Professor in Evolutionary Psychology, Work and Organizational Psychology


Evolutionary Psychology

A melding of minds (2008)

Brosnan, S. F., Newton-Fisher, N. E., & Van Vugt, M. (in press). A melding of minds: When primatology meets personality and social psychology. 


Social/personality psychology and behavioral primatology both enjoy long histories of research aimed at uncovering the proximate and ultimate determinants of primate--human and nonhuman--social behavior. Although they share research themes, methodologies and theories, and their studied species are closely related, there is currently very little interaction between the fields. This separation means that researchers in these disciplines miss out on opportunities to advance understanding by combining insights from both fields. Social/personality psychologists additionally miss the opportunity for a phylogenetic analysis. The time has come to integrate perspectives on primate social psychology. Here we provide a historical background and document the main similarities and differences in approaches. Next we present some examples of research programs that may benefit from an integrated primate perspective. Finally, we propose a framework for developing a social psychology inclusive of all primates. Such a melding of minds promises to greatly benefit those who undertake the challenge.


Copyright © 2012– Mark van Vugt