Evolution of Sociality: PSYC Call for Commentators

Stevan Harnad (harnad@ECS.SOTON.AC.UK)
Wed, 21 Jun 1995 21:20:47 +0100

PSYCOLOQUY Commentary is invited on:


Qualified professional biobehavioral, neural or cognitive scientists
are hereby invited to submit Open Peer Commentary on the target article
whose abstract appears below. It has been published in PSYCOLOQUY,
a refereed electronic journal sponsored by the American Psychological

Instructions for retrieval and for preparing commentaries follow the
abstract. The address for submitting commentaries and articles and for
requesting information is psyc@pucc.princteton.edu

The URLs for retrieving articles are:

ISSN 1055-0143 (51 pars, 1 table, 1 note, 44 refs, 999 lines)
PSYCOLOQUY is sponsored by the American Psychological Association (APA)
Copyright 1995 Linnda R. Caporael


Linnda R. Caporael
Department of Science and Technology Studies
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, NY 12180

ABSTRACT: Human interaction, as opposed to aggregation, occurs in
face-to-face groups. "Sociality theory" proposes that such groups
have a nested, hierarchical structure, consisting of a few basic
variations, or "core configurations." These function in the
coordination of human behavior, and are repeatedly assembled,
generation to generation, in human ontogeny, and in daily life. If
face-to-face groups are "the mind's natural environment," then we
should expect human mental systems to correlate with core
configurations. Features of groups that recur across generations
could provide a descriptive paradigm for testable and non-intuitive
evolutionary hypotheses about social and cognitive processes. This
target article sketches three major topics in sociality theory,
roughly corresponding to the interests of biologists,
psychologists, and social scientists. These are (1) a multiple
levels-of-selection view of Darwinism, part group selectionism,
part developmental systems theory; (2) structural and psychological
features of repeatedly assembled, concretely situated face-to-face
coordination; and (3) superordinate, "unsituated" coordination at
the level of large-scale societies. Sociality theory predicts a
tension, perhaps unresolvable, between the social construction of
knowledge, which facilitates coordination within groups, and the
negotiation of the habitat, which requires some correspondence with
contingencies in specific situations. This tension is relevant to
ongoing debates about scientific realism, constructivism, and
relativism in the philosophy and sociology of knowledge.

KEYWORDS: developmental systems theory, group coordination, group
selection, hierarchy, human evolution, social cognition, social
identity, teleofunctionalism
These files are also on the World Wide Web and the easiest way to
retrieve them is with Netscape, Mosaic, gopher, archie, veronica, etc.
Here are some of the URLs you can use to get to the BBS Archive:


To retrieve a file by ftp from an Internet site, type either:
ftp ftp.princeton.edu
When you are asked for your login, type:
Enter password as queried (your password is your actual userid:
yourlogin@yourhost.whatever.whatever - be sure to include the "@")
cd /pub/harnad/Psycoloquy/1995.volume.6
To show the available files, type:
Next, retrieve the file you want with (for example):
mget *.1.caporael
When you have the file(s) you want, type:

Where the above procedure is not available there are two fileservers:
that will do the transfer for you. To one or the
other of them, send the following one line message:


for instructions (which will be similar to the above, but will be in
the form of a series of lines in an email message that ftpmail or
bitftp will then execute for you).


Accepted PSYCOLOQUY target articles have been judged by 5-8 referees to
be appropriate for Open Peer Commentary, the special service provided
by PSYCOLOQUY to investigators in psychology, neuroscience, behavioral
biology, cognitive sciences and philosophy who wish to solicit multiple
responses from an international group of fellow specialists within and
across these disciplines to a particularly significant and
controversial piece of work.

If you feel that you can contribute substantive criticism,
interpretation, elaboration or pertinent complementary or supplementary
material on a PSYCOLOQUY target article, you are invited to submit a
formal electronic commentary. Please note that although commentaries
are solicited and most will appear, acceptance cannot, of course, be

1. Before preparing your commentary, please read carefully
the Instructions for Authors and Commentators and examine
recent numbers of PSYCOLOQUY.

2. Commentaries should be limited to 200 lines (1800 words, references
included). PSYCOLOQUY reserves the right to edit commentaries for
relevance and style. In the interest of speed, commentators will
only be sent the edited draft for review when there have been major
editorial changes. Where judged necessary by the Editor,
commentaries will be formally refereed.

3. Please provide a title for your commentary. As many
commentators will address the same general topic, your
title should be a distinctive one that reflects the gist
of your specific contribution and is suitable for the
kind of keyword indexing used in modern bibliographic
retrieval systems. Each commentary should have a brief
(~50-60 word) abstract

4. All paragraphs should be numbered consecutively. Line length
should not exceed 72 characters. The commentary should begin with
the title, your name and full institutional address (including zip
code) and email address. References must be prepared in accordance
with the examples given in the Instructions. Please read the
sections of the Instruction for Authors concerning style,
preparation and editing.

PSYCOLOQUY is a refereed electronic journal (ISSN 1055-0143) sponsored
on an experimental basis by the American Psychological Association
and currently estimated to reach a readership of 40,000. PSYCOLOQUY
publishes brief reports of new ideas and findings on which the author
wishes to solicit rapid peer feedback, international and
interdisciplinary ("Scholarly Skywriting"), in all areas of psychology
and its related fields (biobehavioral science, cognitive science,
neuroscience, social science, etc.). All contributions are refereed.

Target article length should normally not exceed 500 lines [c. 4500 words].
Commentaries and responses should not exceed 200 lines [c. 1800 words].

All target articles, commentaries and responses must have (1) a short
abstract (up to 100 words for target articles, shorter for commentaries
and responses), (2) an indexable title, (3) the authors' full name(s)
and institutional address(es).

In addition, for target articles only: (4) 6-8 indexable keywords,
(5) a separate statement of the authors' rationale for soliciting
commentary (e.g., why would commentary be useful and of interest to the
field? what kind of commentary do you expect to elicit?) and
(6) a list of potential commentators (with their email addresses).

All paragraphs should be numbered in articles, commentaries and
responses (see format of already published articles in the PSYCOLOQUY
archive; line length should be < 80 characters, no hyphenation).

It is strongly recommended that all figures be designed so as to be
screen-readable ascii. If this is not possible, the provisional
solution is the less desirable hybrid one of submitting them as
postscript files (or in some other universally available format) to be
printed out locally by readers to supplement the screen-readable text
of the article.

PSYCOLOQUY also publishes multiple reviews of books in any of the above
fields; these should normally be the same length as commentaries, but
longer reviews will be considered as well. Book authors should submit a
500-line self-contained Precis of their book, in the format of a target
article; if accepted, this will be published in PSYCOLOQUY together
with a formal Call for Reviews (of the book, not the Precis). The
author's publisher must agree in advance to furnish review copies to the
reviewers selected.

Authors of accepted manuscripts assign to PSYCOLOQUY the right to
publish and distribute their text electronically and to archive and
make it permanently retrievable electronically, but they retain the
copyright, and after it has appeared in PSYCOLOQUY authors may
republish their text in any way they wish -- electronic or print -- as
long as they clearly acknowledge PSYCOLOQUY as its original locus of
publication. However, except in very special cases, agreed upon in
advance, contributions that have already been published or are being
considered for publication elsewhere are not eligible to be considered
for publication in PSYCOLOQUY,

Please submit all material to psyc@pucc.bitnet or psyc@pucc.princeton.edu
Anonymous ftp archive is DIRECTORY pub/harnad/Psycoloquy HOST princeton.edu