From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Social evolution is a subdiscipline of evolutionary biology that is concerned with social behaviours, i.e. those that have fitness consequences for individuals other than the actor. Social behaviours can be categorized according to the fitness consequences they entail for the actor and recipient. A behaviour that increases the direct fitness of the actor is mutually beneficial if the recipient also benefits, and selfish if the recipient suffers a loss. A behaviour that reduces the fitness of the actor is altruistic if the recipient benefits, and spiteful if the recipient suffers a loss.
This classification was proposed by W. D. Hamilton.Template:Fact It is easy to see how natural selection favours mutually beneficial or selfish behaviours. Hamilton's insight was to show how kin selection could explain altruism and spite.
Social Evolution is also the title of an important work by Benjamin Kidd.