McDonald, M. M., Navarrete, C. D., & Van Vugt, M. (2012). Evolution and the Psychology of Intergroup Conflict: The Male Warrior Hypothesis.

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society-Biological Sciences, vol. 367 no. 1589 670-679; doi: 10.1098/rstb.2011.0301




 The social science literature contains numerous examples of human tribalism and parochialism --

the tendency to categorize individuals on the basis of their group membership, and treat ingroup

members benevolently and outgroup members malevolently. We hypothesize that this tribal

inclination is an adaptive response to the threat of coalitional aggression and intergroup violence

perpetrated by “warrior males” in both ancestral and modern human environments. Here we

describe how male coalitional aggression could have affected the social psychologies of men and

women differently and present preliminary evidence from experimental social psychological

studies testing various predictions from the “male warrior” hypothesis. Finally, we discuss the

theoretical implications of our research for studying intergroup relations both in humans and

nonhumans and discuss some practical implications.



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