speaks.

B. Hold (1976, 1977) used the attention criterion to investigate rank order relationships in European kindergartens with different educational approaches, G/wi Bushmen (central Kalahari) childrens’ play groups, and Japanese children’s play groups. High ranking children displayed the following attributes:

1. They initiate games and, in general, display more initiative than other chil­dren.

2. They organize play activities of others and thus significantly determine their activity.

3. They are less place bound, moving more freely throughout the area.

4. They play with various children.

5. They participate more frequently in role playing.

6. They mediate conflicts, preferably as protectors of weaker members. They preferably support losers except for the times when they compete with another high ranking individual for the top position. Then they seek alliance of other high ranking individuals by supporting them in their fights. They become supporters of winners. Once they have solidified their rank position, they again become “protectors” (K. Grammer, 1982).[12]

7. They initiate physical contact more often. The “protective” movement of resting a hand on someone is a typical dominance gesture that arose from a care­giving gesture (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1980a and figures, p. 432).

8. If high ranking children are given candy to distribute, they use it to maintain control over the other children. On the other hand, low ranking individuals cannot keep control if put in the same situation.

9. They are more aggressive than average but are not the most aggressive group members.

10. They show off more frequently.

The low ranking members display the following typical behavior patterns:

1. They orient to high ranking members.

2. They obey high rankers.

3. They question more.

4. They seek contact with high ranking individuals.

5. They occasionally avoid high ranking members.

6. They offer gifts and assistance to high rankers.

7. They show high ranking members objects and relate messages to them.

8. They are unobtrusive and submissive.

Naturally, the behavior of high and low ranking children is more differentiated than rank order behavior in nonhuman primates, but their ranking behavior is so closely paralleled that we can presume it has a common origin. Humans and pri­mates share the attention criterion, high rank characteristics 3, 6, 7, 9, and 10,

Many other factors from the above studies also determine a child’s rank: high ranking children generally had the longest kindergarten experience and were quite familiar with the facilities. Boys generally had higher ranks than girls, and in Ger­many and among the Bushmen they displayed a stronger impetus to display to others. A good relationship between a child and the kindergarten supervisor, who always had a high rank, had positive effects on the child’s rank position. This also has nonhuman primate correlates. In chimpanzees and rhesus monkeys the mother’s rank is transmitted to her offspring. D. R. Omark and M. S. Edelman (1976) and R. Abramovitch (1976, 1980) confirm B. Hold’s findings, while R. A. Hinde (1974) is somewhat skeptical.

Various attempts have been made to use dominance relationships in place of attention structure to determine rank order relationships, such as in determining who wins a contest over an object. But according to U. Kalbermatten (1979) it is not a good criterion, since object struggles are usually decided on the basis of possession norms (see p. 344). C. L. Cronin (1980, p. 317) investigated the dom­inance relationships between boys and girls in athletic and scholastic competitions. The girls competed with boys but were not highly motivated to outdo them in competition: “Girls played to win (though less intensively than the boys) when their opponents were girls. Girls performed poorly (in dodgeball) and did not take advantage of opportunities (in spelling) when their opponents were boys.”

If girls were to compete in some way other than boys do, then rank would have different meanings for the different gender. “Competition, for females, involves at least two strategies, one for female opponents and another for male opponents. Obviously, these differences will not be erased by requiring coeducational gym classes and athletic teams. It may be that these differences are adaptive for our species and in fact should not be erased” (C. L. Cronin, 1980, p. 318).

Hierarchies developing in all-girl groups are less rigid than those in all-boy groups. Boys often affirm their dominance by physical strength, sometimes ag­gressively. Physical appearance (“attractiveness”) also plays an important role, especially the aspect of an upright posture. Rank orders based upon attractiveness are quite stable, and dominant males have superior access to girls (G. E. Weisfeld, D. R. Omark, and C. L. Cronin, 1980).

Children understand how to draw attention to themselves in various ways, with verbal display (imperative and friendly) playing a predominant role (Fig. 4.58 and 4.62). Next in importance is threat, then (in boys) noise, which in chimpanzees is also an important means of display. Noise is less important in girls. They often display with objects, which in boys is in fourth place in importance. Display does not only aim at dominance, for one can become attractive by behaving in an af­fectionate manner. During the course of the year the display behavior of the kin­dergarten children showed distinct fluctuations (Fig. 4.59-4.61). High ranking children were quite active after returning from vacation, which probably indicates that renewed self-assertion was necessary after a long separation in order to confirm one’s rank for new group members (B. Hold-Cavell and D. Borsutzky, 1986).

In Rhesus monkeys the plasma testosterone level changes as rank order varies. It increases when males attain a dominant position or successfully defend it and decreases when rank is lost (R. Rose et al., 1975; A. Mazur, 1976). This process also occurs in man. Plasma testosterone levels significantly increase in tennis 300 players winning a match (A. Mazur and T. A. Lamb, 1980 and Fig. 4.63). They


Figure 4.58. Method of display and its effect on esteem: the frequency of individual cat­egories of self-presentation in girls and boys in 5-minute intervals. The graphs show that verbal displays (3) predominate, followed by threat behavior (9). In boys, noise making (1) was next in importance, but not in girls. Asserting oneself via objects has much more importance in both sexes (8). The con­tribution of friendly self-representation is not seen here. Not every verbal display is aggressive, for affectionate behavior occurs as well. Abscissas: attention (= frequency with which a child stands in the center of attention) (1) using noise and volume to draw attention to oneself; (2) make oneself larger; (3) impressing verbally (calling names louder, giving orders, demanding etc.); (4) show off; (5) demonstrate personal capabilities with self-made objects; (6) move prominently; (7) use motion to bring attention to oneself; (8) using an object to draw attention to oneself (demonstrating toys, etc.); (9) threat behavior. Ordinates: total number of appearances per child, divided by the number of 5-minute samples (per child between 30 and 60). After B. Hold-Cavell and D. Borsutzky, 1986.

experienced an elated mood. Victors dissatisfied with their achievement showed no increase in testosterone levels. In medical students, a rise in plasma testosterone levels was found 1 to 2 days after graduation, these students also experiencing a high positive mood level (Fig. 4.64). Thus biological components play a major role in human rank order behavior. The fact that males differ from females in their rank order behavior may be based on the role of males in dealing with outsiders.

Girls are more prepared to acknowledge another’s rank. R. C. Savin-Williams (1979, 1980) states that one advantage of superior rank is access to preferred sites. High ranking individuals occupy the favored place at the table and have the best sleeping spots near the fire in camp cabins. But the most esteemed advantage is the feeling of being the center of attention, which apparently raises one’s selfesteem. "Being dominant appears to be its own reward, to be highly satisfying and to be sought” (S. L. Washburn and D. A. Hamburg, 1968, p. 473).

Savin-Williams also points out that high ranking individuals are not the only ones with advantages. Lower ranking individuals enjoy protection and are removed from decision making. M. and C. W. Sherif (1966) found that adults enjoy belonging to a group and becoming subordinate within it in order to obtain security. People are encouraged by success, gaining more self-assurance, and become more ex-


Figure 4.59. Temporal course of esteem and the various categories of display in a child enjoying high regard. The year is divided into six segments. Vacations are significant intervals, for thereafter the child’s self-presentation increases since the child must renew his rank. Each individual time segment comprises 6 weeks; vacations are marked by arrows. After B. Hold-Cavell and D. Bor- sutzky, 1986.


Figure 4.60.

Course of drawing attention to oneself, of threat, and rank over six time intervals in children enjoying high esteem: ASW, drawing attention to oneself (self-representation); A, rank (frequency with which a child stands in the focus of attention); D, threat. After B. Hold- Cavell and D. Borsutzky, 1986.


Figure 4.61. Course of drawing attention to oneself, threat, and esteem over six time intervals in children with median and lower es- _ teems. After B. Holdinterval s Cavell and D. Bor-

sutzky, 1986.


Category dlatribution (X) (N = 515)

Figure 4.62. Behavioral patterns of self-presentation (1) play a major role in kindergartens. Next highly frequent are behaviors of aggression (2) and contact search (3). To counter the impression that agonistic behavior would dominate, it should be recalled that self-presentation includes a great deal of friendly behavior. The graphs show the distribution of categories in percentages. The left column shows the figures for both sexes, while the middle and right columns portray boys and girls, respectively. Categories: (1) behavior bringing attention to oneself; (2) aggressive behavior; (3) contact behavior; (4) interactions with the kindergarten teacher; (5) organizing behavior; (6) behavior oriented toward others; (7) behavior after aggression; (8) unclear situations. After B. Hold- Cavell and D. Borsutzky, 1986.


ploratory and take greater risks, which serves their striving for further achievement. Indeed, one can become conditioned to success (G. E. Weisfeld, 1980).

Rank relationships between children and juveniles are dynamic and relative. Small children only initially develop dominance relationships. The strongest members dominate in groups of 3- and 4-year-old children, while leadership qualities become significant in 5 and 6 year olds (D. R. Omark and M. S. Edelman, 1976). A child will assume a higher rank with increasing age. In mixed age groups, which are typical for individualized small groupings, each child enjoys some superior position in care and leadership behavior and thus in a specific way a dominance over younger members for whom he provides. Rank order is also determined by specific social contexts. While there are so-called leadership persons within childrens’ groups who stand above all the others, within the hierarchy there are a number of children who, because of their individual characteristics, assume a higher rank in particular situations. K. Grammer (1988) found, for example, that some children maintained higher positions outdoors than indoors. These children, so-called “scouts,” were more mobile and higher risk takers. They invented movement games more frequently and inspired the others. They could display abilities outdoors that could not be manifested inside the kindergarten.

Figure 4.63. Change in testosterone level in tennis players: winners (solid lines) and losers (broken lines): (a) in easily won games; (b) in closely won games. After A. Mazur and T.A. Lamb (1980).

Figure 4.64. Testosterone level changes in medical students following graduation: (a) in persons experiencing their mood height the day of graduation; (b) in those experiencing it 1 day later. The testosterone levels corresponded to mood heights with a 1-day delay. After A. Mazur and T.A. Lamb (1980).

Corresponding patterns are found in adults. One person can enjoy esteem within a group because of his courage, while another is appreciated for artistic abilities without being particularly courageous, and so on. In the Eipo, a person with a good “garden soul” (one who is industrious and successful at gardening) is esteemed. They even refer to a “sweet potato bigman.” Others, who are brave and fight skillfully, are war leaders, while others are unchallenged authorities on construction of houses. H. Marcuse (1967, p. 47) notes in this regard a specialized authority that must be recognized: “What is probably impossible biologically is to make do without some kind of repression. It may be self imposed . . . thus the dominance of a pilot in an airplane is rational domination. It is impossible to conceive of a situation in which the passengers would dictate the pilot’s duties to him. The traffic police officer is another example of a typical rational authority. .. .” Marcuse criticizes political dominance, which rests on the basis of suppression and exploitation, i.e., on pure dominance and not on recognized leadership characteristics.

The rank order phenomenon is manifested in the adult world in a highly diverse and differentiated way. In traditional European families it is seen in the seating at the daily table. The father sits at the “head” of the table (at its narrow end). This is the place where he can best be seen by everyone else and also that where he can best survey everything. At conferences, participants are seated in a similar manner according to rank, but with the highest individual at the middle of the long side of the table. In ceremonial contexts the top ranking individual may be specifically delineated, such as judges in a courtroom. He is often enthroned by sitting on a highly adorned chair, as princes and kings did in days past. The word “highness” testifies to this practice. We also speak of a “towering” personality, which manifests a high-low rank relationship (high-ranking, low-ranking; see p. 538).

Large persons more easily assume higher social positions, presumably because size in our society is a positive personal characteristic, so to some extent size is a certain bonus for their success. Beauty is similarly perceived (A. Schumacher, 1982).

In humans there is a clear relationship between age and rank, which also occurs in some nonhuman primates. Older men and women enjoy high esteem in many tribal and civilized societies, valued for their experience and wisdom. In cultures in which knowledge transmission is exclusively verbal, older members are sought for their knowledge and experience, and in our culture elderly individuals play a relatively important role in political life. In many public institutions a “senate” has important decision-making functions. In conjunction with the importance of 305 age in public life, one rarely finds a portrait of a high ranking individual as a young man. Domination by the aged is a questionable practice in politics, since due to medical progress individuals who are senile or whose health is failing oftimes remain in high ranking positions into advanced age. J. D. Frank (1967, pp. 8586) writes:

Evident insanity occurs rarely among the leaders of modern democracies, but slowly increasing disability with advancing age and the pressures of office is unfortunately much more widespread than many believe. In this century alone, at least six British prime ministers and a great number of cabinet officers were ill during their term of office. In the United States, Franklin Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were examples of presidents who during the latter parts of their terms suffered advanced arteriosclerosis . . . Wilson’s inability to lead government was undoubtedly the reason that America lost the opportunity to join the League of Nations. Roosevelt, whose lack of strength was visible in Quebec, was a dying man at Yalta, incapable of comprehending conference proceedings. . . .

Currently, there is less and less dependence on experience in family and economy and, as a result, esteem of the old is rapidly disappearing. We often feel that their knowledge is being quickly overtaken by rapid advances in technology and the natural sciences, which in some respects is no doubt true. But in social contexts the elderly still possess a valuable fund of experience that cannot easily be tapped from libraries and computers. A mother who has raised several children has acquired experiences that do not become outmoded. I should like to add an interesting relationship between age and appearance that demonstrates the significance of older men for society. In spite of age-related deterioration of physical strength, the older man maintains an imposing impression with his wavy white hair, beard and eyebrows. The “display adornment of age” (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1967, 1987) compensates for physical deterioration and provides the aged with a physical appearance which is impressive. It arouses esteem and permits him to serve the community further. On the other hand, the position of the female is challenged less, since their roles as mothers and grandmothers are well established.

There are societies which strive to achieve equality among their group members. In the !Kung Bushmen equality is enforced with strong social controls. These controls educate members against accumulating private possessions and anyone who does not share with others is punished, pestered, and runs the risk of being ostracized which creates enormous social pressures. Controls are also directed against those who brag about their hunting success to others less fortunate. One’s achievement is, of course, recognized, but if someone brags about his success he will endure the mockery of the group (R. B. Lee, 1969; P. Draper, 1978).[42] The necessity for such a system is derived from the dependence on a reciprocal exchange system for social security in societies whose ecology does not permit reliable daily individual provisioning. If this dependence on sharing were to be relaxed, inequalities would develop among the Bushmen. This has been shown by E. A. Cashdan (1980) for the //Gana of the central Kalahari.

Among the Maori there was a distinctive form of norm-maintaining aggression whose objective was leveling out differences in individual wealth. When one person had accumulated possessions, they were open to looting under some pretext. These raids were known as “muni." a term that means to plunder. Any deviation from the norm of daily life, even some misfortune, such as an individual becoming an invalid, a divorce of a wife, a grass fire spreading over a burial site, could be used as an excuse for pillaging. The object of such an attack could only reconcile himself with the fact that some other time he might partake in a similar activity against another person. Chieftains were exempt from this plundering and this could accumulate wealth.

If we investigate modem “egalitarian” societies we find that their egalitarianism is always applied to the masses but not to the leadership hierarchy and that some kind of leadership figure usually stands at the very head of the state (for example, China’s Mao Tse-Tung). One can also glean a strategy of authority consolidation on the part of the political leadership espousing egalitarianism, because if all conditions were maintained at an “equal” level, the rise of individuals or groups competing for top leadership positions is prevented. These societies do not have rank pyramids but a well-established cadre. In modern egalitarian states civil egalitarianism is not enforced by pillaging as in the Maori but to varying extents by equalizing taxation.

Rank striving (success striving) is opposed to egalitarianism, so any system that maintains equality as their ideal must of necessity be repressive. In China an attempt was made to counter individualistic tendencies with the Cultural Revolution. There are also human dispositions that conform with egalitarianism. Envy, as investigated in depth by H. Schoeck (1980), is one of them. This basic characteristic occurs in all cultures, and has the benefit of motivating oneself to achieve and also fulfills a regulatory function for norm maintenance by arousing negative reactions to excessive boastfulness and accumulation of property. But if this latter tendency were to result in complete equalization, it would put an end to those that spur cultural progress. By equalization, elites create an easily dominated “mass,” and this explains why dictators frequently espouse extreme egalitarianism. They thereby cement the powers of leadership at least until a revolution occurs. Western democracies also increasingly tend to consolidate their leadership by enforcing more equality. With these strategies they might well undermine their own existence, which is founded in the pluralism of personalities and opinions.

The need to win esteem is well developed in humans, and in our society it finds many outlets in substitute activities (D. Morris, 1968). One can achieve status in various ways: as the king of the rabbit breeders, as stamp or beer coaster collector. Indeed, it is satisfying for some to simply imitate high ranking individuals in clothing and behavior. The fashions worn by princesses are rapidly popularized by the masses. The former privileged activities of the ruling classes, for example, hunting and riding, are taken over by the well-to-do citizenry in “rank mimicry.” The wealthy in turn continually acquire new status symbols to differentiate themselves from those now used by the masses. They have their own jewelers and fashion designers, whose exorbitant prices guarantee that they and only they will obtain this watch or this dress. The status symbols of British nobility are rapidly abandoned once the common masses acquire them (N. Mitford, 1956). O. Koenig (1969) shows that the uniforms of victorious states are often imitated in a form of rank mimicry. Thus the uniforms of the Hungarian Hussars were imitated in Austria, Germany, Russia, and France. The Hungarians likewise imitated the notorious Turkish guard troops of the Delis, who were the first to attack in battles (after intoxicating themselves with opium). Our culture uses jewelry, attire, office equipment, automobiles, and other devices as status symbols. The objects do not have to be functionally effective, merely expensive enough so that not everyone can acquire them. It is curious that even relatively intelligent people cannot escape 307 the force of status seeking, apparently because not only the cortex governs this behavior.

It would however be incorrect to believe that only our culture is plagued by such excesses. The potlatch festival of the Kwakiutl Indians of Vancouver Island in Canada is well known. These Indians organized festivals in which the host chief sought to impress and even shame his guests with generosity and extravagance (F. Boas, 1895; R. Benedict, 1935). They poured costly oil into the fire, destroyed valuable copper plates, beat boats to pieces, and even killed slaves. The guests, in turn, attempted to maintain their self-esteem the next time by organizing an even more extravagant festival. It was incumbent upon the host chief to demonstrate his superiority, as evidenced in the speeches and songs in which the chiefs praised themselves and mocked their guests as poor fools [Ruth Benedict (13), p. 148ff.]:

I am the great chief who makes people ashamed.

I am the great chief who makes people ashamed. Our chief brings shame to the faces.

Our chief brings jealousy to the faces.

Our chief makes people cover their faces by what he is continually doing in this world,

Giving again and again oil feasts to all the tribes.

I am the only great tree, I am the chief!

I am the only great tree, I am the chief!

You are my subordinates, tribes.

You sit in the middle of the rear of the house, tribes.

I am the first to give you property, tribes.

I am your eagle, tribes!

Bring your counter of property, tribes, that he may try in vain to count the property that is to be given away by the great copper maker, the chief. . . .

I search among all the invited chiefs for greatness like mine.

I cannot find one chief among the guests.

They never return feasts,

The orphans, poor people, chiefs of the tribes!

They disgrace themselves.

I am he who gives these sea otters to the chiefs, the guests, the chiefs of the tribes.

I am he who gives canoes to the chiefs, the guests, the chiefs of the tribes.

One facet of the entertainment at the potlatch consists of competition for esteem. However, there is also a bonding element occurring that Benedict did not clearly perceive. The festival is also entertainment for the hosts and guests and is not intended solely for the self-elevation of the host chief. The guests are also offered respect, a point clearly made by W. Rudolph (1968). One offers respect in providing for one’s guests, and the opulence of a repast is a reflection of the esteem held for the invited individuals. This is carried beyond optimal levels in the potlatch as the host is engaged in a quest for dominance. Ethnologists refer to these as prestige and “prestige economy” (J. Faublee, 1968). They even play a major role in the political life of democratic governments and are also cultivated quite openly in international gatherings such as the World’s Fair.

On the Trobriand Islands there is a most outstanding festival of competition 308 for rank. Each family attempts to harvest as many yams as possible, particularly large ones. The piles of yams are placed on display in the village (Figs. 4.65, 4.66), and the village chieftain judges the result. Whoever collected the largest harvest enjoys the highest esteem. The tubers are then stored in private storage houses, which are constructed so that the tubers can be seen between the beams; the art of storage consists of laying the most beautiful ones, so they are visible. These storage houses are most impressive. Families consume as little of these yams as possible so they remain visible for a long time. Any tubers remaining by the next harvest become refuse, a practice that may seem senseless at first. However when I attended a harvest festival it occurred to me that in this way the people are motivated to produce more domestic crops than they actually require for their annual needs. This encourages a storage economy, which could prove most beneficial during a bad harvest. Thus behind the winning of prestige as the subjective goal is the creation of a reserve stock as, in the selective sense, the “actual” causative factor. This example also shows that a superficial assessment of a practice as having only one function, such as pure display, can be misleading. The striving for rank (esteem, prestige) can indeed degenerate into disorder, but it can also stimulate superior performance that benefits the entire community.

The various cultural manifestations of social hierarchies reflect adaptations to differential environmental conditions. The Herero, Himba, and other cattle herders of Africa must defend their cattle and grazing lands. This requires a chieftain hierarchy for cooperative combat and is fostered by obedience to leaders on a daily basis (p. 147). In times of emergency, similar rigid hierarchies are formed in otherwise liberal democracies. Hierarchical role systems develop within small groups when quick decisions are necessary (R. L. Hamblin, 1958) and when a group has a task to accomplish (M. A. Fisek and R. Ofshe, 1970).

The methods of achieving esteem vary, but from the preceding discussion it is clear that qualities of leadership are involved. Leadership can be manifested in specialized ways so that esteem is limited to highly specific accomplishments. Accumulation of wealth can confer authority and thus engender esteem, but the ability to manipulate social relationships can accomplish the same end. In the Yanomami, I found that young men visiting each other show one another their quivers. They keep a great number of arrows given to them by others, and while showing their arrows they comment on from whom and which village they received this or that arrowhead. Thus they display their social network to others, just as we try to heighten our esteem by “name dropping.” This is reminiscent of the visiting card used in many Viennese houses, in which a guest places his card down among the cards already there. Such guest cards not only have a certain sentimental value but also a display function as well.

In the Medlpa (New Guinea) the men wear strips of sticks on their chests, which indicate how the person has performed in the exchange of gold-lipped pearl shells. Each stick stands for a bag of 8 to 12 shells that had been exchanged. Thus, the more shells a person had distributed, the higher his esteem, the number of sticks indicating the individual’s rank. These exchange festivals were discontinued in 1970, and from that time, the omak (as these stick arrangements are called), have been frozen into the lengths that had once been attained (A. Strathern, 1983).

Thus rank order, as stated earlier, can only come about when there is not only a striving for rank but also a disposition to accept subordination and obedience. Both tendencies are well developed in humans. Modesty and obedience belong to the virtues, and their high esteem is reflected in the symbolism of Abraham’s sacrifice. In this sense, A. Koestler wrote that it is not an excess of aggression 309

Figure 4.65.

The competition for esteem by harvest success on the Trobriand Islands (Kiriwina). The stacks of yam tubers are displayed for judging. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Figure 4.66. (a) and (b) After the harvest and judging the yams are stored in the structures shown. Highly esteemed persons have the right to elaborately decorate their yam-storage houses. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

but of loyalty that can ruin us. The danger of excessive loyalty was dramatically demonstrated by Milgram’s (1963, 1966, 1974) studies.

Milgram invited Americans of various occupations as volunteers to take part in an experiment, for which he provided only modest compensation. He alleged that he was testing the relationship between punishment stimuli and learning and that he required assistance for his work. He explained to his subjects that they would assist by operating the apparatus that delivered punishing stimuli, and an alleged experimental subject in the other room (actually a colleague of Milgram) had the task of learning something. If the “subject” erred in answering a question, the “assistant” would deliver an apparent electrical shock, beginning with a lower voltage and increasing voltage strength to the next higher increment with each succeeding “incorrect” response. The apparatus had a keyboard on which the voltage reading of the shocks was indicated, in 30 increments from 15 to 450 volts. In addition, the voltage increments were labeled “mild,” “strong,” and “very strong.” Prior to beginning the study, the assistant was introduced to the “subject,” who was strapped in a seat in the adjacent room. The assistant also received a mild electrical shock to become acquainted with the negative stimulus. The surprising result of this study was that all assistants carried out Milgram’s instructions for punishment despite the fact that they thought they were delivering electrical shocks that could, in reality, have seriously injured the experimental subject.

Milgram ascribed this initial result to a lack of sufficient subject feedback. The assistant could not see the experimental subject in the other room nor could he hear anything from him. In another similarly constructed study, Milgram utilized acoustic feedback: a particular voltage evoked a prerecorded groan, and with increasing voltage the assistant heard sounds of pain, and finally a strong protest to stop because it hurt so much. At the maximum levels, the assistant would hear a painful scream and nothing thereafter. Even under these experimental conditions, 62.5% of the assistants carried out the experiment to its conclusion (maximum voltage). They did so but not without any scruples. Many turned to the chief investigator and said it would be better to stop since the voltage could injure the study subject. But upon the instructions of the investigator to continue in the interests of the experiment, they did so, often verbally making the investigator responsible for any consequences. Others protested against the instruction to continue, stood up as if to leave the room, but returned to the apparatus upon request. The assistants could have left of their own will and would not necessarily have forfeited their compensation by stopping. Yet only 37.5% of the assistants refused to continue the experiment, and most of these only upon activating keys that would have severely injured a test subject. Other variants of this study showed that inhibitions caused by “subject” behavior were stronger when the “subject” was present in the same room; in such cases 60% of the assistants refused to continue the experimental procedure.

The assistants visibly experienced conflicts. They felt sympathy for the subject and stated so, but they could not resist the authority giving instructions. This study also showed that the immediate presence of the authority figure was of decisive importance. Thus, if the investigator gave instructions from a telephone in another room, the number of assistants conducting the study was two-thirds smaller than it was in the investigator’s presence. In addition, many of the assistants became devious, claiming they were activating high-voltage punishments but actually activated the keys for lower currents. Apparently they were not sadistically motivated, but rather succumbed to authority, and in this situation authority was more powerful than sympathy.

These studies of Milgram, which are particularly valuable reading for all their interesting details, show that people experience great difficulty resisting an authority figure, especially when they are freely enacting a task that allegedly fosters a higher goal (“for the sake of research”). This was contrary to cultural expectation, for control groups that Milgram questioned regarding the outcome of such a study claimed that at most 0.1% of any assistants would be so insensitive as to carry out such an experiment to its conclusion.

Reality deviated shockingly from prediction. What can be learned from that? Of course, Milgram’s work shows that subconscious decision-making processes can play an important role in our social behavior. This suggests that we can, with insight into this phenomenon, become more sensitive to the voice of our conscience than to our tendency to obey authority, and we can also formulate our laws so that they provide more latitude for acts of conscience. In discussing the prevention of war crimes it is easy to say that the individual must disobey certain orders, but in reality this is improbable behavior, for how should the simple soldier stand up against a military authority? He must have the law as a point of support in 311 specific situations regarding how he should and should not behave. Rank striving and obedience are not in and of themselves evil; it is the extreme forms against which we must protect ourselves. If we are so protected, then rank orders would fulfill their function in our society. The disposition for subordination rests upon acknowledging accomplishment and social virtues of the highly esteemed individual as well as on fear and respect of that individual. Popularity, appreciation of knowledge, and respect for the individual must operate together. Domination based entirely on power should be rejected just as inherited leadership or caste systems, since the dominance relationship in such instances is neither rationally founded nor based on public opinion. Leadership figures require consensus of the general public.

Similar characteristics are ascribed to high ranking individuals in various cultures. One example is the song of praise on Sekou Thoure (Guinea) from E. Beu- chelt and W. Ziehr (1979). The values as well as the symbolism of the expressions correspond closely to our cultural perspective:

You became good You became brave You became upright You began to beam You are the protector Of the children And the suppressed (The light) That lifts itself Is inextinguishable Is immeasurable Is glorious

According to D. Goetze (1977), the enchanting, charismatic personality is characterized by five qualities:

1. The Mirum: designates the special, singular, alien, and disconcerting. Ascribed to this quality are the incomprehensible and wondrous and the individual is identified with particular superhuman spiritual or other powers.

2. The Tremendum: characteristics of the horrible, dreadful, terrible, and sinister. It is interesting that these qualities are second on the rank order list of characteristics, but indeed there is an element of fear mixed with respect. Rulers who generate fear have often been surnamed “the Great.” Terror is not only repulsive, but attractive, writes Goetze, and he adds, disassociating himself, “of course only for those seduced by it.” But we can all be led astray, as the fascination for tragedy teaches us (see also bonding using fear, p. 77).

3. The Fascinans: this probably has erotic elements and includes enchanting qualities of voice, amiableness, “charm,” and an ingratiating nature.

4. The Majestas: greatness in this extended meaning signifies the fact that the individual stands in the center of attention.

5. The Energicum: vital liveliness, a reflection of many animal displays. Most vertebrate males court with energetic displays of vitality. In this extended sense the magnetic passionate speech in those humans so gifted is an expression of a powerful will and is highly influential.

Love worthiness (amiability), based upon goodness and friendliness and cited in the first line of the above exaltatory song, is missing in this listing of the important characteristics of dominance, which excludes those related to sympathy arousal important for leadership personalities. Of relevance here is the study conducted 312 by R. D. Masters (1981a, b), who evaluated 4356 press photographs of American politicians published in the media during the campaigns between 1960 and 1972. The winners of the elections did not primarily display aggressive dominance expressions in their photographs. They tended to display submissive behavior similar to that observed in children shortly before submitting in a conflict. They behave particularly "obligingly.”

The disposition to be led is perhaps one of the most widespread infantile characteristics known in man. A primary rank relationship exists in the mother (parent)- child bond. The mother is a place of security and caregiving, but she is also a restraining authority. Certain concepts of high rank are often coupled with a parental suffix or prefix, such as mother or father of the people or godfather. Also, low ranking submissive behaviors often consist of infantile behaviors and high ranking individuals often refer to their subordinates as children and address them in like manner.

We have shown the difficulties inherent in our ambivalent attitude toward authority and thus to rank problems and to our attempts to formulate a life free from domination. Rank order can contribute to the harmony in group life and that striving for power as well as the readiness to be subordinate and obedient are human characteristics. We can suppress these dispositions but doing so would have doubtful consequences since our striving for “higher” goals, for esteem and power, is the impetus for achievement and thus for productive creativity. On the other hand, life without obedience and loyalty is hardly conceivable. We must only realize that these virtues, like all virtues, can degenerate into nonvirtues. Atrocities have been committed out of loyalty to ideologies. Particularly hazardous is our desire for power since there is no consummatory act nor a consummatory situation that shuts it off. Only the social and environmental conditions place a limit. In the small societies of early human history one could only achieve a limited degree of authority: one could become the chieftain or the medicine man. But technological civilization places means for gaining power at our disposal that far exceed the individual’s imagination. Even in liberal democracies the politicians deal with amounts of money far beyond their comprehension. Who is surprised when they have squandered another billion when seeking power, and there is no self-imposed limitation set on this quest, for it is an “open drive.”

Thus today a critical perspective toward leadership is more important than ever, and one should not dismiss the “anti-authoritarian” experiments of the late 1960s; rather, they should be analyzed to discern the symptoms of our times. Biological norms, as we already demonstrated are directed toward an optimum, and their excesses are as damaging as insufficiencies. Children deprived of authority and hence guidance are unsettled. J. Rothchild and S. B. Wolf (1976) visited American children who grew up in a very permissive subculture, where freedom was sought against schools, police, opponents to drugs, and even work. The children were not required to do anything—not even brushing teeth was mandatory. These parents wished to give their children freedom in the most literal sense. These children were asocial, bored, and listless individuals. They interpreted their parents’ behavior as a lack of interest. They did not feel liberated from parental authority but deserted! Authority in the extreme is certainly destructive, but this does not mean that one can generalize that parental control is “murder of the child” (A. Miller, 1980), nor should the family be dismissed as a “breeding place of hatred,” even if such conditions do occur in some family situations. This sort of extreme position, although expressed with good intentions, leads to a polarization and complicates the discussion. It is our misfortune that we tend to follow those au- 313 thorities blindly who pass themselves off as highly self-confident and who loudly assert their views. We do so out of a fatal infantile disposition that we bear genetically and we must be aware of this tendency in order to restrain it.

Summary 4.9

The human disposition to form rank orders is based on our primate heritage. The focus of attention criterion as an indicator of status already appears in nonhuman primates in that high ranking individuals are the center of attention of the other group members, i.e., “regarded’’ by most of the other members present. Obedience and the readiness to become subordinated are as innate in humans as the striving for rank, and both tendencies combine to form a functional system.

Human rank orders are dynamic. They also differ in various spheres of competence so that within a group several individuals can enjoy esteem according to their abilities. Rank orders are based upon recognition of leadership qualities, such as the ability to mediate conflicts, initiate group activities, pull the group together, etc; they are not primarily based upon aggressive dominance. Dominance relationships established solely by aggressive dominance differ from rank order founded on leadership qualities. Leadership hierarchies are even observed in kindergarten groups. In tribal societies the child grows up in mixed age groups and, with increasing age, experiences a change from being guided to being a guide to the younger child. A child thus experiences (and experiments with) all possible roles.

Fear fosters the disposition for subordination, activating infantile behavior. The phylogenetic origin of obedience can be traced back to the mother-child relationship and is a persistent juvenile characteristic maintained into adulthood. Experiments have shown that when obedience conflicts with pity and empathy the tendency to obey prevails under certain conditions. Thus we must be educated to question authority, but not to blindly reject it. Antiauthoritarian indoctrination does not liberate, but unsettles, and children brought up this way are actually more susceptible to the influence of authority figures. Since striving to rise in rank appears to be an innate part of man’s behavior that has a phylogenetic basis, societies, which want to abolish rank orders, require continual leveling in order to preserve this ideal. The striving for power (rank) in humans is the impetus for creative performance and thereby a motor of cultural development. The desire is no doubt dangerous, since it is an open-ended drive.

4.10. Group Identity Maintenance

Groups delineate themselves from others. Group members are bonded in a quasi- familial relationship of trust whereas strangers are met with reservation. The bonding effect of familiarity is not only due to personal acquaintance but also the fact that group members behave according to the same norms and thus understand each other. This means that behavior of each group member is fairly predictable for the others. Individuals maintain the roles according to age, sex, status, etc., established by the culture. Group norms are manifested in language, customs, clothing, body adornment, and many other everyday features, with material and spiritual culture tailored to the particular norms. Culture is the determining agent binding us as our ‘‘second nature,” sometimes in a fairly restrictive way. Of course we can break with tradition when necessary, but unless compelled to do so we 314 tend to prefer to cling to our customs. Custom makes behavior predictable, brings order to the community, and thereby transmits security. Maintenance of groupspecific norms is a means of distinguishing the group from others who as strangers do not follow the same customs. The human trait of emphasizing differences led to rapid cultural differentiation (pseudospeciation, p. 15) and allowed humans to fit themselves into highly diverse ecological niches. This tendency is demonstrated by the great diversity of human cultures.

Group norms are defended against those group members who deviate from them. Thus pressure to conform to norms exists in all cultures, first by applying mild sanctions and, if this fails, by escalating into aggression. It culminates in expulsion when the deviating member cannot live up to group standards. Normative aggressive behavior has developed convergently in entire groups of social birds and mammals (G. H. Neumann, 1981).

Outsider reactions in humans have been studied by various investigators (see A. Seywald, 1977, 1980, citing further references as well). Seywald discovered an old poem “The Land of the Imperfect” that poignantly describes this phenomenon:

In ages past there was a land, In which every single man Stuttered when he spoke And limped when he walked, For both were thought to be the way.

A stranger saw this curious sight; and thought “They’ll praise me when I show them how,” And so he walked with normal stride. And all who spied him, laughed out loud, And all stood laughing, crying out: “Oh teach the stranger how to walk!”

The stranger felt he was obliged

To straighten out this wrong reproach.

“You limp!” he called, “I do not: You must change, / should not.”

Their mocking grew and grew and grew, As they heard the stranger speak: “He doesn’t even stutter!” They cried, “We’ll scoff at him from every side!”

(From the Niedersachsisches Wochenblatt fur Kinder, Pt. 3 Bremen 1780)

Those who deviate from the group norm are at first teased and laughed at. This type of laughter may be a phylogenetically ancient form of mobbing. The rhythmic sounds are reminiscent of threat and mobbing sounds made by lower primates, and the baring of teeth may be derived from an intention to bite. This does not contradict the fact that laughter is also bonding. But it only bonds those who laugh together; the person being laughed at rarely laughs along with the others, and he perceives this laughter as an aggressive act. People are laughed at because they are awkward or otherwise behave differently from the norm. The laughter makes the individual aware of his deviating behavior and gives him an opportunity to conform. Laughter is a threat toward the nonconformist but binds together those who join in laughter. When people assemble at social occasions they often joke about others and tell jokes, which allows them to laugh together. The targets of the laughter, either in reality or in the case of a joke in the imagined situation, serve as substitute objects to allow for a bonding and also for cathartic tensionrelieving laughter. Laughing at something or someone appears to be highly enjoyable. A good example is the space allotted in our newspapers for comic strips. 315

Figure 4.67. Mocking by showing of the tongue is derived from spitting; it should not to be confused with sexual tongue display which is derived from licking. Mocking (aggressive) tongue display includes prominently protruding the tongue outward or downward and displaying it for a period of time, (a) Yanomami boy mocking by showing the tongue; (b) !Ko Bushman girl derides using the tongue. From 16 mm films. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

There are also various forms of mockery. The German verb to mock, spotten, is derived from the verb to spit (spucken), a form of aggression occurring in every culture we have studied (Fig. 4.67). Mockery can be verbal, as in calling others names that stamp them as ridiculous outsiders. Such name calling often plays on awkward traits of the target individual one finds offensive, and those ridiculing the person “ape” the behavior. Finally individuals may respond to the presumed offense against rules of appropriate behavior by behaving badly themselves. !Ko girls mocked me while filming by imitating my filming movements and then flashing their genitals, a distinct offense to nroper demeanor (Figs. 4.68-4.70). Last, but not least, the outsider is verbally “adjusted.” Gossip plays an extraordinarily powerful role in all cultures as a means of social control. If the person, in spite of all norm-aligning aggression, does not alter his behavior accordingly, he can become an outcast who is segregated from the group and must carry on alone. In serious instances someone like this can even be ostracized from the community. These rejection reactions can become quite harsh if the individual is physically incapable of altering his demeanor, perhaps because of a mental disturbance.

In addition to the disfigured or diseased, there are criminal deviants and those who simply violate custom. Criminal offenses in all cultures are considered to be damaging to society and are dealt with accordingly. In the case of murder and homicide, lex talionis (comparable punishment) is a widespread practice. It corresponds to the response of retaliator strategy seen in the animal world. Death due to war and manslaughter are dealt with among tribal people by conventions through which homicide can be compensated using measures other than blood revenge.

In general there is a strong disposition to behave according to societal norms and thus in this sense to conform to majority opinion. This inclination may take unusual forms. For example, individual test subjects were asked to compare lines of various lengths with a standard line, and their estimates were correct. However, if colleagues of the researcher falsely assessed line length when the subjects were tested in a group, only one-fourth of the subjects trusted their own judgment. The others conformed with the majority opinion, sometimes unconsciously and sometimes simply to avoid contradicting the others (S. E. Asch, 1951).

There are numerous characteristics that can make someone an outsider: various 316 abnormalities of behavior and appearance that in each culture would be perceived

Figure 4.68. Frontal genital display as a mocking gesture (seealsop. 247). Asone hand lifts the apron the other makes a pointing gesture. Finally the girl poses in typical female bearing (! Ko Bushman, central Kalahari). From 16 mm film. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Figure 4.69. Challenging posture of a mocking girl (!Ko Bushmen, Central Kalahari). Photo: 1. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Figure 4.70. Female sexual posterior presentation as a mocking gesture (!Ko Bushmen, central Kalahari). From a 16 mm film. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.


as deviant or conscious or unconscious violation of conventions and habits of a particular culture. Physical defects can result in stigmatization. Skin diseases can evoke particularly strong repulsion reactions, and it may be that this revulsion elicits an innate reaction that acts to prevent contagious infection (K. Lorenz, 1943b). Disfigured individuals, particularly those with facial deformities, have an especially difficult time in public. Such people sense, even in tolerant surroundings, that they cause discomfort to those in their presence. The aversive reactions of others causes great suffering although close personal relationships can reduce these avoidance responses. Obesity elicits rejection responses in some cultures. J. and A. Wolfgang (1968) investigated this with a spatial placement study. The test subject had to place a figure of himself near figures of other individuals. There was a clear relationship between physical stigma and distance between the subject’s figure and that of the afflicted person. Those with broken arms were placed near the subject’s figure, while those with amputated limbs and clubfeet were placed at a median distance, and finally figures displaying obesity were placed at the greatest distance.[43] R. E. Kleck et al. (1968) found in similar studies that those with nonphysical defects (epileptics, the mentally ill) were placed at a greater distance than those with visible ailments. In an interview situation subjects assume a greater distance between themselves and those with physical handicaps than those without handicaps (R. J. Comer and J. A. Piliavin, 1972). In tribal societies people behave quite similarly (K. Schlosser, 1952a, b). Deviant behavior apparently elicits not only rejection but also fear, presumably because the individual’s behavior is unpredictable.

People react less vigorously to violations of customs, depending on their perceived severity. Such behavior is disapproved and mocked and leads to isolation within the group but rarely to actual expulsion.

Rejection often occurs without insight and even against better judgment. Could it be that we react innately to norm deviation with rejection? Two mechanisms appear to be operating here. One is via a mental template in which some ideal configuration of the human physical constitution of the particular ethnic group is presumed; a template by means of which a well proportioned human body and a delicate face are regarded as beautiful but as repulsive and alien if modified by disfigurements and disease-related changes. Adults certainly have conceptions of beauty, and a general consensus or beauty of the human body is apparent when we compare the art of highly developed cultures such as Europe and Asia. Naturally there are ethnic variations of the human beauty ideal. There is also the universal inclination toward intolerance of someone who is deviant, which enforces conformity. That phylogenetic adaptation plays a role in these reactions is indicated by the fact that man must be educated to become tolerant, while intolerance is observed in children at an early age without any special instruction. They laugh and deride without being taught to do so and must be restrained to acquire tactful tolerance. One must not overlook the fact, however, that education often reinforces these dispositions especially when the training encourages intolerant attitude toward minorities.

Our interpretation that phylogenetic adaptations contribute to this sphere of behavior is supported by the fact that norm-preserving aggression is observed in chimpanzees and many other vertebrates. J. van Lawick-Goodall (1971) describes high ranking chimpanzees, who after falling ill with poliomyelitis were attacked by their former companions. The healthy animals displayed distinct fear of the partially paralyzed chimpanzees, who moved forward with great effort by dragging themselves along the ground on their posterior. The handicapped chimps sought contact and did not perceive that they themselves were eliciting fear in the others. They looked behind themselves for the cause when they noticed the “fearful grinning” of their healthy cohorts, and searched more intensively for contact, which was not offered to them. Some of the paralyzed chimpanzees were actually attacked. Hugo van Lawick finally had to protect one of them (McGregor). Eventually the group became accustomed to the paralyzed members, although they did not offer them any physical contact, which must have been difficult for the paralyzed ones to endure. Chimpanzees typically delouse each other as a sign of attachment which quite obviously requires physical contact. Jane van Lawick- Goodall (1971, p. 185) poignantly described the situation:

The most painful moment of the entire ten days from my point of view occurred one afternoon. Eight chimpanzees had collected in a tree about sixty paces from McGregor’s sleeping nest, and they deloused themselves mutually. The sick male looked directly at them and now and then uttered a soft grunt. Chimpanzees normally devote much of their time to social skin care, and the old male had to abstain from this important contact since the outbreak of his disease.

Finally McGregor raised himself, with great effort, from his nest, climbed to the ground and made his way, haltingly, along the long path to his conspecifics. When he finally reached the tree, he rested a while in the shadow and finally expended his last strength to climb up until only a short distance separated him from two of the males. With a loud groan of joy he extended his hand in greeting toward them, but before he could touch them they jumped away without looking behind at him and continued their grooming on the other side of the tree. Old McGregor sat motionless there fully two minutes and stared toward them before finally letting himself down to the earth.

In prehistoric times it was no doubt important for each member of small groups to be able to predict the behavior of the others. Furthermore, the maintenance of specific cultural norms allowed for a rapid demarcation against “others,” accelerating cultural evolution. In our modern pluralistic society, norm-preserving aggression is more likely to be disruptive and maladaptive. It is precisely the “outsiders” whose artistic and scientific accomplishments can contribute to society’s welfare. Thus teaching tolerance is germane, particularly in the sense of a readiness to understand, which does not necessarily imply a general acceptance of every deviation including sexual deviance to criminality. One can be prepared to understand a great deal but at the same time one is permitted to make value judgments.

Teaching tolerance and the acceptance of the handicapped is a necessity that must be fostered. It can be helpful to understand that the tendency to be intolerant is a biological disposition that must be brought under control with insight and appropriate education. G. H. Neumann (1977) suggests that the handicapped be included in regular classes in school, a concept worthy of consideration. This would improve the chances of acceptance for physically handicapped individuals. On the other hand, the prospects to become integrated into a community of normal juveniles are less bright for seriously disfigured and mentally disturbed individuals. Here, a separate schooling may be the lesser of two evils, since the severely handicapped would be confronted with nonacceptance in addition to their handicap on a daily basis, and the nonhandicapped could be severely burdened.

Group identity is defended whenever there is a real or imagined threat. Intergroup relations between different ethnic groups are therefore often strained and dominant cultures often endeavor, either by force or persuasion or a combination of both, to assimilate the weaker groups. Some argue that world peace may finally be achieved when all cultures are merged into one world culture. This Utopia is, however, counter to the evolutionary trend, which constantly creates new variations, giving birth to novel ideas and fostering flexibility.

I am in favor of plurality and feel that a social contract which guarantees each ethnic group survival within their traditional borders could create an atmosphere of tolerance and acceptance, thus taking the sting from ethnocentricity.

As a biologist, I encourage respect for cultural differences.[44] The merging of all cultures corresponds to a huge homogenizing process and with the disappearance of each culture (even if only a tribal “primitive” culture) is the concomitant loss of values. Furthermore, it appears to me that a humanity reduced to a single “world culture” would significantly reduce its adaptive potential, which is based on variation, and that could become highly dangerous. Each culture represents an attempt at mastering the problems of survival, and in the wealth of cultures mankind achieves an adaptation spectrum that could be significant in a crisis. Furthermore, even if a totally unified humanity were produced, “equality” could only be maintained by repressing any new ideas and life styles in favor of conformity. It is fortuitous to perceive a value in maintaining the greatest possible cultural diversity; thus, populations react against threats to their identity and it is highly unlikely that a world sharing a single culture could develop. In this sense those traits that incite us to maintain ethnic identity and territorial integrity are not necessarily only a disruptive, archaic heritage, developed from intergroup competition in the past, and something that is no longer adaptive today. They should also be considered as positive mechanisms of cultural sustenance as long as they do not escalate to ethnocentric domination over and intolerance of other groups. Teaching respect for others and value differences should counter such a possibility.

Summary 4.10

Humans develop “in-group” feelings and delineate themselves from others by emphasizing contrasts and, in turn, by developing unique cultural characteristics. Group-specific norms are defended. Group members deviating from norms become targets of regulating aggression, which are played out in a similar manner in all cultures known to us. Gossiping about and mocking of deviant behavior results in the “realignment” of the deviator. If this norm-enforcing aggression is ineffective, the offending individual runs the risk of being ostracized. The outsider reaction is a norm-maintaining mechanism that also occurs in anthropoid apes (chimpanzees). In the small group it was necessary that all members behaved within a certain range of group norms (i.e., predictably). The tendency for intolerance can be disruptive in a pluralistic society and appropriate education must be instituted to counter it.

4.11. Territoriality

4.11.1. Universality and Manifestation of Territorial Behavior

Most higher vertebrates (birds, mammals, reptiles) are territorial. They maintain specific areas known as territories as individuals or in pairs or closed groups, and these territories are defended against intruders. Possession of territory demonstrated by song (birds), scent marking (mammals), or specialized display behavior generally inhibits strangers from encroaching into an occupied territory. It is an open question whether the expectation of defensive retaliation or the existence of a norm of respect for possession (comparable to norms of respect for object and partner possession, p. 340) prevents a conspecific from intruding. There are birds that avoid conspecifics’ nests as soon as they have eggs in them, but even in communally brooding birds this is not the rule.

Man is also disposed to take possession of land and to delineate between himself or his group and other individuals and groups. Group members respect the territorial claim of another group member as his possession, as if following some primary norm involving respect of possession. These moral inhibitions against territorial trespassing are less defined if the potential intruder does not know the territory owner. Fear of retaliation then becomes the stronger force to keep the potential intruder from trespassing and conquest.

Territoriality can be expressed by either physical or social boundaries and likewise can be defended by physical aggression or by social and ritual means. For instance, various Australian aboriginal tribes claim their land on the basis of inheritance from totemic ancestors. The spirits of these ancestors guard the territory, particularly sacred sites, against anyone trespassing without permission. Territoriality does not mean that others have absolutely no access to the area in question, but rather that they have to acknowledge ownership by requesting permission to enter the area in a specific way. Territoriality refers to any type of land-bound privileges assuring access to resources. As long as a threat of intrusion is absent, one often does not notice any manifestations of territorial ties to an area. But once such a threat appears, the social relationships of ownership in the group are projected onto the land. As I was told by K. Budack (pers. commun.), the Nama had never demarcated the broad infertile Namib strip which marks off the coastal area where they live from the hinterland as their territory. But once the authorities sought to use this strip as a nature reserve, the subsequent Hottentot protests clearly showed that they indeed regarded it as part of their tribal range.

In most cases, human group territories are protected by the mere knowledge of the possessors’ readiness to defend the territory, with force, if necessary.

For a number of reasons, I will explore in detail conventions developed quite early for the mutual respect of territorial rights. Unfortunately, such conventions have not always worked, and fear of revenge remains the greatest constraint against territorial intrusion.

That humans are innately disposed for territorial behavior has been questioned. A rejuvenation in the 1960s and 1970s of the Rousseauian conception of the noble savage led to the image of the peaceful primeval man. Paleolithic man allegedly lacked territorial demarcation and defense but lived in open fluid communities whose composition was constantly changing. Only with the origins of agriculture were the first fences supposedly erected, and only then was land regarded as a possession to be claimed and defended. Thus peace was violated in the world!

V. Reynolds (1966) and R. B. Lee and I. DeVore (1968) point to the apparent peacefulness of most of today’s hunter/gatherer societies and to observations that 321 allegedly demonstrate that chimpanzees, our closest relatives, live in open, nonterritorial bands. The peacefulness ascribed to chimpanzees, however, has had to be revised substantially in recent years in view of new findings. In her first publications, J. van Lawick-Goodall wrote that chimpanzees indeed lived in open groups, but after many years of field observations she perceived an entirely different picture: Tn the early days of my study at Gombe I formed the impression that chimpanzee society was less structured than actually it is. I thought that, within a given area, the chimpanzees formed a chain of interacting units with the extent of an individual’s interactions with other chimpanzees limited only by the extent of his wanderings” (J. van Lawick-Goodall, 1968). “Subsequent observations showed that this was not the case” (J. van Lawick-Goodall, 1971).

Now it is known that chimpanzees live in fairly closed groups, of which each possesses a group territory. A group of adult males comprises the center of such communities, the males being more mobile than individual females belonging to the group. The group territory is defended by males controlling the territorial boundaries in troops (J. Goodall et al., 1979):

Chimpanzees taking part in patrols tended to travel in close compact groups. Travel was silent, with frequent pauses to look and listen. Often an individual stood bipedally, to see over the tall grass or stare down into a valley or ravine ahead. From time to time the party stopped and sat silently, watching and listening: sometimes they climbed into a tree; at other times they sat, often within arms reach on some ridge overlooking a neighboring valley (p. 25).

These animals are clearly on guard in silent watchfulness. If they discover abandoned nests of other chimpanzees, they inspect them olfactorily, often displaying and destroying the nests. Sometimes, although not always, females also participate in such patrols, following the males leading the troop.

If the males see or hear members of other groups they threaten by shaking branches, stomping against tree trunks, and calling loudly. They also throw rocks at the strangers. If the strangers cannot withdraw quickly enough, they will be attacked. Attacks are targeted against unfamiliar females as well as males (J. Goodall et al., 1979).

Other serious attacks were seen in 1971, prior to the community division by Bygott (1972, 1974). In the first instance, five males (Mike, Humphrey, Satan, Jomea, and Figan) suddenly raced forward, there was an outburst of screaming and barking, and when Bygott caught up he found some males attacking, while others displayed around an unhabituated female. Finally she escaped; Humphrey next appeared, holding an infant chimpanzee, between 2 and 3 years old, which he and Mike killed by eating. They tore it on arm and leg, despite the fact that the infant still screamed and kicked . . . . (p. 32)

Females often take part in attacks on strange females. J. Goodall impressively describes how a group gradually wandered apart and finally divided, whereby the stronger group attacked the weaker. In the end the stronger group had killed most of the weaker members. It appears that attacks are particularly brutal when the animals involved had known each other well before. J. D. Bygott (1972) determined that the most violent conflicts occurred between males who had not seen each other for a long period of time.

We can therefore maintain that chimpanzees are indeed territorial, and this is not exceptional primate behavior. This must be emphasized, as V. Reynolds (1966) claims, that the alleged peacefulness of the pongids formed the basis for man’s 322 primeval peacefulness.

One might then ask about territoriality among hunters and gatherers? H. Helmuth (1967), R. B. Lee (1968), M. D. Sahlins (1960), and J. Woodburn (1968) all claimed that modern hunters and gatherers are peaceful people lacking territories. I. DeVore (1971, p. 310) summarized their viewpoint as follows: “The Bushmen and the hunter-gatherers generally have what in the modern idiom might be called the ‘flower child solution.’ You put your goods on your back and you go. You do not have to stay and defend any piece of territory or defend fixed assets.”

This perspective is based on information from a few selected publications, for in the majority of studies on hunter-gatherers, they are neither described as peaceful nor as peoples without territoriality. W. T. Divale (1972) investigated the warfaring activity of 99 local groups of hunter-gatherers from 37 cultures. Of these, 68 groups distributed across 31 different cultures practiced war at the time the data were obtained. Twenty local groups from five cultures had ceased warfaring 5-25 years before data gathering, and the remainder reported warfare in the more distant past. Not a single group was claimed to have never known war. E. R. Service (1962) clearly showed that hunters and gatherers occupy territories, and of the twelve contemporary hunter-gatherer cultures described by M. G. Bicchieri (1973), nine were distinctly territorial. Details on the others are too inaccurate to make any assessment. But if we examine other literature we also find that they, too, are territorial. There are a great number of references in early ethnological literature demonstrating hunter-gatherer territoriality. Many of them, including the Patagonians, Andamese, and some Australian peoples were distinctly warlike.

Thus a detailed study of the literature disclosed that the peaceful hunter and gatherer or the “flower power” hunter-gatherer of the 1960s is a myth, but one that may be hard to dispell because it corresponds to the idealized conceptions of environmentalism. It is zealously cultivated in secondary and tertiary literature; thus W. Schmidbauer (1973) wrote an entire book on territoriality and aggression in hunter-gatherers without ever having observed a single member of such a culture. Eskimos, Pygmees, Hadza, and Kalahari Bushmen (San) are often taken as model examples of peaceful hunter-gatherers. However, none of them when studied closely, corresponds to the idealized conception. Fridtjof Nansen did describe the Eskimo as peaceful, but H. Konig (1925) showed that this picture is incorrect and that Nansen drew a positive picture of the Eskimo to elicit sympathy for these people, who at the time were severely oppressed by Europeans. There are indeed ample reports of territorial conflicts in the literature (e.g., H. W. Klutschak, 1881; E. W. Nelson, 1896; K. Rasmussen, 1908). More recently, R. Petersen (1963) cites hunting territories in western Greenland which are each claimed by a group. Those who intrude on such a territory risk their lives. “By no means may you hunt in an eastern direction—a father instructs his son—for Serquilisaq has his camp there. He killed your older brother just as he began to become a good hunter” (R. Petersen, 1963, p. 278). Petersen stresses, however, that it is difficult today to investigate the earlier territorial relationships because declining population and acculturation have led to abandoning previous territorial rights.

Only among polar Eskimo are there no reports of wars, possibly because there are few contiguous borders in their sparsely settled region. At present, their population is only 600 persons, and 50 years ago there were only 254! The small settlements are, on the average, 80 km apart. However, the polar Eskimo had armed conflicts with the Vikings, and conflicts often occur within communities, sometimes leading to homicide and blood revenge as a consequence (C. Adler, 1977).

The Pygmies are frequently cited as examples of peaceful hunters and gatherers; 323 C. M. Turnbull (1961, 1965) indeed calls them a peaceful people but adds that little is known about the relations between different Pygmy groups. This reservation is cited as rarely as the many express references to Pygmy territoriality. P. Sche- besta (1941) describes the forest ranges of the Bambuti as group possessions: “The intrusion of strangers for purposes of hunting and obtaining food is not permitted and leads to dissension and fighting. Neighboring groups with ties of kinship and friendship are granted the right to trespass the boundaries under certain circumstances. My observations show repeatedly that the Bambuti highly dislike traversing foreign zones and would do so only at my insistent urging or the command of the host, and then only for a short time. Pygmies are doubly shy and fearful on strange territory” (P. Schebesta, 1941, p. 274). Other references on Pygmy territoriality are found in M. G. Bicchieri (1969), M. Godelier (1978), and S. Bahuchet (1983).

J. Woodbum (1968) described the Hadza as nonterritorial, living in open groups. He first became acquainted with them after their original 5000 km2 range had been reduced to 2000 km2, and under these conditions one would not expect them to display their original pattern of territorial behavior. Earlier reports indicate that the Hadza possessed hunting territories and that they conducted intergroup warfare (L. Kohl-Larsen, 1943, 1958).

M. D. Sahlins (1960), R. B. Lee (1968), and I. DeVore (1971) maintained that the Bushmen of the Kalahari lived without defined territories in open, constantly changing communities. But R. B. Lee (1972, 1973) revised his earlier statements in view of subsequent studies, for he found that in fact specific individual !Kung Bushmen are owners of water holes and that visitors must formally address them when they wish to gain access to the sites.

It is actually puzzling why the Bushmen could be viewed as the prototype nonterritorial hunter-gatherers, since there is so much evidence to the contrary. Bushmen rock paintings from precontact periods depict battles small-scale intergroup warfare (Fig. 4.71) (H. C. Woodhouse, 1987).

There are also numerous earlier ethnological reports on territorial behavior (S. Passarge, 1907; B. Zastrow and H. Vedder, 1930; V. Lebzelter, 1934; F. Brownlee, 1943). All agree that the !Kung Bushmen could only gather and hunt in their own kin group or tribal regions and that trespassing other territories resulted in defensive reactions on the part of the owners. V. Lebzelter (1934, p. 21) writes “Foreign tribal regions may only be traversed by a Bushman without his weapons. Even at the edge of the farming zone the mutual distrust is so great that a Bushman sent as a courier to a farm where another tribe rules does not dare to stray from the roadway which is regarded as a kind of neutral zone: if two armed unacquainted Bushmen approach each other, they lay their weapons down within sight.” H. Vedder reports (1937, p. 435): “Each Bushman band possesses a region inherited from their fathers. Some bands even possess two, a summer area and a winter area, which have strictly defined borders. Should a Bushman be hunting or gathering in someone else’s range he can be sure that some day he will fall victim to a poisoned arrow. ...” The existence of defined territories and structured relationships to gain access to other’s resources apparently surprised the first observers, for the Bushmen have been envisioned as nomads lacking such territories.

Thus S. Passarge (1907, p. 31) stresses these ordered relationships: “The division of Bushmen in families has long been known. . . . But I never found any report that property is under family ownership. Yet this is a point of tremendous significance, for only taking this into consideration can one win a clear insight into 324 Bushman social organization.”

Figure 4.71. (a) Depiction of warlike activities in south African rock paintings of Bushmen. From D.F. Bleek (1930). (b) Bushmen rock painting depicting bushmen fighting people of larger stature (left). Farm Godgegeven near Warden, Drakensberge, South Africa. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt. (c) Paleolithic cave painting depicting a fight. Morelia la Vella. Castellon, Spain. Drawing after E. Hernandez-Pacheco. From H. Kuhn (1929).

The !Kung of the Nyae-Nyae region are afraid of other !Kung Bushmen (L. Marshall, 1959) and therefore, rarely leave their region. They consider themselves ‘‘real people” (Ju/oassi) in contrast to all other !Kung, who are considered to be foreign and potentially dangerous. The Kung Bushmen words for “foreign” and “bad” are one and the same: “dole.”

The !Kung do not own the land per se, but rather the strips of land on which produce grows: “It is these patches of ‘veldkos’ that are clearly and jealously owned and the territories are shaped in a general way around these patches . . . the strange concept of ownership of veldkos by the band operates almost like a taboo. No external force is established to prevent one band from encroaching in another’s veldkos or to prevent individuals from raiding veldkos patches to which they have no right. This is just not done” (L. Marshall, 1965, p. 248).

According to R. B. Lee (1972, 1979), the water holes of the various groups are in the possession of individuals designated as owners (K//ausi). A tribal region (n!ore) of 300 to 600 km2 surrounds each water hole and is the area that sustains a single group. An individual can inherit a n’.ore from father or mother, and relatives from other camps can hunt and gather there if they maintain appropriate relations with the owners and seek their permission. Permission is usually obtained by visiting the owner, living with him, and jointly exploiting his resources. These constraints show that there are privileges that must be respected. The borders between adjacent group territories are not sharply delineated. Water holes of various groups are often far apart, and regions are separated by a strip of no-man’s land. Lee claims that the Bushmen purposely maintain indistinct boundaries, but adds that this is merely his own presumption: “Though I cannot prove it, I believe that !Kung consciously strive against to maintain a boundariless universe, because this is the best way to operate as hunter-gatherer in a world where group and resources vary from year to year . . . Among the !Kung and other hunters-gath- erers, good fences do not make good neighbors” (1979, p. 334).

Note that his last sentence is italicized. Here he attempts to salvage his earlier thesis of Bushman nonterritoriality, and he further contends that despite all of this the Bushmen are nonterritorial. This is quite incomprehensible since he himself notes that visitors can live and gather among their hosts for a period of time but that a strange group passing through an area must formally request permission to doing so. “Visitors join residents in the exploitation of resources, and the day’s take is unobtrusively distributed within the camp at the day’s end. Later in the year residents will pay reciprocal visits to the visitor’s n!ore ... A different kind of situation arises when a neighboring group wants to make a camp within a n!ore separate from the owner’s camp. In this case, the neighboring people must ask permission of the owner group” (R. B. Lee, 1979, p. 336).

A Bushman explained to him the principle of acceptance and exclusion:

Within the camp people don’t fight over food, but between camps people could disagree. For example, if people from /Gam came up to eat the tsin beans of Hxore and one of us /Xai/Xai people happened to find them there, he might report back to us and we would start an argument with them . . . We would go there and seek out our in-laws in the /Gam group and say: Look we have given each other children and today we are (n!umbaakwe) /affines/ and the n!ore is ours (inclusive), but why when we weren’t here did you come and bring with you strangers to loot?—My in-law might reply: Oh, when I came here with them, I expected to find you here. How was I to know that you would be over there? But I understand your point and so I’ll go home.

If a group arrives from far away and wishes to camp within the nlore of another group, they must ask for permission with particular care: “Such a group must be especially careful to ask permission because it does not have a joint claim to the resources. By asking to camp, it incurs a reciprocal obligation to play host to the owner group at a later date. Usually if the visiting group is small and its stay is short, permission is freely given; but if the group is large and stays for months, the owner group may take steps to reassert its claim to the food resources” (R. B. Lee, 1979, p. 337).

Lee offers another interesting example of how a group demonstrates its individual possession. In 1968, about 40 /Du/da people penetrated a region under /Xai/Xai ownership. They harvested all the tsin beans and then withdrew. In the following year the /Xai/Xai appeared there 2 months before the main harvest and gathered everything as a demonstration of their ownership rights. They also told others that they would always maintain control over these beans and that the /Du/da should harvest in their own territory.

I have cited Lee extensively because his work is a good example of Bushman territorial behavior. Lee has shown that he is not only an outstanding observer but also an honest reporter; if he maintains that Bushmen are not territorial it can only mean he is using a definition of territoriality that differs from the ethological one. But in what way his definition differs is unclear to me. I presume that in his view territoriality must be expressed as continual defense. This is an opinion I have elsewhere heard and read many times and on which I responded some years ago (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1975) that such is not the case even with animals. Continuous conflict is prevented by having territories and thus an established order and only in extreme cases does a group owning a territory need to defend it; there are examples of this occurring in !Kung Bushmen. P. Wiessner (1977) reports that a land-owning group took up their bows and arrows and threatened another group when it attempted to dig a water hole on their land. Access to a territory is achieved through birth, marriage, and through the exchange partner (P. Wiessner, 1977).

G. B. Silberbauer (1972, 1973) confirmed territoriality in the G/wi Bushmen. Among the G/wi a group or individual visitor, who was not invited, will ask for permission to visit the region. Thus when in traveling they pass a territory of another band they formally ask permission to stay on the land and “to be allowed to drink water.” This is a figure of speech that is also used during arid periods when no water is available. Among the G/wi also, specific individuals are also regarded as owners of the band territory.

The question still remains of how fluid the Bushman groups are. Among the !Kung Bushmen, Wiessner (1977) analyzing her data in coordination with R. Lee’s data found that during the period 1964-1974, 22% of the /Xai/Xai population of ca. 150 Bushmen moved away permanently and 15% moved into the research area to live. Lee presumes that at least half of these movements were due to external changing factors, such as population pressure. In any case, a core group would be sustained. “Each n!ore contains a core of people with the longest time association. These people are generally accepted as owners, and it is these who are asked for permission to camp in an area. And the core group is by no means static. The ownership of the land passes from parent to child, but immigrants who come and stay for good are also gradually absorbed into the core” (R. B. Lee, 1979, p. 339).

In the !Ko Bushmen we find three levels of social organization, which are expressed in relation to the land (H. J. Heinz, 1966, 1979): (1) The family and extended family; (2) the local group (band); (3) the nexus. These three units are distinguished 327 by defined patterns of bonding and delineation from others. At the family level, there is a seating arrangement of family members around the fire. It is less strict than in the !Kung (L. Marshall, 1960), but normally a woman sits at the right side of her husband. Parents are expected to set up their hut at least 12 m away from their married children. Entrances should be arranged so that the married children cannot be observed as they sleep.

A !Ko achieves access to a territory through birth, adoption, and marriage, and married couples have access to the territories of both sets of parents. Even though each clan member can, in principle, gather and hunt anywhere within the entire tribal territory, there are zones claimed by families that are respected as such by the community. Thus a hunter working alone is expected to operate on the side of the band territory bordering his hut. Women collecting fruits and wood have similar obligations. This rule is lifted during group activities. During arid periods the band breaks into family groups who move to their own small areas which are respected by others. Although families have no exclusive territorial claim over such areas, they are respected in order that families be provided sufficient resources during times of food shortage. The common band region is clearly bounded and is described as a territory, with a headman exercising authority over this region. Visitors must deal with him personally. Several bands form a “nexus” (often referred to as maximal band) wherein nexus members regard each other as members of a larger alliance. In the !Ko there were no more than seven local bands within a nexus at the time of Heinz’s study. No local band contained more than 20 adults (Fig. 4.72). Marriage partners are generally sought from within the nexus and dialect differences also distinguish the unity of these larger groupings. Members of one nexus join for ritualistic occasions, such as for trance dances. The system offers security for local groups belonging to it. During times of emergency the members of various local groups of a nexus can request hunting permission within the territory of another local group, and such requests are never refused to nexus members. One would never expect similar cooperation on the part of a local group of another nexus since the nexus territory is exclusive. Generally nexus territories are separated from each other by a strip of no-man’s land. This does not occur in the territories of the local groups.

The social integrity achieved by the !Kung by the reciprocal exchange system (the hxaro system—P. Wiessner) is effected in the !Ko with the nexus system except that hxaro creates ties over a wider spatial area than does the nexus. The different systems may reflect local adaptations to ecological factors. The !Ko live in the central Kalahari, where plants and game are uniformly distributed, while the !Kung live on the edge of the Kalahari where important resources are very irregularly distributed and concentrated in certain areas. For example, the mon- gongo nut, which is the IKung’s staple, is found in unevenly distributed groves. Thus alliances among the !Ko are more limited in space than those created through hxaro among the !Kung which stretch over a vast region.

Earlier reports from the IKung and Heikom (R. J. Gordon, 1984) show that there were formerly chieftains who supervised numerous local groups (presumably a single nexus), but today there are no such authorities. Speeches that we recorded at an initiation ceremony indicate that special occasions (such as initiations) were the impetus for inviting members of another nexus for the event; these occasions also probably fostered contacts between quite different language groups (H. J. 328 Heinz, 1979).

Figure 4.72. The !Ko Bushmen nexus territories. Each nexus has its own name. Thus the Takatswane people are called !um Oani (= people who follow the eland antelope). After H.J. Heinz (1979).

I have dealt with the territoriality of Bushmen extensively because in recent years sociologists and environmentalistic psychologists have so often held them up as an example of the open, nonterritorial society, which clearly is incorrect.[16] Such assertions may have unfortunate implications for present-day hunter-gatherers, leading governments to view them as a landless lower class with no historical and thus present rights to land.

The above arguments do not imply that territoriality is a manifestation of a fixed biological imperative, as M. G. Guenther (1981) imputes to H. J. Heinz and myself. Guenther claims without supporting evidence that territoriality is a predominantly cultural mechanism of adaptation. We do not have such a polarized viewpoint. It is an anthropological constant which finds diverse cultural manifestations (see also I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1975). E. A. Cashdan (1983) has placed the various manifestations of territorial behavior for four Bushman groups in relation to their special ecological conditions.

Occasionally the possibilities to express territoriality are lacking. Besides the polar Eskimos, I know of only one hunter-gatherer people with no territorial ties who live in open communities. These are the Batak of the Philippines, who allegedly wander freely throughout their home range, which is rich in food. They have, however, been repeatedly and forcibly resettled in their claims to land and this has probably destroyed their territorial bond. A prior territoriality would account for the otherwise inexplicable fact that three clearly distinguishable dialect groups occur within the Batak. There must have been a period of relative isolation for each of them to develop. Today the Batak wander about freely, but they assume the dialect characteristics of the group which they join probably due to conformity pressure (K. Endicott and K. L. Lampell-Endicott, 1983).

In his detailed investigation, B. J. Williams (1974) shows that in present-day hunter and gatherers the mean size of local groups is about 50 persons. In the European upper paleolithic, the enormous size of many sites indicates groups of 100 to 300. Groups are most frequently patrilocally and patrilineally organized, with territoriality and a rather large marriage pool (connubium) that comprised some 500 individuals. These connubia generally represented the linguistically defined ethnic groups as well.

C. R. Ember (1978) studied contemporary views on hunters and gatherers in cross-cultural comparison and summarizes: “The data presented here suggest that some current views about hunter-gatherers may need to be revised. Specifically the data suggest that, contrary to current opinion, recent hunter-gatherers are typically patrilocal, typically have men contributing relatively more to subsistence than women,[45] and typically have had fairly frequent warfare.”

Territoriality is undoubtedly one of the universals, and our territorial disposition probably arises from early primate heritage. Territoriality makes life predictable. A Bushman cannot effectively hunt and gather if he or she does not know who will use which resources. Resource areas are allotted to a large extent to assure predictable and profitable hunting and gathering. Respect of possession is thus to everyone’s own benefit. This probably is the main reason why Bushmen respect each other territories. The territorial disposition can find all sorts of culturally modified expressions that can be understood as straightforward ecological adaptations.

The Australian tribes living in central arid regions can control and defend their large hunting and gathering grounds only with difficulty. Yet each local group maintains strict possession of its individual region by means of cultural institutions. Each group derives its territorial claim, as previously cited, from a totemic ancestor who had once lived in the area and whose spirit still watches over it. Particularly prominent local landmarks are interpreted as traces of the totemic ancestor who is usually defined as being half man and half animal. Round rocks are said to represent snake or emu eggs, depending on whether the region belongs to a snake or emu clan; holes in the ground are the caves where the totemic ancestor lived, and so on. The places where such landmarks are situated have been sanctified

Figure 4.73. (a) The sacred site of the totem snake Jara- piri (Ngama, central Australia). This is both a totem site and symbolic territorial marker of the Walbiri. (b) The enlarged rock drawing of the snake totem. Photo: I. Eibl- Eibesfeldt.

and are the ritual center of the group territory (Figs. 4.73-4.75). Only initiated males may traverse these sacred sites. Women and males of other groups are forbidden to visit them and violators are punishable by death. Those individuals from other ranges are discouraged from trespassing because of the watchfulness of these totemic ancestors, who bring misfortune to those who trespass.

The conception of ancestors guarding the region of their descendants is also found in the Melanesian-Papuan area. The Kukukuku tribe of Papua and New Guinea bury their dead on platforms in gardens as guardians. In the Eipo of western New Guinea, skulls and bones are reburied beneath projecting rocks within gardens, where they watch over the region. This discourages intrusion of outsiders, although conflicts over land are still frequent. In another ritualization of territorial rites, the Tsembaga represent ancestral presence by the sacred plant cordyline, which is found throughout New Guinea (R. A. Rappaport, 1968). They believe that their ancestors dwell wherever they plant cordyline. If, in war, a region is conquered by enemies and the residents are driven out, the enemies will not settle in the area until the residents have planted cordyline in their new home region, since with that the ancestral spirits also depart and the acquired zone becomes habitable. Thus protection by ancestors is a powerful means of territorial defense. In central Australian tribes there is yet another cultural institution practiced to discourage intrusion. Each local group carries out rituals on their sacred grounds for the welfare of their totemic animals, who in turn are believed to serve an [[important function. For example, the honey-ant clan, which is descended from a half honey-ant-half human ancestor, assures that honey-ants flourish; the emu clan does the same for emus. This does not only occur within a single territory but throughout the land. Thus if a clan were to die out, there would be no one left to care for the propagation of the affected animal, and such a loss would be damaging to the entire community. Such a practice helps inhibit ventures of land conquest. We will discuss such rituals again in the section on warfare.

Figure 4.74. Stone Churinga of the honey-ant clan of the Walbiri of Mt. Allen. The large central circular figure represents a pan in the northeastern part of the Yuen- dumu settlement, where ground water is found. This is where the honey-ant ancestor of the tribe lived. He traveled out from here, creating hills and other landmarks. These places are designated by additional circular figures, with lines marking the pathways. Only initiated males possess stone or wooden churingas. They are a clan crest reminding them of their initiation at which they received this sign of identification. Churingas become sacred upon the bearer’s death and are then kept at sacred sites. The men can read the history of their totemic ancestor on these objects; women may not look at them. This symbol identification ideologically bonds men to their territory and group. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

M. J. Meggitt (1962) observed that under these conditions each conquest of a new region would produce great embarrassment on the part of the conquerors, and T. G. Strehlow (1970) and N. Peterson (1972) also stress the significance of this mythical bond with the land. Peterson speaks quite correctly of ritualized territoriality. “I would suggest that clan totemism is the main territorial spacing mechanism in aboriginal society. By contrast with animal territoriality, however, aboriginal territoriality is inward looking, sustained by beliefs and affective bonds to focal points of the landscape and the cultural symbols associated with these points” (1972, p. 23).

Figure 4.75. At male initiations the clan signs and clan history (wanderings of the totemic ancestor and other events) are painted on the ground and on rocks. This is a ground drawing of the Emu clan. After N. Peterson (1972).

In these Australian tribes the young men learn to identify with their region from their extensive initiation travels under the leadership of their elders, and they acquire detailed information about the borders and the productivity of their territory. This ritualization of territorial encounters and the development of the bonding system require time to develop.

The observations of Volker Heeschen (1979-1981) in Irian Jaya (western New Guinea) are related to our discussion. In the In-Valley, which has only recently been settled, each village is at odds with the others. During war engagements there are no distinctions drawn between “archenemies” and those foes with whom reconciliation is possible. War between neighboring villages is not condemned morally. In the Eipomek Valley, which has long been settled by peoples of the same linguistic group, there are in contrast all kinds of alliances, and a valley community is fostered by group initiation of boys of all ages and by other mechanisms. A community ideology is fostered and hamlets are not isolated from each other. Men’s houses are made up of men from different clans. In the In, even clansmen from individual village communities separate themselves from others. It is noteworthy that the In utilize an ideological means to express territorial acquisition through sanctifying particular sites within a new region. According to Heeschen, specific trees, springs, streams, caves, and other land features are sanctified. We found similar practices among the Eipo. But the fact that demarcation through sacred objects occurs soon after land acquisition is particularly significant. It is comparable to governments erecting national monuments (quasi sancta) which function as symbols of identification and territorial demarcation.

In New Guinea, the differences between tribes belonging to the same linguistic group and living in the same habitat can be substantial. In those areas where land acquisition recently occurred, these relationships take time to develop. We find a comparable situation in the Yanomami, who recently pressed into the upper Orinoco and its tributaries from the Serra Parima. In this case, however, alliances between individual villages were formed that were particularly fragile. Attempts to avoid war between all parties have not yet been successful.

Ethnologists have often demonstrated the diversity of cultural manifestations of territorial behavior. According to M. Godelier (1978) the WoDaasse Peul, nomadic shepherds in Niger, have no territories. They infiltrate the farming regions of the Hausa, who permit them to use the fallow land and brush in exchange for services and products (sheep). Other shepherds also traverse the land, but custom regulates their temporal rhythms so that conflicts are avoided: the individual groups lay claim to territorial rights purchased from the region owners on a temporal basis only. Alternate use of the same territory by different shepherd peoples is also known in the nomads in southern Iran and Mongolian shepherds (F. Barth, 1959; D. Lattimore, 1951).

Peoples occasionally live in diversified biotopes (those with different vegetation zones) arranged according to altitude. Thus in southern Iran in the upper part of the Zagros Mountains there are Turkish-speaking tribes who live by camel breeding. Iranian-speaking tribes reside on the lower part of the Zagros. They raise horses and small domestic animals. Finally, in the foothills, there are Arabicspeaking tribes who support themselves by breeding dromedaries.

There are also societies in which people utilize different territories in various locations, as the Inca once did (J. Murra, 1958, 1972). 333

R. Dyson-Hudson and E. A. Smith (1978) have attempted to explain the various forms of territoriality using a cost-benefit model. They argue that territories are only formed when a region is economically defensible. Thus the western Shoshoni, who are sparsely settled in the arid Western Basin, are said to have no known territorial claims. Various families gathered at sites where nuts ripened and where there was a surplus food, without making any property claims. The only possessions were eagles’ nests. In contrast, in the neighboring fertile district of the Owens Valley were Paiute territories that were defended. However the more northerly Shoshoni, who cooperatively hunted buffalo on horseback, again were nonterritorial (J. H. Steward, 1938). However, these findings have been contested (E. R. Service, 1971). Furthermore, the example of the Australian aborigines teaches that large, thinly populated regions can indeed be “economically” defended, namely with the help of mythical totemic ancestors guarding the region.

Dyson-Hudson and Smith add that a group can change from nonterritorial to territorial if it modifies its life style. The northern Ojibwa[18] were allegedly nonterritorial big game hunters (although this is poorly documented), but later when they began hunting small game they became territorial. Finally, the two authors stated that a group may be considered territorial or nonterritorial depending on which possessions are used for reference. The Karamojong of Uganda defend their cultivated fields and their cattle but not their grazing areas. However if someone should bring his herds into the region in which another herd was already grazing, he would have to ask permission to stay there. If it is a time of emergency (an arid period), intruding Karamojong would be repulsed. Members of other tribes trespassing Karamojong territory are always attacked (N. Dyson-Hudson, 1966; N. and R. Dyson-Hudson, 1969, 1970). R. Dyson-Hudson and E. A. Smith (1978) wish to demonstrate with these examples that territorial behavior does not depend upon some genetically fixed characteristic:

Although (as with all behaviors) the capacity to demark and defend territory must have some genetic basis, human territoriality is not a genetically fixed trait, in the sense of being a fixed action pattern, but rather a possible strategy individuals may be expected to choose when it is to their advantage to do so. Analyses arguing that territoriality is an evolutionary imperative or conversely a political aberration of basic human nature, do not seem to us to have explanatory validity (p. 36).

Although we basically agree with their premise, a few corrections are in order here regarding precise terminology. The ethological concept of the fixed-action pattern is a specific one consisting of a motor sequence (see fixed-action pattern, p. 25), and ethology has never equated territoriality and fixed-action patterns! True, R. Ardrey (1966) overshot the mark with his “territorial imperative.” K. Lorenz once said jokingly in my presence to an English reporter, “Robert Ardrey stuck out my neck.”

It would be worthwhile to investigate which contexts and under which conditions man’s territorial disposition develops. This includes observing human behavior in specific contexts such as taking possession of a beach spot on the coast, a place in a park, or a table in a restaurant, and there are a great many studies on these kinds of phenomena.

4.11.2. The Need to Maintain Distance

In the discussion on ambivalence operating in interpersonal relationships, we stated that humans are both attracted to others and simultaneously fear them, the latter not necessarily on the basis of previous negative experience. We react with shyness to specific characteristics of the other party, and the disposition to behave this way is one of the universals in human behavior (p. 170). Social fear is alleviated with personal acquaintance but remains a principal characteristic of interpersonal human behavior. As a result, we maintain varying degrees of greater distance between ourselves and others depending on the amount of confidence we have in the other. Visual contact invariable elicits arousal.[46] A need for privacy on a family basis (for each family) exists as well as a need to be left in silence or “left alone” amid others. But the need to be completely alone and private is an extension of this need in our society. Privacy in the true sense of being completely alone is by Bushmen only desired for sexual intercourse and defecation.

E. T. Hall (1966) investigated human distance maintenance under a variety of conditions, founding a branch of ethology known as “proxemics.” He found that people of different cultures utilize different, culture-specific distances; thus northern Europeans maintain a greater distance between themselves than Mediterraneans and Arabians do, and from this Hall distinguished between “contact” and “distance” cultures. However, other studies have not succeeded in clearly confirming Hall’s findings. These somewhat contradictory results may arise from the fact that the investigators did not differentiate between interactions with strangers and those with acquaintances. According to A. Mazur (1977), noninteracting strangers maintain a similar distance when sitting on a bench regardless of whether the culture is a contact or a distance one.

As a rule, distance varies directly with acquaintance, but there are exceptions. In a Tyrolean country inn, one often sits as crammed together as in a Bushman hut. However, even in the closest of families one does not always like to be tightly packed with others. Babies even control their social engagement and thus their arousal level by intermittently looking away from the mother during social play. E. Waters, L. Matas, and L. A. Stroufe (1975) observed that small children interacting with strangers also manipulate their own arousal by looking away. Pulse rate in small children increases with visual contact. If the child’s glance is diverted from strangers, their pulse rate slows. Interpersonal interactions, even friendly ones, are often arousing. Each organism requires intermediate phases of rest and recovery, humans most particularly, since we prefer to think and operate in an atmosphere without tension (see play, p. 580). Perhaps the need and the special human capacity of displacing oneself and creating a relaxed, tensionless field, is closely related to man’s evolution as a tool user, which requires intense concentration for periods of time and concentration requires freedom from external disturbances. Apparently this need for privacy is fairly strong. For example, in the kibbutz, where collective experience is vigorously propagated, the inhabitants develop diverse strategies for maintaining individual privacy (A. Davis and V. Olesen, 1971).

S. Bayer-Klimpfinder (pers. commun.) observed in overcrowded Viennese postwar kindergartens that as children engaged in various interactions with each other, some individuals would also sit alone under a table for a while. For the privilege of being away from others and alone for a while, they would waive food and dispense with toys. This need for privacy finds expression in various ways in many cultures. The inclination to avoid contact with other people is greater in mass society where we encounter so many strange faces and thus are subjected to more stressors (p. 177). This gives the impression of a greater degree of unsociability compared with people living in kin-based societies, but we must be careful to make adequate comparisons in order to reach fair conclusions. Thus if we compare interpersonal reactions of kin-based societies where each members knows the other, we do find very similar interaction patterns. One searches both for contact and for time alone. Even among the Bushmen of the central Kalahari, whose small huts stand closely around an open area, the privacy of the family is maintained. The individual can always remove himself from the group if he wishes. This is then a mechanism for reducing dissension. If tensions arise between two families, they can disperse themselves in the field and alleviate difficulties. In the Yanomami (Waika) one can also seek solitude from the group. If one visits a Yanomami village for the first time, one would initially think it inconceivable that privacy could be found here. The large lean-to roofs, often joined to each other, surround a central square, and from his home one can see all the neighbors as well as those opposite his sector. But with the arrangement of the hammocks and specific conventions, each family is allotted its own privacy if so desired. Thus if someone lies in the hammock avoiding visual contact with others, he will be left alone. Thus even here, where everyone lives within view of others all the time, there are subtle shielding mechanisms. This conforms with the cross-cultural findings of A. Westin (1970) that man seeks quiet derived from a need for reducing stress.

Various strategies for displacing ourselves from others and maintaining a distance are at our disposal. We can retreat to a quiet corner and, if necessary, verbally announce that we wish to be alone for a while, to read or do something else, and such wishes are generally respected by adults. If someone disturbs this peace, they do so apologetically, for we are all aware of the increased disposition to defend a private sphere once an individual has withdrawn from the group. Defensive reactions are often manifested in this situation. Disturbances are upsetting, and our verbal reactions vary from the appeal of “Leave me in peace!” to the angry, threat-accompanied “Out!” with all conceivable gestures of rejection of the intruder. N. Felipe and R. Sommer (1966) investigated the behavior of females reading in public libraries. Assistants of the investigators disturbed the readers according to a specifically defined protocol. The readers clearly considered the intruder’s behavior obstrusive if the assistant sat at the same table while other tables in the immediate area were unoccupied.

If we occupy a table we feel we have an unwritten right to possess it for the duration of our sitting there. This was confirmed in studies by M. L. Patterson, S. Mullens, and J. Romano (1971). Others also respect this right by politely asking if they may also occupy the extra space. In a train we will look into a compartment and ask if space is still free, a convention used even if the compartment is only half occupied and it is obvious that no one has left temporarily.

If in the above cited study the assistant sat at an already occupied library table, 336 his behavior elicited defense behavior on the part of the reader. If the intruder


slid the chair closer, the occupant erected barriers such as a ruler or a stack of books or oriented away from him. Finally, many observed subjects abandoned the spot when the intruder moved too close.

Violation of personal space may occur without approaching another person. One can achieve the same goal by persistently staring strongly at someone, or utilizing various postures and behavior, all of which result in symbolic intimacy that invades the individual’s personal space (M. Leibman, 1970). This can consist of verbal intrusion effected over a distance. In many cultures the existence of a personal relationship and thus differential distance relationships is expressed with formal or familiar address forms or simply with the use of specific names (first name, nickname, etc).

Intrusion on personal space causes physiological excitation that can be measured as changes in skin resistance (G. McBride, M. G. King, and J. W. James, 1971). Fear elicited by violation of personal space is manifested in displacement activities (fidgeting, scratching oneself, stroking the chin, etc.). Approaching men elicit more conflict movements and thus greater fear than approaching women, who tend to abandon the field more quickly than men when subject to personal space intrusion. There is a clear relationship between fearfulness and distance maintenance, for the more anxious the person, the less close he permits others to approach (literature cited in I. Altman, 1975). Clothing and body scent can also serve to maintain distance. P. D. Nesbitt and G. Steven (1974) arranged for colorfully dressed men and women to get into admission lines into an amusement park. Someone standing behind a loudly dressed subject maintained a greater distance from them than from someone dressed conservatively. Displaying individuality can thus sometimes be provoking and serves to maintain distance. This is the reason that individuality is hidden in the anonymous mass society (p. 625). Similar phenomena operate in animals. When cichlids swim in schools their display coloration is switched off, but once they occupy an area and become territorial they become quite colorful again (N. Tinbergen, 1951).

Strong odors from perfume or after-shave colognes tended to increase interpersonal distance in Nesbitt’s and Steven’s studies. Male test persons distinguished male from female undershirts by odor and found male undershirt odors unpleasant, without knowing the sex of the wearer (B. Hold and M. Schleidt, 1977). This may be related to the stronger tendency in males in our culture to maintain distance from other males. The studies of D. A. Booth and M. D. Kirk-Smith (1980, cited on p. 426), found that seats in a dentist’s waiting room became less attractive to males after being sprayed with androstenone, while they appeared to become more attractive to females.

People not only protect their individual space but also respect the space of others. They hesitate to break into a conversation (E. S. Knowles, 1973; J. A. Cheyne and M. G. Efran, 1972) and will ask pardon, lower their heads, look at the ground, and briefly behave submissively toward those who are standing in their way if they are forced to pass. These space intrusion inhibitions are particularly strong when two individuals of the opposite sex are involved.

A. H. Esser (1970) and R. J. Palluck and A. H. Esser (1971a, b) observed the behavior of 21 severely retarded children in a richly equipped study room. Each of the children occupied his own part of the room. At the beginning, many conflicts occurred between themselves. However, struggles ceased once a child gained possession of an area. At that point a brief threat sufficed to prevent someone from intruding into their space. This is an interesting documentation of the pacifying 337 effect of a division of space! It is noteworthy that the territorial behavior of these severely mentally handicapped children (IQ below 50) was more developed than in normal children, and less modifiable by educational efforts.

Division of space leads to a social organization that gives the children security in that the possessor has priority and his privileges are respected in that space. This shows that territorial behavior can have an organizing, conflict avoidance function enabling animals as well as man to maintain an intimate relationship with some part of the environment. Such areas are associated with shelter, escape routes, nourishment, and places for hiding; we move with greater security through such areas than we do in unfamiliar terrain.

Groups move in the street as closed units and also make detours as a unit, for instance, when someone on a stairway attempts to press between the group. Body postures convey a number of nonverbal signals indicating to approaching others whether the group is closed and thus intrusion is unwelcome, or whether the group is open to joiners (E. S. Knowles, 1972; R. D. Deutsch, 1977).

For all human interactions there are preferred distances whose trespass is experienced negatively. This distance is smaller among acquaintances than strangers. I. Altman (1975) summarized the relationships graphically; further literature is found in Altman as well. E. T. Hall (1966) distinguished between various interpersonal distance zones: intimate distance is the distance from 0 to 40 cm, the distance at which physical contact occurs. Personal distance varies from 40 cm to 1.20 m (4 ft) and is a transition zone to the social distance (1.20 to about 4 m), which Hall designates as the normal distance. This is the interval maintained between people who are not closely acquainted. The public distance of 4 to 8 m is used by a speaker and his audience.

One might assume that these distances are all learned: “The development of personal space is gradually learned by children” (I. Altman, 1975, p. 101), something that is no doubt correct for culture-specific manifestations of the phenomenon. But the disposition to maintain distance is the result of maturational processes, fear of strangers being just one of its manifestations.

We maintain distance according to the degree of intimacy, and our personal space is carried about with us like an invisible bubble. Territory, on the other hand, is a defended area occupied either permanently or temporarily and which we share, if at all, only with an exclusively selected group of persons. Our homes and yards are examples of such territories. Within the residence each family member has a small zone for himself such as his bed, a place to sit, etc. Outside of the home, the block where one lives is often a secondary territory for the inhabitants. In large American cities, individual neighborhoods are frequently occupied by different ethnic groups. I. Altman (1975) observed that the children of two adjacent neighborhoods in an American city, one Jewish and the other of Irish descent, defended their blocks against intrusion from the other group. Only in the morning, when the children went to school, could they traverse neighborhood boundaries without any qualms, on the basis of a silent agreement.

Territories are often marked, even if they are only temporarily occupied and, as R. Sommer and F. D. Becker (1969) found, are also respected, which increased with personal acquaintance. A jacket draped over a library chair or a pair of glasses on a table are effective means of saving one’s place. This may derive from the fact that we respect object possession, a point discussed subsequently (p. 340).

In a study in Connecticut, J. J. Edney (1972) found that persons who used warning signs on their property (“Keep Out,” “No Trespassing,” etc.) had resided 338 longer in the neighborhood or intended to remain longer than others who did not utilize such signs. They also reacted more sensitively to the presence of strangers in their neighborhood and responded more quickly to the doorbell. Territorial groups also formed on Connecticut beaches (J. J. Edney and N. L. Jordan-Edney, 1974).

Larger groups and mixed sex groups lay claim to a smaller per capita area than smaller ones and same sex groups. Women maintain a smaller personal space than men. These findings have been established in both French and German subjects (H. W. Smith, 1981). Cultural comparisons show that territorial behavior for individual space varies considerably across cultures. The French require much less personal space than the Germans.

Studies of urban graffiti (D. Ley and R. Cybriwsky, 1974) and street symbols in Belfast, northern Ireland show that the symbols are used at the periphery of group territories and are directed toward unfamiliar outsiders, serving as aggressive border delineators. In the territorial center, graffiti functions to transmit information, demonstrate group loyalty, and reinforce group identity (F. Boal, 1969).

Summary 4.11

Human groups occupy territories and demarcate themselves territorially. They claim certain privileges within their territory and are also prepared to defend the territory if necessary. Territoriality does not first appear with agriculture, for it occurs in hunter-gatherers. Since our closest primate relatives are also territorial we may assume that this characteristic is a phylogenetically acquired trait. It is manifested in diverse cultural forms dependent upon specific ecological and historical conditions. They influence the form of group delineation and demarcation and thus the rules according to which territory access is granted (but not the principle itself). Within its own region a group claims privileges above those of others and therefore is dominant there. Within group territories there are subgroups (such as families) and individuals laying claim to their small zones, marking them accordingly on the basis of time or duration. Humans maintain individual distances between themselves. Territoriality is an ordering principle that helps prevent continuous conflicts both within and between groups. In general, a territorial claim is respected by other parties.

4.12. Origin and Social Function of Possession

The word possession in the sense of a “claim” or “belongings” originally referred to a location under someone’s dominion. Thus a territory can be a possession.

The term property, on the other hand, designates those objects that belong to someone, whether they be physical objects, ideas, or the love of a partner. Today the linguistic distinction between possessions and property is becoming obscured, and both are often used synonymously. But the origin of these two is based upon different forms of ownership. We shall investigate the roots and social aspects of possession. Ownership is often described as an evil, especially the concept of private ownership, and there is no lack of “radical humanists” (E. Fromm, 1976), who associate ownership with egoism and greed without recognizing its positive aspects, for instance, one must own before one can give.

The concept of property can be used for material or nonmaterial entities (M. Godelier, 1978): land, water, objects of various types, rituals, knowledge, and even social ties. Ownership is characterized by the relationship of a person or 339 group of people to that entity and is manifested by the person exercising control over the object and defending it when required to do so. We will show in the following discussion that object and partner possession is respected due to a primary norm of respect of possession. There are many motivations for ownership, not all of which are necessarily related to some drive to possess. The presumption that all these various manifestations were due to an encompassing possession drive would be speculation, at least at the present level of scientific understanding. Animals acquire objects and assume relationships to them when they are required to fulfill particular objectives. These objects may fulfill metabolic or other needs but can be other expressions of possession, such as a mother defending her young. If the possession is threatened, the animals will defend it. E. Beaglehole (1932) wrote that there could be no “acquisition instinct” as such, to which we agree. Possession occurs in different functional contexts.

L. Furby (1978) stresses that ownership in children is a means to an end: “Possessions appear to be seen as a means to an end—they allow one to do what one wants” (p. 312). Possession enables one to do what one would like to do, so Furby postulates a competence motivation as the chief drive for possessive behavior: “. . . it is postulated that effectance of competence motivation is a major motivation for possessive behavior: The possibly universal desire to experience causal efficiency leads to attempts to control objects in one’s environment. Further, since one’s concept of the self is at least partially defined by that which one controls, it is hypothesized that possessions are one constituent of a sense of self—they are experiences as an extension of the self’ (p. 331). The desire to extend one’s abilities must be one reason for wishing to possess but certainly not the sole motivation. The motivation to acquire objects for instrumental purposes concerns primarily those that we can use as tools. But attachments to other individuals can also be utilized as “possessions.”

Humans thus possess in diverse functional contexts, and these forms of possession may be differentially motivated.

4.12.1. Object Possession, Food Sharing

Food is possessed by animals and also shared, especially in connection with infant care. As previously discussed, parental feeding leads to forms of ritualized food offering, such as the courtship feeding of many birds (p. 134) and as kiss feeding in humans. In many cultures infants are fed prechewed food from mouth to mouth, and are offered water in the same manner (p. 141). This kiss feeding can also be an expression of intimacy between adults of different sexes. The kiss is derived from kiss feeding and is found as an affectionate gesture among people of the most diverse cultures and races.

Humans also give food to one another by hand, and such a food transfer requires coordinated action. The disposition to give something must be present as well as the expectation that one is to be given: that one receives when one extends his hand and therefore that the desired object does not have to be snatched from the partner. The one giving offers the gift and releases it at the appropriate moment. Each giving, sharing, and exchange presumes the existence of some norm of respect of possession without which there would be no object transfer. The presence of a norm of respect of possession has highly significant consequences for social object transfer interactions. For example, it determines the strategies of making requests (p. 349).

In our closest relatives, the chimpanzees, possession of food is respected and, in highly specific situations, other objects are respected as well. Chimpanzees hunt small gazelles, colobus monkeys, and young baboons. Once prey has been seized, a great deal of excitement can erupt. But once possession of the prey has been asserted (in the first minutes after its capture, usually by the hunter), fight for the prey discontinues. The high ranking animals sit by and are given some of the food. The owner tears up the prey and hands out small portions to others, who sit around him in expectation with their hands raised as in begging. High ranking members who own prey spend many hours skillfully dividing out small portions to group members, thereby considering each member of the troop (G. Teleki, 1973). This interaction reinforces their positive relation to the others. Usually males hand out morsels from prey. Females share plant food with their young. In the Gombe Reserve, McGrew (1975) recorded 157 instances in which bananas were distributed. In 381 cases (86%), mothers gave bananas to their young, and in 47 cases (10%) adult males gave bananas to unrelated females.

Chimpanzees also extend their hands as if begging when they seek social contact with high ranking members or when they desire some specific object. If a chimpanzee female wants a banana, for instance, she lies before a high ranking animal and extends her open hand to him. Once the dominant animal touches her hand, she may take the banana without fear of repercussions (Jane van Lawick-Goodall, 1968).

Sharing of meat between group members also occurs in human subsistencebased societies with high ranking individuals being responsible for the distribution. Here, too, the esteem of the highly ranked individual is related to his skill in distributing to others. In the Eskimo, Bushmen, and many other hunters and gatherers, prey is divided according to set rules which may be highly specific or very general. The right to divide is granted to the successful hunter who is considered to be the possessor. Skillful distribution confers status while the opposite often incites conflict. Among the IKung Bushmen, meat distributed to a man’s affines (in-laws) is often given in bulk to the father-in-law or somebody who “knows their hearts.” This person, in turn, redistributes the meat so as to avoid conflict. In larger groups united by a chieftain, this top ranking person cannot produce everything himself and instead receives tribute for his position as distributor of goods. Since skill is required for effective distribution only socially gifted individuals can attain leadership positions.

Children display a disposition very early in life for sharing with others. They play giving and taking games with their reference person many times throughout the day. Children offer food as a strategy to establish friendly contact before they are able to speak (at 10-12 months of age). They understand the friendly intent of others offering something to them and respond in a friendly way (Figs. 4.764.79). Particularly noteworthy is the fact that they understand that rejecting a gift is an insult and use this behavior when they are annoyed.

Third and fourth grade boys were found to be less generous in sharing with good friends apparently because their relation was stable and no particular reinforcement by sharing was needed. They were very sensitive, however, to any signs of discord and responded to any threat to their relationship with increased generosity (E. Staub and H. Noerenberg, 1981). When a boy refused the candy offered to him by a friend, the latter was inhibited to eat the candy and renewed his offers. Investigations of food sharing among boys and girls aged 5-8 revealed that girls were the more active food sharers. Furthermore, they tended to share with every member of their group, generally offering to the entire group (“does anyone want my. . . .”), while boys were more inclined to offer food to specific 341

Figure 4.76. One-year-old children gladly share objects, usually in a feeding context. Here a 1-year-old girl sitting on her mother’s lap feeds another woman well known to her. Note the coordinated movements of the baby's mouth. From a 16 mm film. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Figure 4.77. Yanomami infant feeding its older sister. Note that here the baby also opens its mouth to be fed in return. This feeding, in turn, gives rise to an extended dialogue of giving and receiving, described in Ethology: The Biology of Behavior. From a 25 frames/second 16 mm film, frames 1, 40, and 154 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl- Eibesfeldt.

Figure 4.78. The disposition to give an object often conflicts with the desire to keep it. A Biami girl (New Guinea) begs to a boy who is eating something. He responds with a threat gesture, whereupon she closes her hand but continues to await a morsel. Shortly after he gives it to her. From a 25 frames/second 16 mm film, frames 1, 21, 51, and 55 of the sequence. Before(e) inter

ruption. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Figure 4.79. An adult woman requests a 5- month-old Yanomami infant to give her something to eat. The baby first smiles, then makes the rejecting expression with lowered forehead wrinkles, pulling his possession to himself, and refuses to give it up. From a 50 frames/ second 16 mm film, frames 1, 122, and 157 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

individuals. Dominant children tended to be the most active food traders (R. Dyson- Hudson and R. van Dusen, 1972).

With the development of tool cultures it became vital for an undisturbed group life that people respect not only food but also other objects as the possessions of others. It is scarcely possible that an harmonious group could be maintained without an inhibition of theft. For instance, weapons are of the most vital importance for the hunter or warrior, and he must reliably be able to pick them up after having laid them down; no one else may take them in the meantime.

An Eskimo would perish if someone took his boots while he slept. Since we may presume that a norm of respect of possession regarding food developed prior to the origin of tool culture, no new adaptations had to be developed since those already existing served the function.

Since both inhibition against taking something away and the disposition to give objects already existed, these rules would have only to be transferred to other objects. In a National Geographic Society film portraying the field research of Diane Fossey, one sees a gorilla male observing the researcher as she takes notes lying on her abdomen. He approaches her after a while and grabs her pencil. He then moves off a few steps and examines it: sniffs at it, turns it about, and examines it from all sides. Then comes the extraordinary aspect of this event: he goes over to Diane Fossey, gives her the pencil, and takes the notebook! Once again he moves off so he can investigate this object closely, and again he returns and gives her the book after he has satisfied his curiosity. Baboons and macaques would never behave this way! They would simply drop the object once their interest had dissipated.

In addition to this incidental observation we have no knowledge of object possession in gorillas. Since gorillas, unlike chimpanzees, do not hunt and need no tools, only vegetables and fruits could play a role as objects for possession in daily life. But perhaps the ancestors of these anthropoid apes were once on a higher developmental stage than today and needed tools, as A. Kortlandt postulates for chimpanzee ancestors.

In humans, objects are important in social relationships. They are used as means of self-portrayal and are also used to develop and reinforce social contacts.

If we observe small children and infants making friendly contact with family members and strangers, we will see a well-developed tendency for the child to give food or a toy as part of that contact activity. Klaus Stanjek (1979) recorded the manner in which preschool age children made contact with others of their own age. Objects played an important mediating role in this context, as the following data in Table 4.10 from a German kindergarten illustrate.

In another study Stanjek recorded how children in a Munich pediatric ward established contact with adults. Of 275 contacts with strangers, 155 were transitory; the children displayed signs of timidity and avoided further contact. They went away, for example, after initially approaching the adult; they restricted contact to a smile and then looked away, appearing embarrassed. There were 120 instances of friendly, extended contacts with associated interactions, and these contacts included utilizing objects in 76 instances (32 times the child extended an object to the stranger, and 44 times the child showed the stranger an object).

The act of offering is also a strategy of aggression inhibition. The evaluation of film scenes from our cross-cultural documentation from contexts of offering something during an aggressive encounter showed that acceptance of the offered object reduced the level of aggression between the concerned parties (R. Schropp, 344 1982).

Table 4.10. Contact Initiation in Young Children

Object contact initiation Other forms of contact initiation

43 Giving 71 Touching, pushing, addressing
39 Showing 82 Following
9 Demonstrating 12 Imitating
7 Sharing 10 Smiling
6 Tossing toward
_ _
104 175

In a French study, friendly contact and appeasement were the consequences of over 50% of all instances of object offering (H. Montagner, 1978).

Friendly contact initiation by means of an object has been verified in nonhuman primates, albeit in much less differentiated form. In humans objects are also shown by holding them up, pointing at them, or talking about them. In western society it is common to have many types of small items as "conversation pieces” about the house, and they play a role in facilitating social interaction.

In all cultures we investigated, we have observed the giving and extending of objects as a strategy of friendly contact initiation and for purposes of reducing aggression. As stated earlier, the disposition to give and share objects is well developed in children at an early age. Even toddlers will give up objects when requested to do so as long as the request is not understood as a command. If objects are simply taken away from a small child it will protest, usually successfully. H. Muller and K. Kiihne (1974) investigated object conflict in kindergarten groups. In most instances, the child originally possessing the object won the dispute. The child who brought the object from home or had received the object in exchange or as a gift or was the first one to take possession of it and play with it (rule of priority) was considered the owner. The authors showed that children without such established rights to specific objects displayed more signs of uncertainty (automanipulation) than the “rightful” owners. The violation of the norm “The Owner has the Right to Use an Object” led to uncertainty in unrightful owners. A thief felt from the beginning that he had no right to an object and acted with uncertainty. Thus even at this age the norm of respect of possession plays a significant role. According to an investigation by R. Bakeman and J. R. Brownlee (1982) even the 2- to 3-year-old obeys a “prior possession rule.” And if they played with an object, they were also more successful in defending it. From the second year onward, children start to obey to a shared social rule of possession. Only toddlers are guided by a rule of dominance. During the ontogeny a change takes place from the rules of power to the rules of law. Social learning theory does not explain this shift. The rules emerge quite spontaneously in the context of peer play “not as a result of cultural intervention, but simply as a consequence of a fundamental human propensity to regulate interaction in a ruleful manner” (Bakeman and Brownlee, 1982, p. 99). Learning seems to be channeled by a phy- logenetically acquired disposition, so that only moderate encouragement from the environment is needed.

Our cross-cultural documentation demonstrates the universality of these principles. Some key observations may serve as illustration (Fig. 4.80-4.84).[20]

Sharing is governed by a rule: one only gives up something willingly when the partner formulates his request and behaves in such a way that indicates respect for the other’s possession. An imperative demand is aggressive and is only tolerated when a substantial rank differential exists between the parties and giving occurs in response to fear. One can also demand something with the intention of challenging or provoking another person. If one wishes to avoid this, one must formulate his request so the partner does not feel compelled to give up the object but can freely decide whether to keep it or not. Thus the question is often veiled with allusion, perhaps initiated with a commentary such as, “You have such a beautiful feather!” (compare V. Heeschen, W. Schiefenhovel, and I. Eibl-Eibes- feldt, 1980). The person being addressed knows then that the partner would like to have the object but is given the chance to explain why he will not give up the feather, perhaps simply because this is his only one. Praise of an item is a very common form of request in many cultures.

In particular ritualized contexts, equally ranked members can make mutual demands. In the contract songs of the Yanomami, demands and counterdemands are carried out in a form of formalized disputes displaying all the transitional stages between friendly bonding rituals to outright conflict.

Metaphor is used for valuable objects. Thus among the Yanomami machetes are called “Wife of the White Man.” Another interesting characteristic of gift giving in these Indians is the downplaying of the value of the object in question, which is in effect a self-degradation. This inhibits an escalation in mutual displays of generosity whereby the gift giving would become an aggressive demonstration, as we described in the potlatch ceremony of the Kwakiutl (p. 308). “Take this skinny dog ... he cannot do much” says a Yanomami giving his dog away (K. Good, 1980). Requesting, demanding, and giving are apparently guided by a universal set of regulations structuring verbal and nonverbal interactions of this kind in the same way, even throughout the various stages of ritualization (V. Heeschen, W. Schiefenhovel, and I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1980). We will return to the theme of giving and gift exchanging when we discuss the cultural differentiation of various gift-giving rituals.

Gifts establish friendly relations, and food gifts play an important role in this context. In Japan it is customary to attach a small artificial fish to gifts as a symbolic gesture. In all cultures, gifts of food and providing one’s guests with food is one of the most important acts of hospitality.

Objects can fulfill important functions in interpersonal relationships. Giving is originally a friendly act (Figs. 4.82-4.84). One gives something to create ties with another and to fortify that friendship. Giving is also done spontaneously to block or redirect aggression. All these activities presume the existence of ownership, i.e., the relationship between a person and an object and the readiness to defend that object, and is undoubtedly an ancient disposition.

Figure 4.80. Snatching and return of an object. A female Yanomami toddler approaches her playmate with two leaves in her hands. While settling down, her friend snatches one of the leaves, placing it behind her back. Her friend does not notice it, but offers the remaining leaf to her playmate, which she had apparently brought for this purpose. Her playmate accepts the gift and returns the leaf that she had snatched as if aware that it does not belong to her. Frames 1, 109, 166, 193, 283, 372, 402, 421, 504, and 554 from a 16 mm film taken at 50 frames/second. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Figure 4.80. See legend opposite page.

Norms governing respect of possession of objects are probably of more recent origin than those concerning food (defining them as the disposition to respect another’s ownership rights). They arose in social animals to avoid conflicts between group members, with analogous development in several primates and social carnivores (G. E. King, 1980).

The ability to give and receive probably developed with infant care and became incorporated secondarily into adult communication. The diversity in associated cultural rituals represent variations on the theme of the elementary interactional strategy of giving, which infants command before they are able to speak. Objects permit differential social interactions and foster friendship, provided that the objects are regarded as possessions. This fact has been overlooked in some (e.g., Kibbutz) experiments in which it is considered desirable to abolish the sense of private possession.

Experimental attempts to eliminate individual possession in children by instructing them that objects belong to everyone did not lead to the desired objective (M. E. Spiro, pers. commun.). The children in the kibbutz learned that no possessions were privately owned. Nonetheless, these children maintained the tendency to regard specific objects as their own, and since they had to continually defend these beloved objects from the attempts of others to take them, the children became correspondingly more possessive.

In children objects are also a means of self-portrayal used to ascertain recognition by group members and also as weapons in the struggle for rank position. These strategies may be due to phylogenetic disposition since they occur in children and adults belonging to all cultures investigated.

Man also possesses knowledge and “shares" it with others. Privileged information is an important bonding element in many organizations. Children develop secrets spontaneously, and they skillfully use the sharing of secret information to elevate their individual positions.

4.12.2. Social Bonds, Rank

Man displays distinct possessive behavior in his personal relationships. Children zealously defend their bonds to mother and other reference figures, with pronounced rivalries often developing between siblings. Adult relationships are similar, although some authors maintain that one cannot possess love any more than one can possess a partner; E. Fromm maintains that to possess in that way would be "pathological.” However these assertions do not conform to observed and subjectively experienced reality. Lovers do indeed possess each other and will defend their possession just as they regret the loss of love as a concrete loss. The decisive characteristic of this situation is the mutual ownership, and this reciprocity distinguishes a loving relationship from object relationships (I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1984).

However, a feeling of reciprocal relations with objects can be attained by projecting human characteristics and emotions onto the objects, as the intense attachments that can be developed to specific beloved objects[21] such as children have for dolls, teddy bears or blankets used as a parental substitute when sleeping (K. Stanjek 1980, M. Mitscherlich, 1984), or which adults in similar fashion use as a talisman or as a partner substitute.

Figure 4.81. Two Yanomami (Serra Parima/Venezuela) girls eat berries. One shows her friend her blue tongue. After the girl on the left has eaten her berries, she impulsively reaches for her friend’s berries, who withdraws her food. At this time the first girl notes her violation of etiquette and waits, holding her hand out. When she indicates through her behavior that she respects the other girl as the owner of the food, it is willingly given to her. From a 16 mm film. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Figure 4.82. Gifts create a friendly atmosphere. Here a small G/wi boy receives a twig from an adult. The boy’s face brightens and he moves off, slightly embarassed. From a 25 frames/second 16 mm film, frames 1,7, 15, 31, 62, and 98 of the sequence. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Partners are also defended as a possession in nonhuman primates. In fact, partner possession is respected. Females defend their young and males will defend their mates in those species that develop long-term bonds. We can also observe in such instances that others respect individual ownership of a partner. Male ha- madryas baboons (Papio hamadryas) collect small groups of females into harems, and if they see a lone female they will approach it and in a specific manner summon it to join the harem. H. Kummer, W. Gotz, and W. Angst (1974) caught a group of female hamadryas baboons in one area and released them in another area. Several males immediately advanced from different directions to the lone female. Once a male reached the female, the others turned away and no fight ensued. Apparently a rule of priority operates by which the first male reaching a female gains possession. Rules like this foster group harmony.

We also consider social rank positions and roles as possessions. We respect the rank positions of others and will defend our own rank if necessary. Humans can allot rank positions to others, or take them away should someone fall from 350 favor.

Figure 4.83. Children utilize giving to facilitate friendliness among playmates. Here an approximately 3!6-year-old Himba boy greets his friend by giving him a piece of paper he found as a symbolic gift. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

Figure 4.84. In many rituals people give, host, and feed one another, as here in the Balinese tooth filing ceremony. Mutual feeding, in particular, has a bonding effect and is characterized by a powerful quality. At the conclusion of the Balinese initiation ritual (“mapandes”) the initiates feed one another. The couples joined by a shawl stick morsels of food in each other’s mouth. This prepares them symbolically for marriage, which should be characterized by being good to each other. Reciprocal giving and receiving is considered to be the basis of marriage partnership. Photo: I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

4.12.3. On the Ethology of Gift Exchanging

In his monograph on gifts, which has become one of the classic anthropological works, Marcel Mauss poses the question: "What is the basis of right and interest that determines that in a backward, archaic society a gift given compels one to give another in turn?” (M. Mauss, 1968, p. 18). In other words, what is the driving force in the dedicated gift giving that makes the receiver reciprocate? His studies led him to make the following general conclusions: (1) The giving of objects primarily fulfills a social function. (2) There is an obligation of gift giving, receipt of same, and an obligation to give in turn.

This cycle produces a functional entity serving group formation and reinforcement. All objects—women, food, children, goods, talismans, property and soil, labor, services, priestly offices and rank—are objects of giving and regiving.

The many customs of gift giving and primitive trade primarily fulfill social functions in Mauss’s view, and these originally had priority over economic functions.

However Mauss strays too far afield when he claims that man developed into an economic being only in recent history in western society. This is an exaggeration, for even at the stone age level useful objects were exchanged. Thus, the Eipo of western New Guinea obtain their blanks[47] for stone axes from a neighboring region since the necessary materials do not exist in their area. They trade net bags and food materials, e.g., <em>Saccharum edule,[48] and obtain wood for bows in like manner. Trade also bonds individuals. Thus in western societies it is customary to break off trade negotiations when there are political disagreements. The Eipo foster trade from family to family using specific trade partners, and these partnerships are even inherited. Even where no exchanging of goods is really essential because the necessities of life are abundantly available to all, gift exchanging still takes place. For example, the mutual exchanging of bamboo arrowheads between Yanomami has only the function of establishing and emphasizing social ties.

B. Malinowski (1922) observed that the kula system of the Trobriand islanders should not be considered conventional trade. Kula is a gift exchange restricted to chieftains and is used to unite spatially disparate tribes. Trobriand islanders are well known as superb sailors and traders, and the alliances resulting from chieftain gift exchanges no doubt fostered secure trade relations throughout a wide region. In the kula system, tribes were united from Dobu (d’Entrecasteaux Islands), Kiriwina, Sinaketa, and Vakuta (Trobriands), Kitava (Marshall Bennet Island), Tube-tube and the Woodlark Islands, and the southern tip of New Guinea. Simply stated, the kula system consists of a kula partner giving specific gifts to another. The gift is kept only a short time before sending it to another individual until finally the gift returns to the original donor. Gifts sent in this circulating manner include a necklace made out of red mother-of-pearl plates from spondylus shells (Soulava) and of mother-of-pearl armbands from conch shells (Mwali). The two prestige objects are sent around the islands in opposite directions, armbands counterclockwise and necklaces clockwise. There are also gifts exchanged that do not make the complete circular route (Figs. 4.85, 4.86).

Gifts are exchanged with utmost modesty. After the donor has ceremoniously brought the gifts to the soundings of a conch shell, he excuses himself for only bringing remnants. He throws the gifts at the recipient’s feet or will hand over the necklace with the words: “Here is the rest of my food from today; take it” (B. Malinowski, 1922). We have already described instances of self-deprecating behavior in comparable situations. In ethological terms this is an act of appeasement that should foster acceptance of the gift since with this solicitation should come receipt and the incumbent obligation of mutual exchange.

The figures of speech and magical incantations accompanying the ritual exchange indicate that hatred and war ai e sworn off and that trade should take place peacefully: “Thy rage ebbs, the dog plays—thy anger ebbs, the dog plays. . . .” The relations between trade partners are characterized by ambivalence.

B. Malinowski’s (1922) findings indicate that the people of Kiriwina, for example, fear the people of Dobu. The Dobu man, as those from Kiriwina reported to Malinowski, is not as good as they. He is a cruel cannibal, and the Kiriwinans would be afraid of visiting Dobu. But if they would expectorate the magical ginger


Figure 4.86. The circulating valuable objects of the kula ring: armband (left) produced from conch shells and the necklace from the pink spon- dylus shells. From R.M. Keesing (1981).

Figure 4.85. The kula ring: necklaces (Soulava) are exchanged in clockwise motion from island to island, while armbands (Mwali) are sent in counterclockwise manner. Exchange pathways are indicated by dashed lines. From R.M. Keesing (1981).

root[49] the Dobu men would be quite transformed. They would lay down their spears and receive their visitors most courteously.

Besides this kula exchange occurring between different islands there are smaller, local ceremonial trade transactions among the island populace. Food products are the most important trade items; particularly large yams roots are considered prestige objects.

Intra-island kula exchange fosters mutual security for the island inhabitants, since there are occasional harvest failures that would leave entire villages without food. In such cases they receive food products from those villages with an abundant food supply. Communities are encouraged to overproduce and maintain reserves. Harvests are used competitively and there is status associated with maintaining surpluses. Individual families are awarded for their harvests in intervals of 1 to 3 years, and the harvest is kept on display in yams houses (p. 310). Possession of edibles cultivates esteem but also makes public those that have abundance and can afford to distribute some of their reserves. One keeps as much as possible until the next harvest and then throws away the rest. Particularly large and beautiful roots of other yam varieties are given as gifts. They are not eaten, but are hung up, painted, and often framed in wood along the sides of the homes or the yams storage sheds. Those who produce a large harvest are highly esteemed and maintain their stocks for those who lack food. The stocks, then, are used for distribution to others. Baskets with yams are given as gifts at various occasions. According to W. Schiefenhovel and I. Bell-Krannhals (1986), 83% of the harvest presentations goes to the nearest relatives (Fig. 4.87 and Table 4.11).

In addition to group-bonding functions of gift giving, many forms of exchanges contain an element of competition (as in the kula and the potlatch festivals), the principle being that one attempts to outdo the other in such a way that he is not in a position anymore to reciprocate and therefore in obligation. By such fighting with gifts “dominance relations can get established.” The bonding function of giving, however, seems to be the predominant one. M. Harris (1968) in his history of anthropology, downplays the significance of Marcel Mauss’s discovery. According to Harris, Mauss discovered some subjective motives of the individuals that would compel an individual to behave in a particular way regarding production, distribution, and consumption, but these “social” reasons had nothing to do with the real causal factors, which were more economic than social. Harris opposes Mauss’s attempt to glean a social function from the potlatch festival and the western

5 transactions

1 transaction

59

MoSiHu

MoSlDa

WiBrSo

Figure 4.87. Recipients of harvest gifts for Ego compiled from data of all donors, Harvest 1984, Kaileuna Island, Trobriand, After W. Schiefenhovel and N. Bell-Krann- hals, 1986. eBr, Ego’s brother; Fa, father; Da, daughter; Si, sister; MoBr, mother’s brother; MoSiSo, mother’s sister’s son; MoSiDa, mother’s sister’s daughter; MoSiHu mother’s sister’s husband; WiBrSo, wife’s brother’s son.

Table 4.11. Sociobiological View of Harvest Gifts'

Kinship degree Recipient[6] n Transactions %
50% eBr 25 49 83
Fa 19
Da 2
Si 3
25% MoBr 5 5 9
12.5% MoSiSo 2 3 5
MoSiDa 1
“0”% MoSiHu 1 2 3
WiBrSo 1

“Total transactions at harvest in Kaileuna 1984; n = 59. After W. Schiefenhovel and N. Bell-Krannhals, 1986.

[6]eBr, Ego’s brother; Fa, father; Da, daughter; Si, sister; MoBr, mother’s brother; MoSiSo, mother’s sister’s son; MoSiDa, mother’s sister’s daughter; MoSiHu, mother’s sister’s husband; WiBrSo, wife’s brother’s son.

celebration of Christmas: “The comparison of course is perfectly apt on the psychological level, but one does not have to be a Marxist to sense that there is another dimension to our Christmas madness. Why is an intelligence so subtle in other respects, unable to penetrate to the not-so-deep function of Christmas purchases in an economy whose productive capacity has reached ahead of the power to buy and consume” (M. Harris, 1968, p. 488). But Harris errs when he sees the economic reason as the sole ultimate cause. Ethological findings support both an economic and social function for giving. As discussed earlier, one cannot give unless one possesses. Possession has its roots in an orderly distribution and respect of possession of economically essential (and nonessential) resources.

Giving, as discussed earlier, most likely has its origins in the mother-child relationship with both an economic and social function.

In the discussion on ritualization we showed that infant care behavior in many birds and mammals led to the development of numerous bonding rituals. They are used during courtship, are the elements of many greeting rituals, and they also function to facilitate social ties in everyday interactions.

Giving is extended to more distant kin in order to create social ties with the function of reducing economic risk, as clearly demonstrated by Wiessner’s investigation of the hxaro (p. 293). In his paper on reciprocal altruism, R. L. Tri vers (1921) made the intriguing speculation that many human cognitive capacities, particularly abilities to calculate, developed hand in hand with reciprocal altruism, because of the dual social and economic function.

Gift giving as a friendly act is dependent upon reciprocity that is generally delayed over time so that an obligation remains. The !Kung Bushmen thus develop an interrelational network of hxaro exchanges with specific exchange partners and the system serves a security function (P. Wiessner, 1977, p. 380).

For these reasons, giving usually has both economic and social elements, with some transactions being more economic and others more social. In western societies economic and social giving is more clearly delineated than in kin-based societies, making giving relatively conflict free. In kin-based societies, economic and social factors are so intertwined that giving is often conflict-ridden and the constant subject of conversation.


From the mutual aspect of gift exchange relations it follows that there is an optimum for giving. On one hand, to give too much is dominating, but, on the other, to be stingy is frowned upon. Keblob in the village Dingerkon in the Eipomek valley of western New Guinea gave sweet potatoes from his garden to other village inhabitants on a daily basis. He was a diligent gardener and produced a large crop, and the locals said he had a great “garden soul.” The distribution of food had provided him with a great deal of joy, for every morning he had come to our hut beaming, placing his sweet potatoes there. And we occasionally overheard him talking to himself in his hut about whom he should give some sweet potatoes the next morning. He was considered to be the “sweet potato bigman” and was afforded high esteem. In 1981, when he suddenly became lame, the entire village in turn cared for him.

When someone gives so much, the recipient cannot reciprocate without difficulties, and thus such lavish giving is only acceptable in stratified societies in which the giver’s position authorizes him to do so. Chieftains are also given tribute for distribution and thus for creating bonding in the group. In less hierarchically organized tribal cultures the individual who gives too much is considered to be either stupid or to consider himself a “big shot.”

Thus if someone gives more than another can return, he or she assumes a dominance position, and giving can deteriorate into a struggle in which the gifts are the weapons. The potlatch festival of the northwest coast Kwakiutl Indians is the classic example of this form of gift-giving. Chieftains invite others to their festivities and attempt to shame them with their generosity. In boasting songs they praise their might as they distribute blankets and other valuable items, and even go so far as to destroy some of their wealth.

But even where giving is not intended to outdo the other party, objects play a role as a means of display. !Kung Bushmen adorn themselves with beautiful works of beads, which also circulate as gifts. In carrying about these artistic works on their bodies they portray themselves as worthy exchange partners in the hxaro exchange system. A similar function occurs in the decorated warriors of the Mt. Hagen area in Papua, New Guinea, who in dance depict themselves with body adornment as rich, healthy, and thus important and capable (A. Strathern, 1979).

Interesting changes take place in transforming the everyday object to one of value. An object derives its value from the materials, time invested, and skill of the craftsman. The Eipo of western New Guinea produce net bags and trade them for stone blanks coming from another region (see above). Net bags are valued objects, and when the men dance they bear particularly large net bags as decorations on their backs; sometimes the net bags are adorned with feathers. The dance net bags are used only ornamentally, even though they are fully functional. The In, who belong to the same linguistic family and live in an adjacent region, use net bags as pure decoration. The broad, but shallow, net bag is kept spread with a stick and (in the Yali) is covered throughout with feathers. It is merely a substrate for the decorative feathers. These decorative net bags are useless as containers and were never constructed to have any significant capacity.

In other regions one can observe a similar development in axes. Axes are treasured trade articles since their production requires a great deal of labor, and the stone materials for axes are not readily accessible. Once again, more laborious production elevates the value of the object, so the axes are carefully polished by hand (additional investment of labor). Such valued pieces are not used as axes, but are particularly well suited for paying bride wealth. Thus an everyday object 356 changes from a utensil to a form of money.

Trade developed largely from reciprocal exchange systems. If inequalities are intended, trade turns into competition for domination and debtor communities can fall into a position of dependency.

Mauss recognized the social function of gift giving, which Harris at best considers as individual motivation but does not recognize its selective value. Furthermore, Mauss demonstrates the universality of the principle of reciprocity. Its importance in social interaction became clear to me upon observing the worship of a stone symbolizing god Shiva in the vicinity of Katmandu (Nepal). The stone was given gifts, decorated with flowers, sprinkled with milk, given coins, and tinted with colors. This was followed by a simulated reciprocity: one person partook of the dyes previously spread on the stone and adorned his forehead with it, and also took the flowers as if they were a return gift. In short, the participants acted as if Shiva was giving gifts in return.

The willingness to give is balanced by the disposition to defend if someone should attempt to take away something. This would contradict the recently postulated theory of giving as derived from tolerated theft which N. G. Blurton-Jones (1984) proposes because he finds it difficult to imagine the initial mutative appearance of altruism within a population; a lone altruist would therefore be at a disadvantage. He overlooked the fact that with maternal care, which evolved by individual selection, came care-taking behaviors and thus the readiness to give. Thus all members of a population are equally preadapted to give objects and therefore to behave altruistically. Since blood relationship is not directly perceived as such, but in general is inferred from intimacy of living together, the step to extending familial relations to unrelated members of small groups was certainly not particularly difficult.

Certainly one must calculate costs and benefit for each act of sharing and giving. Since within the small group each member is closely related to the next and groups also appear as units in selection, it is advantageous to foster friendliness. Giving to unrelated members must, however, take place on a reciprocal basis.

The individual is generally protected from excessive giving by the disposition to keep items and which together with the readiness to give forms an adaptive system. Education can enhance one or the other inclination, so there is a danger of overstepping the optimal in one direction or the other. Greed and indiscriminate altruism are maladaptive deviations from the norm.

Observations of children show that obligation for reciprocity is felt. Its origin is still unclear, but it is a need that has been found universally. In fact there is such a strong impulse to reciprocate that psychologists speak of a compulsion to reciprocate. In one study, D. T. Regan (1971) had students assess the quality of paintings. They did this together with other students who were assistants to the investigator. During a brief pause, the assistant left the room, only to return after 2 minutes either with two bottles of Coca-Cola (giving one to the other student in the test) or empty handed. In each situation the assistant behaved in an identical manner. After all of the paintings had been evaluated, the assistant asked the fellow student if he would purchase several lottery tickets, because if he sold the most tickets he would win a $50 prize. Those for whom the assistant had done a favor purchased more tickets than those for whom he had not. This obligation to reciprocate is used in sales promotions when free samples are given. Often such gifts are forced upon the potential customer.

Apparent compromises operate according to the same rule. One first requests something unreasonable, then retreats from the original demand and thus obligates the other to make some reciprocal gesture, often eliciting behavior the person 357 would not have done otherwise. In a highly popular and lucid work, R. B. Cialdini (1984) gives a most impressive related example. A Boy Scout approached him on the street and asked him if he would purchase a ticket for a Boy Scout event for 5 dollars. He refused, but the Boy Scout responded by asking him to at least buy some of his chocolate candy bars, which only cost 1 dollar. Even though Cialdini did not like chocolate he purchased some. The boy had made a concession by offering something less expensive as an alternative, and Cialdini incurred a particular obligation as a result. This corresponds to behavior at negotiations for example when unions first make excessive requests. R. B. Cialdini (1975) investigated the phenomenon experimentally. A person asked various zoo visitors to accompany a group of retarded children visiting the zoo; most people refused to do so. In the second part of this experiment a group of young people were asked to volunteer several hours of work per week for the handicapped over a 2-year time period; most of them refused. The investigator then asked as a concession that they simply accompany a group of retarded children on a zoo visit. Three times as many young people agreed to do so versus the number in the first part of the study.

Levi-Strauss (1969) elaborated on Mauss’s ideas into a theory of reciprocity of all social relationships. The universality of this phenomenon led him to postulate a structural unconscious by which all human conceptions become structured in similar ways.

The generalization of the theory of reciprocity to all social phenomena contains an important principle. The social system can be conceived as a reciprocal exchange system in which even women are treated as exchange items. Indeed, marriages are often planned, for purposes of forming specific alliances. Attempts to explain the origin of the incest taboo as a consequence of this, however, do not hold up well. Thus, Levi-Strauss argues that since it is forbidden to form attachments with one’s sister or other women within the incest taboo as sex partners, they become available as objects to establish relations. This is to some extent correct. The incest taboo makes this kind of politics feasible, but did not originate for this purpose. Cultural elaborations and extensions of this taboo, however, clearly serve such functions, such as those operating in the Australian aborigines by which one can find almost no eligible women in the immediate vicinity and thus many are forced to generate ties in some distant area. However, as previously cited (Section 4.6), the inhibition against forming sexual relationships with those with whom one has grown up during a specific sensitive period of development, is an old biological disposition.

Summary 4.12

Objects play an important role as mediators of social relationships. The fact that they are used as gifts in establishing friendly contacts requires that the donor is recognized as the legitimate owner of the object in question and that there is a disposition to give and to accept gifts. A primary norm of respect of object possession is found in the anthropoid apes. Food is not seized from others; it is requested with gestures and then received. With the development of tool culture, object possession became particularly significant for the maintenance of harmonious group life.

In all cultures we investigated, infants utilize the strategy of offering objects 358 prior to learning speech, and enjoy the playful dialogue of give-and-take games, in which the rules of reciprocity are already observed. Rituals of gift exchange play an important role in human societies, and are based upon a mutuality. Trade relations developed from reciprocal gift exchanges. Ethological finds support the position that the social function of object transfer evolved in the context of maternal behavior and was extended to those outside the dyad for social and economic reasons. Attachments to other individuals are respected as possessions and defended as such. Social relationships, however, are reciprocal between partners.


5. Intraspecific Aggression: Conflict and War

The history of mankind is, among other things, a history of wars. Wars have been used to conquer lands and to disperse populations. What remained of the defeated were often the smoke-blackened ruins unearthed by the spades of archeologists. Wars have spurred human inventiveness to some of its highest levels, particularly in modern times, reaching an expenditure of 455 billion dollars! War has brought unending sorrow to man, destroying irreplaceable cultural values. No modern politician, therefore, openly acknowledges war as a justifiable means to a political end (K. von Clausewitz, 1937). At best, war is accepted as an unavoidable evil, borne out of fear of others.

But if the desire for peace is so strong, why are there still so many wars today? How has this form of human confrontation developed? What functions are fulfilled by war, and wherein lie its roots? These questions must be dealt with if we are to gain control over our lives and our future.

In such a widely occurring phenomenon it is reasonable to postulate initially that it does fulfill certain functions. Once these have been recognized, one can consider by which other means these functions could be fulfilled.

War has plagued mankind since earliest times. Some have claimed t