12.08.2009 - Social scientists build case for 'survival of the kindest'
By Yasmin Anwar, Media Relations | 08 December 2009 BERKELEY — Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, are challenging long-held beliefs that human beings are wired to be selfish. In a wide range of studies, social scientists are amassing a growing body of evidence to show we are evolving to become more compassionate and collaborative in our quest to survive and thrive. (Photo illustration by Jonathan Payne) In contrast to "every man for himself" interpretations of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, Dacher Keltner, a UC Berkeley psychologist and author of "Born to be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life," and his fellow social scientists are building the case that humans are successful as a species precisely because of our nurturing, altruistic and compassionate traits. They call it "survival of the kindest." Empathy in our genes "The tendency to be more empathetic may be influenced by a single gene,” Rodrigues said. Cultivating the greater good