Managing the Threats and Opportunities Afforded by Human Sociality

Steven Neuberg, Catherine A. Cottrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Group living offers humans substantial fitness-enhancing benefits, although it also affords significant fitness-decreasing costs. To enhance these benefits and reduce these costs, individuals use emotional, cognitive, and behavioral mechanisms designed to help them effectively manage the complexities of life in highly interdependent groups. The authors briefly outline their evolutionary, functional analysis of human sociality and summarize accumulating empirical support for various implications derived from this conceptual analysis. In particular, the authors focus on four questions central to intragroup and intergroup relations: (a) How do people manage the need to be selective in their choice of social affiliates? (b) how do people manage the impressions others form of them? (c) how do people manage the threats that fellow group members often pose? and (d) how do members of groups manage their own groups' welfare vis à vis other groups? In all, the authors present the outline of a broad theoretical framework built on a functional analysis of the universal nature of groups' social structures and processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-72
Number of pages10
JournalGroup Dynamics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • evolutionary psychology
  • groups
  • prejudice
  • self-presentation
  • stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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