Games Primates Play by Dario Maestripieri
An Undercover Investigation of the Evolution and Economics of Human Relationships

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Most humans don’t realize that when they exchange emails with someone, anyone, they are actually exhibiting certain unspoken rules about dominance and hierarchy. The same rules regulate the exchange of grooming behavior in rhesus macaques or chimpanzees. Interestingly, some of the major aspects of human nature have profound commonalities with our ape ancestors: the violence of war, the intensity of love, the need to live together.

While we often assume that our behavior in everyday situations reflects our unique personalities, the choices we freely make, or the influences of our environment, we rarely consider that others behave in these situations in almost the exact the same way as we do. In Games Primates Play, primatologist Dario Maestripieri examines the curious unspoken customs that govern our behavior. These patterns and customs appear to be motivated by free will, yet they are so similar from person to person, and across species, that they reveal much more than our selected choices.

Games Primates Play uncovers our evolutionary legacy: the subtle codes that govern our behavior are the result of millions of years of evolution, predating the emergence of modern humans. To understand the rules that govern primate games and our social interactions, Maestripieri arms readers with knowledge of the scientific principles that ethologists, psychologists, economists, and other behavioral scientists have discovered in their quest to unravel the complexities of behavior. As he realizes, everything from how we write emails to how we make love is determined by the legacy of our primate roots and the conditions that existed so long ago.

An idiosyncratic and witty approach to our deep and complex origins, Games Primates Play reveals the ways in which our primate nature drives so much of our lives.


About Dario Maestripieri

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Dario Maestripieri is Professor of Comparative Human Development, Evolutionary Biology, Neurobiology, and Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Chicago. He received the Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology from the American Psychological Association in 2000, and a Career Development Award from the National Institute of Mental Health in 2001. He has appeared in many national and international TV and radio shows and his research has been featured in a number of newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, Pravda, LeMonde, Der Spiegel, the Guardian, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, The New Scientist, American Scientist, Nature, and Science. He is the author of Macachiavellian Intelligence and editor of Primate Psychology. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.
Published April 10, 2012 by Basic Books. 322 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Nature & Wildlife, Parenting & Relationships, Science & Math, Self Help, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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Maestripieri (Evolutionary Biology/Univ. of Chicago; Macachiavellian Intelligence: How Rhesus Macaques and Humans Have Conquered the World, 2007, etc.) rejects the notion that "natural selection has left its mark on human mental processes but not on contemporary human behavior."

Mar 27 2012 | Read Full Review of Games Primates Play: An Under...

Publishers Weekly

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Maestripieri (Macachiavellian Intelligence), professor of evolutionary biology and related sciences at the University of Chicago, explores behavioral similarities between humans and other primates in his engaging but flawed book.

Jan 09 2012 | Read Full Review of Games Primates Play: An Under...

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Whilst many readers will continue to believe that our mental ability creates a greater distinction between us and our primate ancestors than Maestripieri would have us believe, all are likely to agree that the studying of primates can provide valuable insights into human nature.

Apr 26 2012 | Read Full Review of Games Primates Play: An Under...

Science News

Maestripieri, a veteran monkey investigator, builds a fascinating and occasionally disturbing case for fundamental similarities in the social shenanigans of people, apes and monkeys due to a shared evolutionary heritage.

Apr 20 2012 | Read Full Review of Games Primates Play: An Under...

and how we select business or romantic partners according to the “laws of the market.” By arguing that our human nature is reflected in the “games” we play in our relationships, I mean that certain aspects of these relationships seem common to most human beings, that some of our tendencies to pla...

Sep 22 2012 | Read Full Review of Games Primates Play: An Under...

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