August 17, 2022

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Is Hamilton's ruling correct?  Yes, we are willing to sacrifice our lives for two brothers or eight cousins

Is Hamilton’s ruling correct? Yes, we are willing to sacrifice our lives for two brothers or eight cousins

Sacrifice your life for your uncle, brother or cousin so that your family has a better chance of having children. This evolutionary strategy has been demonstrated in animals for some time, but now experience shows that it also works in humans.

Scientists from MIT, among others, wanted to prove it Hamilton’s rule It applies not only to animals but also to humans. This evolutionary rule assumes that related people help each other, even at the cost of their own survival. Professor Andrew Lu of MIT and Professor Moshe Levy of MIT Hebrew University He found strong evidence for this rule in an experiment in which people exchanged money with others who were related to varying degrees, such as Scientists write in scientific journals Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “Our findings are not only important because they Hamilton’s rule directly in financial situations, but also because it shows that the principles of evolutionary biology and economics are more closely related than we thought,” says Low.

give life
Hamilton’s rule
It is summed up in a famous quote from evolutionary biologist JBS Haldane: “I will give my life for two brothers or eight cousins.” William Hamilton turned this evolutionary theory into a simple mathematical formula in 1964, which posits that an individual’s willingness to help another person is directly related to the amount of genetic material they share.

Evidence for this rule has been found in a wide variety of species, including bees, wasps, birds, shrimp, monkeys, and even plants. It is widely regarded as the single most important explanation for altruistic behavior in animals and is considered “one of the greatest theoretical discoveries in evolution since Darwin.” , as Lou and Levi wrote.

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Previous studies have already shown that human behavior is consistent with Hamilton’s rule, but there was no maximum amount that a person was willing to pay for a particular benefit to another person, depending on the degree of their genetic relatedness. This is known as Final cost In Hamilton’s rule.

Photo: Rattanakon

50 dollars
In their study, Lo and Levy tested how high this amount could be by asking people to give the money to other people who are genetically related to varying degrees. They asked people how much they would like to pay someone else to get $50. The recipients were siblings, half-siblings, cousins, identical and non-identical twins, and random individuals. Subjects can earn a maximum of $50, but if they make a deal with one person, they also have to pay the agreed amount to the other person. When they struck a deal, the researchers gave them $50, so it was more than just a hypothetical situation. Scientists discovered that cutting costs It was in line with the genetic relationship of the subjects. It even matches Hamilton’s equation perfectly.

Lo and Levy point out that their findings not only confirm Hamilton’s judgment, but also shed light on people’s motivations in making financial decisions. “It is surprising how powerful evolutionary forces are in such complex human behavior. It is possible that these fundamental forces influence human behavior, the formation of social networks, and moral values ​​both indirectly and under the surface.”