A lesson collection on evolution, cooperation, and sustainability
Can the science of Prosocial be a part of evolution education?
Eirdosh, D., & Hanisch, S. (2020). Can the science of Prosocial be a part of evolution education. Evolution: Education and Outreach, 13 (5). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12052-020-00119-7
- We provide a brief overview of Prosocial: Using Evolutionary Science to Build Productive, Equitable, and Collaborative Groups by Paul Atkins, David Sloan Wilson, and Steven Hayes. The book offers a range of promising content for evolution education, and yet also highlights core conceptual challenges in modern evolution science discourse that educators and researchers aiming to improve evolution education may find beneficial to strategically engage with as a scientific community. We discuss these challenges and opportunities with a view towards implications for evolution education research and practice.
- Publication Type OpenEvo Publication
- Concepts Cooperation, Cultural evolution, Evolution Education
- Relevant subject areas Biology, Civics, Economics, ESD, Ethics, Human Evolution, Interdisciplinary, Philosophy, Politics, Social Studies, Social-Emotional Learning
- Relevant research methods Commentary
- Relevant projects OpenEvo, Prosocial Schools
Related Lesson Materials
Students explore the principles that allow groups to work together and achieve common goals, applying them to the groups that they are a part of or care about.
- Hanisch, S., Eirdosh, D., & Morgan, T. (2023). Evolving cooperation and sustainability for common pool resources. In X. Sá-Pinto, A. Beniermann, T. Børsen, M. Georgiou, A. Jeffries, P. Pessoa, et al. (Eds.), Learning evolution through socioscientific issues (pp. 127-147). Aveiro: UA Editora. doi:10.17617/2.3486776.
- Sustainable resource management is often a matter of managing common-pool resources (CPRs), which include the social and material resources shared by groups of individuals. CPRs can be prone to overuse through competition between resource users who are motivated to maximise their resource use (or contribute little to the maintenance of the resource) for individual gain and at the expense of group-level sustainability—an outcome known as the Tragedy of the Commons. CPR dilemmas are pervasive in human contexts, ranging from mitigating climate change to sharing public spaces, fighting a pandemic or tackling antimicrobial resistance. Since CPR dilemmas are also found across the non-human living world, sustainability scientists, economists and evolutionary biologists are interested in the dynamics of competition and cooperation around resources. In this chapter, we argue that students’ conceptual understanding of CPR dilemmas through exploration and critical reflections on human and non-human examples is central to developing a basic understanding of sustainability issues more broadly, as well as of evolutionary dynamics that can help explain the evolution of cooperative social behaviours and conflict resolution mechanisms. We provide an overview of the science of CPR dilemmas in the evolution of living systems and human natural resource contexts. Moreover, we present a flexible set of resources that educators in secondary school biology or environmental science can employ to help students engage in cross-cutting concepts, scientific ideas of the life sciences and a range of scientific practices to develop understandings and socioscientific reasoning skills surrounding real-world issues of sustainable resource use.
- Evolution education continues to struggle with a range of persistent challenges spanning aspects of conceptual understanding, acceptance, and perceived relevance of evolutionary theory by students in general education. This article argues that a gene-centered conceptualization of evolution may inherently limit the degree to which these challenges can be effectively addressed, and may even precisely contribute to and exacerbate these challenges. Against that background, we also argue that a trait-centered, generalized, and interdisciplinary conceptualization of evolution may hold significant learning potential for advancing progress in addressing some of these persistent challenges facing evolution education. We outline a number of testable hypotheses about the educational value of teaching evolutionary theory from this more generalized and interdisciplinary conception.
- A groundbreaking, comprehensive program for designing effective and socially equitable groups of all sizes—from businesses and social justice groups to global organizations. Whether you work in business or schools, volunteer in neighborhoods or church organizations, or are involved in social justice and activism, you understand the enormous power of groups to enact powerful and lasting change in the world. But how exactly do you design, build, and sustain effective groups? Based on the work of Nobel Prize winning economist Elinor Ostrom and grounded in contextual behavioral science, evolutionary science, and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), Prosocial presents a practical, step-by-step approach to help you energize and strengthen your business or organization. Using the Prosocial model, you’ll learn to design groups that are more harmonious, have better member or employee retention, have better relationships with other groups or business partners, and have more success and longevity. Most importantly, you’ll learn to target the characteristics that foster cooperation and collaboration—key ingredients for any effective group.