(2821) Timing-dependent modulation of the posterior parietal cortex-primary motor cortex pathway by sensorimotor training. Karabanov A, Jin SH, Joutsen A, Poston B, Aizen J, Ellenstein A and Hallett M. 2012. Journal of Neurophysiology, volume 107, pages 3190-3199.
(2822) Inferring the role of inhibition in auditory processing of complex natural stimuli. Schinkel-Bielefeld N, David SV, Shamma SA and Butts DA. 2012. Journal of Neurophysiology, volume 107, pages 3296-3307.
(2823) Human brain cortical correlates of short-latency afferent inhibition: a combined EEG-TMS study. Ferreri F, Ponzo D, Hukkanen T, Mervaala E, Könönen M, Pasqualetti P, Vecchio F, Rossini PM and Määttä S. 2012. Journal of Neurophysiology, volume 108, pages 314-323.
(2824) Effector selection precedes reach planning in the dorsal parietofrontal cortex. Bernier PM, Cieslak M and Grafton ST. 2012. Journal of Neurophysiology, volume 108, pages 57-68.
(2825) The role of the right presupplementary motor area in stopping action: two studies with event-related transcranial magnetic stimulation. Cai W, George JS, Verbruggen F, Chambers CD and Aron AR. 2012. Journal of Neurophysiology, volume 108, pages 380-389.
(2826) The human brain representation of odor identification. Kjelvik G, Evensmoen HR, Brezova V and Håberg AK. 2012. Journal of Neurophysiology, volume 108, pages 645-657.
(2827) Outsourcing punishment to God: beliefs in divine control reduce earthly punishment. Laurin K, Shariff AF, Henrich J and Kay AC. 2012. Proceedings. Biological Sciences / The Royal Society, volume 279, pages 3272-3281.
(2828) The validity and value of inclusive fitness theory. Bourke AFG. 2011. Proceedings. Biological Sciences / The Royal Society, volume 278, pages 3313-3320.
15 August 2012 17:00:47 GMT+01:00
Dear Professor Bourke,
I am currently studying the above article.
My background is in human biology and in the humanities.
Am I correct to deduce from the article that if a five year-old child accepts from its parents and from its siblings a phenotype that stabilises family life, and thus improves the reproductive fitness of the parents and of the siblings, and that acceptance reduces the child's own reproductive fitness, for example through discrepancy of the phenotype with the child's genotype, then the child is seen to behave altruistically?
Michael Robinson MD.
17 August 2012 10:37:20 GMT+01:00
Dear Dr Robinson,
Thank you for your message and interest in this article.
There are a couple of complications (to me) in the way you have posed your question, but let me try to answer it as best I can. In any sort of group, including a family, if one member behaves in such a way that its expected offspring output is decreased and that of its groupmates is increased (relative to what would happen otherwise), then, yes, that would qualify as altruism. It is a separate issue whether the decision to act altruistically is under the actor's (altruist's) control, or that of others. Your phrase 'accepts ... a phenotype' implies some sort of imposition of altruism on the altruist, though 'accepts' also suggests that the altruist can decide whether to 'agree' or not.
It is also a separate issue as to how the altruistic behaviour is genetically underpinned. Here, your phrase 'discrepancy of the phenotype with the child's genotype' forms a second complication. It suggests that in your scenario it is not the altruist's genotype that determines its own behaviour, but that of other group members. If this were completely the case, then (genetical) social evolution could still proceed, but would do so according to the Hamilton's rule of the group member(s) imposing the behaviour, and not that of the altruist itself. In humans, of course, cultural evolutionary processes interact with genetical evolution, complicating the situation still further.
I hope that helps, and thank you again for your interest.
(2829) Discrepancies between self- and parent-perceptions of autistic traits and empathy in high-functioning children and adolescents on the autism spectrum. Johnson SA, Filliter JH and Murphy RR. 2009. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, volume 39, pages 1706-1714. Why not ask the participants to rate the parents? Why not include siblings in the design, and ask them to rate both the participants and the parents?
(2830) Gamma oscillations are involved in the sensorimotor transformation of pain. Schulz E, Tiemann L, Witkovsky V, Schmidt P and Ploner M. 2012. Journal of Neurophysiology, volume 108, pages 1025-1031.