Professor in Evolutionary Psychology, Work and Organizational Psychology


Group and intergroup processes

Evolution and the Psychology of Intergroup Conflict:The Male Warrior Hypothesis

 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.

Copyright © 2012– Mark van Vugt