Survival of the Friendliest: Understanding Our Origins and Rediscovering Our Common Humanity

July 17, 2020

Dr Brian Hare is a scientist and the New York Times bestselling author of The Genius of Dogs. He received his PhD from Harvard University and is now a Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University. Brian founded the Hominoid Psychology Research Group while at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and subsequently founded the Duke Canine Cognition Center. His publications on dog cognition are among the most heavily cited papers on dog behaviour and intelligence.

In this podcast, Brian talks about his new book, Survival of the Friendliest, which masterfully applies research on the psychology of dogs, chimps and bonobos to our understanding of human benevolence and cruelty. He explains why identifying with a group can result in hostility to others, and why species that find a way to cooperate tend to dominate. He also offers innovative solutions for reducing divisiveness and increasing cooperative behaviour in our contemporary society. 

Here’s the outline of this interview with Brian Hare:

[00:00:16] Book: The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter Than You Think, by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods.

[00:00:48] Book: Survival of the Friendliest: Understanding Our Origins and Rediscovering Our Common Humanity, by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods.

[00:01:16] Shared intentionality.

[00:05:18] Dognition assessment; online course.

[00:07:29] Duke Canine Cognition Center publications.

[00:13:45] Chimps and bonobos.

[00:18:33] Analysis comparing chimps and bonobos on lethal aggression: Wilson, Michael L., et al. "Lethal aggression in Pan is better explained by adaptive strategies than human impacts." Nature 513.7518 (2014): 414-417.

[00:19:58] Friendliness pays huge dividends.

[00:24:32] Sue Carter, PhD on oxytocin.

[00:25:27] Sexual behavior of bonobo females helps form alliances; Article: Parish, Amy Randall. "Female relationships in bonobos (Pan paniscus)." Hu Nat 7.1 (1996): 61-96.

[00:27:24] Book: The Goodness Paradox: The Strange Relationship Between Virtue and Violence in Human Evolution, by Richard Wrangham.

[00:31:08] Jane Goodall; Documentary: Jane.

[00:31:18] Claudine Andre; Documentary: Bonobos: Back to the Wild.

[00:32:23] Louis Leakey funded Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and BirutÄ— Galdikas (The Trimates) to study hominids.

[00:38:41] Books: The Origin of Species and The Descent of Man, by Charles Darwin.

[00:39:45] Michael Tomasello, PhD.

[00:47:14] Group identity.

[00:53:47] Paul Bloom, PhD.

[00:59:06] Increasing friendliness; Contact hypothesis.

[00:59:41] Policy recommendations and innovations to increase friendliness.

[01:06:40] Book: The Decline and Rise of Democracy: A Global History from Antiquity to Today, by David Stasavage.

[01:09:17] Brian on Twitter.

[01:09:52] Getting a dog: refer to the Humane Society website.

[01:10:51] Hypoallergenic dogs have the same amount of dander; Study: Nicholas, Charlotte E., et al. "Dog allergen levels in homes with hypoallergenic compared with nonhypoallergenic dogs." American journal of rhinology & allergy 25.4 (2011): 252-256.

[01:11:50] American Kennel Club.

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