Study questions for Alive case study

Tomasello, M. (2011). Human culture in evolutionary perspective.  In M. Gelfand (Ed.), Advances in Culture and Psychology (pp 5-51).Oxford: Oxford University Press. (L)

Why doesn’t Tomasello think that chimpanzee hunting represents true cooperation?

How is human hunting (that of traditional hunter-gatherers) different (i.e. more cooperative) than chimpanzee hunting?

How do trust and “ownership norms” appear to differ between humans and chimpanzees and how does this affect reciprocity and trade?

How does food sharing differ between humans and chimpanzees?

Describe the different role that informing plays in the ape vs. human communication? 

Describe the mechanisms used to “keep the peace” in chimpanzee social groups (retaliation, dominance hierarchies, policing, etc.) how do they differ from human social groups?

What is third party enforcement? What role does it play in human vs. ape social groups?

What are social norms and what role do they play in human cooperation? Is this unique to humans?

In what ways does individual learning appear to undermine ape “cultural traditions”?

How does imitation differ between humans and chimpanzees?

What is shared intentionality and how might it be critical to the creation of human culture?

Describe how obligate cooperative foraging, self-domestication, and social norms created the evolutionary conditions for uniquely human cooperation.

What factors do you think ultimately contributed to the survival of those in Alive?

Is there something other than shared intentionality that you think makes us human? 

Do you think Tomasello glosses over human conflict?

Do you think Tomasello dismisses the idea of culture in the other great apes too readily?

Do you agree with my interpretation of Tomasello’s thesis?