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  • Published: 1 June 2021
  • ISBN: 9781787332058
  • Imprint: Jonathan Cape
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $35.00

The Social Instinct

The Hidden Logic of Cooperation




Exploring evolution, animal behaviour and human psychology, THE SOCIAL INSTINCT reveals how and why cooperation has shaped and defined humankind - and what happens when it goes wrong. The first book by a brilliant evolutionary biologist, drawing on decades of research in the field.

Why cooperate? This may be the most important scientific question we have ever, and will ever, face.

The science of cooperation tells us not only how we got here, but also where we might end up. Cooperation explains how strands of DNA gave rise to modern-day nation states. It defines our extraordinary ecological success as well as many of the most surprising features of what make us human: not only why we live in families, why we have grandmothers and why women experience the menopause, but also why we become paranoid and jealous, and why we cheat.

Nichola Raihani also introduces us to other species who, like us, live and work together. From the pied babblers of the Kalahari to the cleaner fish of the Great Barrier Reef, they happen to be some of the most fascinating and extraordinarily successful species on this planet. What do we have in common with these other species, and what is it that sets us apart?

Written at a time of global pandemic, when the challenges and importance of cooperation have never been greater, The Social Instinct is an exhilarating, far-reaching and thought-provoking journey through all life on Earth, with profound insights into what makes us human and how our societies work.

  • Published: 1 June 2021
  • ISBN: 9781787332058
  • Imprint: Jonathan Cape
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $35.00

About the author

Nichola Raihani

Nichola Raihani is a Royal Society University Research Fellow and Professor in Evolution and Behaviour at UCL. Her group's research focuses on the evolution of social behaviour in humans and non-human species. She has been widely published in scientific journals, won the 2018 Philip Leverhulme Prize in Psychology for her research achievements, and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology in 2018. She has also worked in the BBC Science Development Team, and appeared on several podcasts and radio shows, including BBC Radio 4’s ‘Hacking the Unconscious’ and ‘Thought Cages’.

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