In This Article Biosociology

  • Introduction
  • Textbooks
  • Journals
  • Emotions and Social Behavior
  • Neurosociology
  • Hormones and Social Behavior

Sociology Biosociology
by
Rosemary Hopcroft
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 July 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756384-0005

Introduction

Biosociology is a subject that has emerged relatively recently in sociology—an emergence not without controversy. However, in the last ten years the number of publications in the area has increased dramatically, and an Evolution, Biology and Society Section of the American Sociological Association was created in 2004. The name “biosociology” covers a wide range of topics, from microsociological to macrosociological, with the unifying feature being an acknowledgement of the role of biology in human social life. Researchers in the area use a variety of sociological methodologies as well as research results and methodologies from an array of disciplines including anthropology, behavioral genetics, history, primatology, palaeoanthropology, biology, psychology, and neurology. The field focuses on how evolved human biology interacts with particular social environments to both produce and simultaneously to respond to social institutions and structures.

Programmatic Statements and Review Pieces

This section contains articles that advocate and/or review research in biosociology in some way. They are divided here into five types corresponding to the major strands of research in the field: Emotions and Social Behavior, Neurosociology, Evolution and Social Behavior, Genes and Social Behavior, and Hormones and Social Behavior, plus a section on general biosocial research.

General Biosocial Research

These articles and books advocate for biosocial approaches within sociology in general. Much of these works aim at sociologists’ concerns about (and aversion to) incorporating biological influences into their research. The first is the lively Segerstråle 2000, which discusses the original debate over the relevance of biology to human affairs. The emergence of the area of biosociology within sociology suggests that those who argue for the relevance of biology now have the upper hand. For a prominent critique of past work that attempted to incorporate biology into social science, see Gould 1981. Gould notes that in the past biology has been used to support the prejudices of the researcher and/or to support the existing social status quo. Current biosociologists distance themselves from the prejudices and faulty reasoning/methods that characterized much of this earlier work. Freese, et al. 2003 was a watershed piece—a well-cited mainstream sociological publication advocating the incorporation of biology into the discipline. Early biosociologists such as Alan Booth and colleagues had previously written a review of research on biosocial influences on the family (see Booth, et al. 2000); a follow-up was published, D’Onofrio and Lahey 2010. The introduction of biosociology into the mainstream was fully established by the publication of special issues on biosociology in two of the three major journals in the field—Social Forces and the American Journal of Sociology. Guang Guo edited the special issue of Social Forces (Guo 2006), and Peter Bearman edited the special issue of the American Journal of Sociology (Bearman 2008).

  • Bearman, Peter 2008. Exploring genetics and social structure. In Special Issue: Genetics and Social Structure. Edited by Peter Bearman. American Journal of Sociology 114.3: v–x.

    E-mail Citation »

    This article introduced the special issue of the American Journal of Sociology on genetics and social structure. He urges sociologists to disregard their “fear and loathing” for discussions of the genetic effects on social behavior.

    Find this resource:

    • Booth, Alan, Karen Carver, and Douglas A. Granger. 2000. Biosocial perspectives on the family. Journal of Marriage and the Family 62.4: 1018–1034.

      DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2000.01018.xE-mail Citation »

      This article was the first to review and advocate for biosocial research on the family.

      Find this resource:

      • D‘Onofrio, Brian M., and Benjamin B. Lahey. 2010. Biosocial Influences on the Family: A decade review. Journal of Marriage and Family 72.3: 762–782.

        DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2010.00729.xE-mail Citation »

        A follow-up to the previous review (Booth, et al. 2000), this review summarizes biosocial research on the family from the intervening decade.

        Find this resource:

        • Freese, Jeremy, Jui-Chung Allen Li, and Lisa D. Wade. 2003. The potential relevance of biology to social inquiry. Annual Review of Sociology 29:233–256.

          E-mail Citation »

          This paper discusses all areas of the biosociology field. Authors advocate further efforts from biologically minded sociologists to increase understanding of the relationship between sociology and biology.

          Find this resource:

          • Gould, Stephen Jay. 1981. The mismeasure of man. New York: Norton.

            E-mail Citation »

            Highly acclaimed book that criticizes craniometry and other early incorporations of biology into sociology as based more on prejudice than anything else. He also criticizes the use of biological measures to justify inequalities between social groups. A revised and expanded edition of the book was published in 2008 (New York: Norton).

            Find this resource:

            • Guo, Guang. 2006. The linking of sociology and biology. In Special Issue: The Linking of Sociology and Biology. Edited by Guang Guo. Social Forces 85.1: 145–149.

              DOI: 10.1353/sof.2006.0126E-mail Citation »

              This article suggests that the linking of sociology to biology is appropriate and introduces the special issue of Social Forces on this issue.

              Find this resource:

              • Segerstråle, Ullica Christina Olofsdotter. 2000. Defenders of the truth: The battle for science in the sociobiology debate and beyond. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                E-mail Citation »

                Discusses the original debate, beginning at Harvard University, about the relevance of biology to human affairs. More or less concludes that the debate has been won by those who advocate the relevance of biology to sociology.

                Find this resource:

                Emotions and Social Behavior

                These pieces argue for the centrality of emotions in human actions and make the case for the grounding of human emotions in biology. Both Massey 2002 and Turner and Stets 2006 have been prominent proponents of this view.

                • Massey, Douglas S. 2002. A brief history of human society: The origin and role of emotion in social life. American Sociological Review 67.1:1–29.

                  DOI: 10.2307/3088931E-mail Citation »

                  A controversial presidential address at the 2001 meetings of the American Sociological Association. Many sociologists walked out of the hall during the presentation. Massey suggests that the evolution of human society and human cognition illustrates the creation and workings of the human emotional brain and shows how it strongly influences the rational brain, though operating independently of it.

                  Find this resource:

                  • Turner, Jonathan H., and Jan E. Stets. 2006. Sociological theories of human emotions. Annual Review of Sociology 32:25–52.

                    DOI: 10.1146/annurev.soc.32.061604.123130E-mail Citation »

                    The article gives a critique of current sociological theories of emotions. The authors suggest the need for more focus on the biological basis of emotions, among other issues.

                    Find this resource:

                    Neurosociology

                    These authors argue for the linking of social psychology and social neuroscience. This is another emerging area of sociology, spearheaded by David Franks and Thomas Smith (Franks and Smith 1999, Smith 2004). A didactic session on the area was held at the annual meetings of the American Sociological Association in 2010.

                    • Franks, David and Thomas Spence Smith, eds. 1999. Mind, brain and society: Toward a neurosociology of emotion. Stamford, CT: JAI.

                      E-mail Citation »

                      This edited volume reviews the emerging field of neurosociology within sociology, with essays by prominent sociologists and others.

                      Find this resource:

                      • Smith, Thomas Spence. 2004. Where sociability comes from: Neurosociological foundations of social interaction. In The dialogical turn: New roles for sociology in the postdisciplinary age. Essays in Honor of David M. Levine. Edited by Charles Camic and Hans Joas, 199–220. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

                        E-mail Citation »

                        Develops the case for the new area of neurosociology.

                        Find this resource:

                        Evolution and Social Behavior

                        This is currently the least accepted subtopic within biosociology in the mainstream of sociology. Pierre van den Berghe was one of the first sociologists working in the area, and he found little audience within sociology (van den Berghe 1990). More recently there has been much greater acceptance of the evolutionary approach to human social behavior in sociology both in the United States and abroad (Whitmeyer 1994; Lopreato and Crippen 1999; Machalek and Martin 2004; Sanderson 2008; Runciman 2008; Lacerda 2009; Hopcroft 2009; Vermeersch 2009). These authors all argue for a linkage of theory and research in sociology with theory from evolutionary biology. Many of them deal with resistance among sociologists to this kind of thinking, as well as erroneous ideas about the nature of the area.

                        • Hopcroft, Rosemary L. 2009. The evolved actor in sociology. Sociological Theory 27.4: 390–406.

                          DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9558.2009.01354.xE-mail Citation »

                          This article argues that much sociological research in the areas of the family and social stratification is entirely consistent with the model of the human actor outlined by evolutionary biology and evolutionary psychology.

                          Find this resource:

                          • Lacerda, Andre Luis Ribeiro. 2009. Biosocial approaches in sociology: Biosociology or evolutionary sociology? Revista Brasileira de Ciencias Sociais 24.70: 155–165.

                            E-mail Citation »

                            Translated from Portuguese, this paper describes the impact of the “second Darwinian revolution” and suggests that the recent emergence of the evolutionary sociology field is a triumph for sociobiology.

                            Find this resource:

                            • Lopreato, J., and T. Crippen. 1999. Crisis in sociology: The need for Darwin. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.

                              E-mail Citation »

                              Argues that the deepening crisis in sociology stems from the failure to develop general laws that can organize systemic research, and offers the controversial solution of incorporating Darwinian theory into sociological analysis.

                              Find this resource:

                              • Machalek, R., and Michael W. Martin. 2004. Sociology and the second Darwinian revolution: A metatheoretical analysis. Sociological Theory 22.3: 455–476.

                                DOI: 10.1111/j.0735-2751.2004.00229.xE-mail Citation »

                                This paper deals with the misconceptions that most sociologists hold about neo-Darwinian theory and research.

                                Find this resource:

                                • Runciman, W. G. 2008. Forgetting the founders. Sociological Review 56.3: 358–369.

                                  DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-954X.2008.00794.xE-mail Citation »

                                  A prominent British sociologist discusses the inability or unwillingness of 20th-century sociologists to move beyond the agenda bequeathed by Marx, Weber, and Durkheim. Suggests that the most important influence on the human behavioral sciences in the 21st century will be Darwin’s.

                                  Find this resource:

                                  • Sanderson, Stephen K. 2008. The impact of Darwinism on sociology: An historical and critical overview. In The new evolutionary social science: Human nature, social behavior, and social change. Edited by Heinz-Jürgen Niedenzu, Tamaś Meleghy, and Peter Meyer, 9–25. Boulder, CO: Paradigm.

                                    E-mail Citation »

                                    In this paper Stephen Sanderson is skeptical about the possibility that sociology will ever accept the evolutionary approach to social life. He suggests that people go into sociology to change the world, and this promotes suspicion of, and hostility to, the evolutionary approach.

                                    Find this resource:

                                    • van den Berghe, Pierre L. 1990. Why most sociologists don’t (and won’t) think evolutionarily. Sociological Forum 5.2: 173–185.

                                      DOI: 10.1007/BF01112591E-mail Citation »

                                      An entertaining paper on why sociologists don’t want to incorporate evolutionary thinking into the discipline.

                                      Find this resource:

                                      • Vermeersch, Hans. 2009. On the necessity of a biosocial approach in sociology. Tijdschrift voor Sociologie 30.3: 233–256.

                                        E-mail Citation »

                                        A German sociologist examines the assumptions on which sociology, as a discipline independent from the life sciences, is based and argues that these assumptions are questionable. Translated from Dutch, the article discusses the importance of biosocial theory and research for sociologists interested in the study of human sex differences.

                                        Find this resource:

                                        • Whitmeyer, Joseph M. 1994. Why actor models are integral to structural analysis. Sociological Theory 12.2: 153–165.

                                          DOI: 10.2307/201861E-mail Citation »

                                          This paper notes that any conceptualization of social structure necessarily involves a conception of its constituent actors. Suggests that evolutionary biology can inform the model of the actor used by sociologists.

                                          Find this resource:

                                          Genes and Social Behavior

                                          These articles argue for an incorporation of genetic affects on behavior in sociological research. Freese 2008, on the role of genetics in social behavior, was featured in the special issue of the American Journal of Sociology 2008. Shanahan, et al. 2010 urges sociologists to join the research effort to examine the joint effects of genes and environmental contexts on social behavior. Conley 2009 and Guo, et al. 2009 describe methods for including genetic information into social science research.

                                          • Conley, Dalton. 2009. The promise and challenges of incorporating genetic data into longitudinal social science surveys and research. Biodemography and Social Biology 55.2: 238–251.

                                            DOI: 10.1080/19485560903415807E-mail Citation »

                                            For the methodologically inclined. This paper describes how recent advances in both econometrics and in developmental genomics can be used to help social scientists understand how genes and environment interact to produce social outcomes.

                                            Find this resource:

                                            • Freese, Jeremy. 2008. Genetics and the social science explanation of individual outcomes. In Special Issue: Genetics and Social Structure. Edited by Peter Bearman. American Journal of Sociology 114.3: S1–S35.

                                              E-mail Citation »

                                              Important paper from the special issue of the American Journal of Sociology in 2008. The paper argues that there is accumulating evidence from behavioral genetics that the vast majority of individual-level outcomes of abiding sociological interest are genetically influenced to a substantial degree. Overviews a tremendous amount of behavioral genetic (and related) research.

                                              Find this resource:

                                              • Guo, Guang, Jessica Halliday Hardie, Craig Owen, et al. 2009. DNA collection in a randomized social science study of college peer effects. Sociological Methodology 39.1: 1–29.

                                                DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9531.2009.01214.xE-mail Citation »

                                                This paper describes how genetic data can be collected as a part of traditional social science survey research projects.

                                                Find this resource:

                                                • Shanahan, Michael J., Shawn Bauldry, and Jason Freeman. 2010. Beyond Mendel’s ghost. Contexts 9.4: 34–39.

                                                  E-mail Citation »

                                                  A nice discussion of why sociologists should join the effort to examine the joint effects of genes and social contexts on behavior.

                                                  Find this resource:

                                                  Hormones and Social Behavior

                                                  Alan Booth has been a pioneer in sociology at including biomarkers such as testosterone in social science research on the family. Booth, et al. 2006 both reviews research and advocates for continued research on testosterone’s role in social behavior.

                                                  • Booth, Alan, Douglas A. Granger, Allan Mazur, and Katie T. Kivlighan. 2006. Testosterone and Social Behavior. Social Forces 85.1: 167–191.

                                                    DOI: 10.1353/sof.2006.0116E-mail Citation »

                                                    An overview of the role of testosterone in social behavior. It describes testosterone’s link to status processes, aggressive behavior, relationship quality and sex differences.

                                                    Find this resource:

                                                    Textbooks

                                                    The only dedicated textbook on biosociology is an introductory sociology textbook that incorporates the biosocial approach: Sociology: A Biosocial Introduction (Hopcroft 2010).

                                                    • Hopcroft, Rosemary. 2010. Sociology: A biosocial introduction. Boulder, CO: Paradigm.

                                                      E-mail Citation »

                                                      This text follows the standard format for sociology textbooks and reviews research on all the major areas within sociology. It also includes a chapter on biology and incorporates new information on the effect of genes and other biological factors on social behavior as appropriate throughout the text.

                                                      Find this resource:

                                                      Journals

                                                      There is no dedicated journal to biosociology. The closest would be Social Biology. Social Forces and Demography have been the mainstream sociology journals most receptive to biosocial research. Important journals in related disciplines include Evolution & Human Behavior (dominated by evolutionary psychologists) and Human Nature (dominated by anthropologists). There is also The Newsletter of the Evolution, Biology & Society Section of the American Sociological Association.

                                                      Emotions and Social Behavior

                                                      The first major strand of research within the biosociology area is primarily microsociological in orientation in that it focuses on individual emotions. The primary question for these researchers is “How are our social, symbolic and emotional selves grounded in our shared, evolved human biology?” This work is based on information from primatology, behavioral ecology, and palaeoanthropology. Jonathan Turner and others (Turner 2007, Turner and Maryanski 2005; Turner and Maryanski 2008, and Massey 2005) have focused on the implications of evolution for human emotions and the role of emotions in both social solidarity and social change. Turner and Maryanski 2008 draws a picture of the evolved human that emerged some 150,000 years ago and has changed little since: an individualistic hominid, tied by emotional ties to group members but resistant to domination by other hominids. They note that this is the human nature that cultures have built on but not eradicated. In addition to those who do research on how individual emotions influence social relations, there are other scholars within this group who examine the reverse—how social relations and situations in turn influence emotions (Stets and Asencio 2008, TenHouten 2005). Robinson, et al 2004 discusses how the experience in group interactions (e.g., of being high and low status) influences emotional and physiological states. Much of the research shows that occupying a low-status position is more stressful than occupying a high-status position. Similarly, Massey 2004 theorizes that exposure to stress leads to a variety of deleterious health and cognitive outcomes for African Americans (see also Davis and Werre 2008).

                                                      • Davis, Jeff, and Daniel Werre. 2008. A longitudinal study of the effects of uncertainty on reproductive behaviors. Human Nature 19.4: 426–452.

                                                        DOI: 10.1007/s12110-008-9052-2E-mail Citation »

                                                        This paper presents a measure of uncertainty and shows that it predicts reproductive behaviors in a sample of adolescents in the United States.

                                                        Find this resource:

                                                        • Massey, Douglas S. 2004. Segregation and stratification: A biosocial perspective. Du Bois Review 1.1: 7–25.

                                                          E-mail Citation »

                                                          This article argues that long-term exposure to stress and violence boosts the allostatic load of African Americans, which in turn promotes deleterious health and cognitive outcomes.

                                                          Find this resource:

                                                          • Massey, Douglas S. 2005. Strangers in a strange land. Humans in an urbanizing world. New York: Norton.

                                                            E-mail Citation »

                                                            This book suggests that humans evolved for small group life, and life in an anonymous mass society poses challenges and dilemmas as a result.

                                                            Find this resource:

                                                            • Robinson, Dawn T., Christabel L. Rogalin, and Lynn Smith-Lovin. 2004. Physiological measures of theoretical concepts: Some ideas for linking deflection and emotion to physical responses during interaction. In Special Issue: Theory and Research on Human Emotions. Edited by J. H. Turner. Advances in Group Processes 21:77–115.

                                                              DOI: 10.1016/S0882-6145(04)21004-9E-mail Citation »

                                                              Paper presents some potential physiological measures of the emotional states present in interaction.

                                                              Find this resource:

                                                              • Stets, Jan E., and Emily K. Asencio. 2008. Consistency and enhancement processes in understanding emotions. Social Forces 86.3: 1055–1078.

                                                                DOI: 10.1353/sof.0.0022E-mail Citation »

                                                                This research describes a study of how the power and status of managers, as well as how much time they have to process feedback, influence workers to feel good about feedback that runs counter to expectations.

                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                • TenHouten, Warren D. 2005. Primary emotions and social relations: A first report. Free Inquiry in Creative Sociology 33.2: 79–92.

                                                                  E-mail Citation »

                                                                  Found that eight basic emotions could be effectively predicted from the positive and negative experiences of four kinds of social relations: market pricing, authority ranking, communal sharing, and equality matching.

                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                  • Turner, Jonathan H. 2007. Human emotions: A sociological theory. New York: Routledge.

                                                                    E-mail Citation »

                                                                    A book on emotion from the leading sociologist in the area. Natural selection, Turner suggests, has shaped human neuroanatomy to increase the range and complexity of our emotional expression. Turner argues that this both constrains and shapes human cultures and social structures.

                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                    • Turner, Jonathan H., and Alexandra Maryanski. 2005. Incest: Origins of the taboo. Boulder, CO: Paradigm.

                                                                      E-mail Citation »

                                                                      Examines the origins of the incest taboo in human evolutionary history.

                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                      • Turner, Jonathan H., and Alexandra Maryanski. 2008. On the origins of societies by natural selection. Edited by Jonathan H. Turner and Alexandra Maryanski. Studies in Comparative Social Science. Boulder, CO: Paradigm.

                                                                        E-mail Citation »

                                                                        This book traces the evolution of the human species from the early primates to the emergence of modern humans. They suggest that selection pressures led to heightened individual emotions and these were the basis on which human social solidarity could build. They further suggest that selection pressures for stronger ties produced the nuclear family and the hunting and gathering band.

                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                        Neurosociology

                                                                        The second primary area of research in the area may also be referred to as neurosociology. David Franks and others (Franks 2010, Hammond 2004) draw on the neuroscience of emotion and cognition. Their research draws on findings from research using fMRI scanners and Pet Scans to examine which parts of the brain are used for cognition and emotions. They examine the role of emotions in social behavior, unconscious behavior, the role of mirror neurons in imitation and empathy, and the brain bases of the social self.

                                                                        • Franks, David. 2010. Neurosociology: The nexus between neuroscience and social psychology. New York: Springer.

                                                                          E-mail Citation »

                                                                          Book discusses findings from various areas of neuroscience of relevance to sociological topics, including symbolic interactionism, sociology of emotions, in-group out-group behaviors, and the sociology of the self. Franks 2010 importantly points out that recent research on mirror neurons supports the work of the Chicago pragmatists, notably Charles Horton Cooley’s notion of the “looking glass self.” Mirror neurons are also involved in empathy, a key concern for sociologists and other social scientists.

                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                          • Hammond, Michael. 2004. The enhancement imperative and group dynamics in the emergence of religion and ascriptive inequality. Advances in Group Processes 21:167–188.

                                                                            DOI: 10.1016/S0882-6145(04)21007-4E-mail Citation »

                                                                            Argues that studies of human neurology support the Durkheimian idea that religion promotes social solidarity.

                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                            Evolution and Behavior

                                                                            The last two areas of research within the area are macrosociological and focus on aggregate behaviors. The first takes the opposite stance to the microsociological research discussed above —that is, evolved human universals are assumed to shape culture and social behavior in all societies, and the question is, “What are the results at the aggregate level?” The focus is thus on aggregate trends across human societies. Standard statistical methods were used, such as surveys and analysis of existing data; in addition, various forms of experimentation as well as more qualitative methods, such as field research and comparative historical sociology. Research has been primarily done in six subject areas—family processes and fertility, sex differences, sociological theory, religion, crime, and ethnic behavior.

                                                                            Family Processes and Fertility

                                                                            The first evolutionary approach to the family within sociology was the book Human Family Systems (van den Berghe 1979), a complete review of human family systems in all known human societies and how they can be explained by an evolutionary perspective. Since then, prominent work in the area has been done by family demographers (Biblarz and Raftery 1999), who are the source of the counterintuitive finding that single mothers are better at sponsoring the educational and occupational attainment of their children than reconstituted families. Work by Hopcroft 2006, Fieder and Huber 2007, and Nettle and Pollet 2008 has refined our understanding of the relationship between status and fertility, debating the earlier conclusions by Vining 1986. There has also been research testing evolutionary hypotheses concerning investment in children, both pro (Hopcroft 2005) and con (Freese and Powell 1999 and Hamilton, et al. 2007).

                                                                            • Biblarz, Timothy J., and Adrian E. Raftery. 1999. Family structure, educational attainment, and socioeconomic success: Rethinking the “pathology of matriarchy.” American Journal of Sociology 105.2: 321–365.

                                                                              DOI: 10.1086/210314E-mail Citation »

                                                                              This paper presents research demonstrating the benefits of either a two-biological-parent or a single-mother family over other family forms in promoting the educational and occupational achievement of children.

                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                              • Fieder, M., and S. Huber. 2007. The effects of sex and childlessness on the association between status and reproductive output in modern society. Evolution and Human Behavior 28.6: 392–398.

                                                                                DOI: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2007.05.004E-mail Citation »

                                                                                In this study, the authors find that there is a strong positive association between income/education and number of biological children for men. The reverse is true for women.

                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                • Freese, Jeremy, and Brian Powell. 1999. Sociobiology, status, and parental investment in sons and daughters: Testing the Trivers-Willard hypothesis. American Journal of Sociology 104.6: 1704–1743.

                                                                                  DOI: 10.1086/210221E-mail Citation »

                                                                                  A null finding published in a prominent place. This paper tests the Trivers-Willard hypothesis with data from two nationally representative surveys of American adolescents and their parents. Using a variety of different measures of investment, the authors find little evidence of the predicted parental investment behaviors.

                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                  • Hamilton, Laura, Simon Cheng, and Brian Powell. 2007. Adoptive parents, adaptive parents: Evaluating the importance of biological ties for parental investment. American Sociological Review 72.1: 95–116.

                                                                                    DOI: 10.1177/000312240707200105E-mail Citation »

                                                                                    This study examines the role of biological ties in investment in children. The results show that adopted children receive more investment than do children in other family types, because adoptive families have higher socioeconomic status, on average, than do other families. Once socioeconomic status of family is taken into account, two-adoptive-parent families invest at similar levels as do two-biological-parent families.

                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                    • Hopcroft, Rosemary L. 2005. Parental status and differential investment in sons and daughters: Trivers-Willard revisited. Social Forces 83.3: 1111-1136.

                                                                                      DOI: 10.1353/sof.2005.0035E-mail Citation »

                                                                                      Tests the Trivers-Willard hypothesis and finds strong support for it.

                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                      • Hopcroft, Rosemary L. 2006. Sex, status and reproductive success in the contemporary U.S..” Evolution and Human Behavior 27:104–120.

                                                                                        DOI: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2005.07.004E-mail Citation »

                                                                                        This is one of the first research studies to look at male fertility. Study finds that high-income men report greater frequency of sex than do all others. High income-men also have more biological children than do low-income men and high-income women, on average. Last, more educated men have more biological children than do more educated women, on average.

                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                        • Nettle, Daniel, and Thomas V. Pollet. 2008. Natural Selection on Male Wealth in Humans. American Naturalist 172.5: 658–666.

                                                                                          DOI: 10.1086/591690E-mail Citation »

                                                                                          Replicates the findings of Hopcroft 2006 with British data.

                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                          • van den Berghe, Pierre L. 1979. Human family systems: An evolutionary view. New York: Elsevier.

                                                                                            E-mail Citation »

                                                                                            Describes the different types of family systems found around the world and argues how they can be explained by evolutionary reasoning.

                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                            • Vining, D. R. 1986. Social versus reproductive success: The central theoretical problem of human sociobiology. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 9.1:167–187.

                                                                                              DOI: 10.1017/S0140525X00021968E-mail Citation »

                                                                                              Much-cited paper argues that sociobiology is irrelevant to modern human societies because of low fertility levels.

                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                              Sex Differences

                                                                                              Evolutionary biology posits sex differences, particularly in parenting behavior (Rossi 1984), and this has implications for many social phenomena, including inequality (Ellis 2001, Huber 2007, Hopcroft 2006, Hopcroft 2009), mental health (Hopcroft and Bradley 2007), and others (Elllis, et al. 2008).

                                                                                              • Ellis, Lee 2001. The biosocial female choice theory of social stratification. Social Biology 48.3–4: 297–319.

                                                                                                E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                Suggests that selection forces have favored males who attain or at least strive for high social status, and who advertise and even exaggerate whatever status they already have achieved.

                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                • Ellis, Lee, Scott Hershberger, Evelyn Field, et al. 2008. Sex differences: Summarizing more than a century of scientific research. New York: Psychology Press.

                                                                                                  E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                  This book summarizes all of the scientific literature published so far regarding male-female differences (and similarities). Highly comprehensive in its review.

                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                  • Hopcroft, Rosemary L. 2006. Status characteristics among older individuals: The diminished significance of gender. Sociological Quarterly 47.2: 361–374.

                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1111/j.1533-8525.2006.00049.xE-mail Citation »

                                                                                                    Sociologists have found that gender operates as a status characteristic in interaction. That is, all else being equal, women defer to men in interaction. This study shows that gender does not operate as a status characteristic in interaction for older men and women aged fifty and over.

                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                    • Hopcroft, Rosemary L. 2009. Gender inequality in interaction: An evolutionary account. Social Forces 87.4: 1845–1872.

                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1353/sof.0.0185E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                      Suggests that evolutionary theory can add to our understandings of gender inequality.

                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                      • Hopcroft, Rosemary L., and Dana Burr Bradley. 2007. The sex difference in depression across 29 countries. Social Forces 85.4: 1483–1507.

                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1353/sof.2007.0071E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                        This paper examines the sex difference in depression from a biosocial perspective.

                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                        • Huber, Joan. 2007. On the origins of gender inequality. Boulder, CO: Paradigm.

                                                                                                          E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                          This book examines the impact of biology on gender inequality. Argues that it is only recently that technology has freed women to enter the public arena.

                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                          • Rossi, Alice S. 1984. Gender and parenthood. American Sociological Review 49.1: 1–19.

                                                                                                            DOI: 10.2307/2095554E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                            One of the earliest statements from a sociologist about gender differences in parenting.

                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                            Sociological Theory

                                                                                                            The potential contributions of evolutionary theory to sociological theory have been explored in different ways by Blute (Blute 2006, Blute 2010), Hopcroft 2008, Horne 2004, Machalek and Martin 2010, and Sanderson (Sanderson 2001, Sanderson 2007). In Europe a prominent proponent of the use of evolutionary theory in sociology is the Finnish sociologist J. P. Roos (see Roos with Rotkirch 2005).

                                                                                                            • Blute, Marion. 2006. Gene-culture coevolutionary games. Social Forces 85.1: 151–166.

                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1353/sof.2006.0115E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                              This paper suggests using interactive models from game theory to model gene-culture coevolution, and gives examples.

                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                              • Blute, Marion. 2010. Darwinian sociocultural evolution: Evolutionary solutions to dilemmas in cultural and social theory. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                This book applies the logic of evolutionary reasoning to social-learning theories of cultural and social change.

                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                • Hopcroft, Rosemary L. 2008. Darwinian conflict theory: Alternative theory or unifying paradigm for sociology? In The new evolutionary science: Human nature, social behavior and social change. Edited by Heinz-Jürgen Niedenzu, Tamás Meleghy, and Peter Meyer, 52–61. Boulder, CO: Paradigm.

                                                                                                                  E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                  This article argues that many of the concepts underlying Darwinian Conflict Theory hold the promise of providing a unifying paradigm for sociology.

                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                  • Horne, Christine. 2004. Values and evolutionary psychology. Sociological Theory 22.3: 477–503.

                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1111/j.0735-2751.2004.00230.xE-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                    This article by a rational choice theorist argues that evolutionary psychology adds a theory of value to standard rational choice theories.

                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                    • Machalek, R., and Michael W. Martin. 2010. Evolution, biology, and society: A conversation for the 21st-century sociology. Teaching Sociology 38.1: 35–45.

                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1177/0092055X09354078E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                      In this article the authors give suggestions to instructors who are seeking to incorporate a biosocial approach into the classroom.

                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                      • Roos, J. P., with Anna Rotkirch. 2005. Habitus, naturaleza o educación? Hacia un paradigma de la sociologia evolutiva. In Viejas sociedades, nueva sociologia. Edited by Juan Monreal, Capitolina Diaz, and Juan J. Garcia Escribano, 87–100. Madrid: Centro de Investigaciones Sociologicas.

                                                                                                                        E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                        (Habitus, Nature Or Nurture? Toward a Paradigm of Evolutionary Sociology). A chapter in Spanish by a prominent Finnish evolutionary sociologist. Sets out his vision for evolutionary sociology.

                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                        • Sanderson, Stephen K. 2001. The evolution of human sociality: A Darwinian conflict perspective. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

                                                                                                                          E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                          Reviews several of the major theoretical traditions within sociology and presents Darwinian Conflict Theory as a theory that builds on the best of these traditions.

                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                          • Sanderson, Stephen K. 2007. Marvin Harris, meet Charles Darwin: A critical evaluation and theoretical extension of cultural materialism. In Studying societies and cultures: Marvin Harris’s cultural materialism and its legacy. Edited by Lawrence A. Kuznar and Stephen K. Sanderson, 194–228. Studies in Comparative Social Science. Boulder, CO: Paradigm.

                                                                                                                            E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            Evaluates Marvin Harris’s theories and concludes that cultural materialism in the hands of Harris has made important contributions to many important arenas of human social life, but it has also failed in a variety of other ways. Mostly the problems derive from Harris’s failure to include biological considerations in his theorizing.

                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                            Religion

                                                                                                                            There is much interest in the evolutionary origins of religion in neighboring disciplines of anthropology and psychology. Sociologist Steven K. Sanderson (see Sanderson 2008) has recently joined this enterprise. Although not specifically evolutionary, Miller and Stark 2002 suggests that gender differences in risk aversion (possibly an evolved trait) play a role in the sex difference in religiosity. Collett and Lizardo 2009 debates this point.

                                                                                                                            • Collett, Jessica L., and Omar Lizardo. 2009. A power-control theory of gender and religiosity. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 48.2: 213–231.

                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-5906.2009.01441.xE-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                              Critique of Miller and Stark 2002. Suggests that socialization arguments can be saved and that power control theory can account for sex difference in religiosity.

                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                              • Miller, Alan S., and Rodney Stark. 2002. Gender and religiousness: Can socialization explanations be saved? American Journal of Sociology 107.6: 1399–1423.

                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1086/342557E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                Suggests that socialization arguments for the sex difference in religion are flawed. Their data better show a robust association between risk aversion and religiosity. They further suggest that there may be physiological reasons for the sex difference in risk aversion, although they do not pursue the issue.

                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                • Sanderson, Stephen K. 2008. Adaptation, evolution, and religion. Religion 38.2: 141–156.

                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1016/j.religion.2008.01.003E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                  This article presents evidence in favor of religion as an adapted trait.

                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                  Crime

                                                                                                                                  Evolutionary theory on sex differences has implications for the study of crime, as most crime is committed by males. This is explored by Ellis 2004, and Savage and Vila 2003.

                                                                                                                                  • Ellis, Lee. 2004. Sex, status, and criminality: A theoretical nexus. Social Biology 51.3–4: 144–160.

                                                                                                                                    E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                    This article offers a biosocial theory of why men are more involved in crime, particularly violent crime, than women.

                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                    • Savage, Joanne, and Bryan J. Vila. 2003. Human ecology, crime, and crime control: Linking individual behavior and aggregate crime. Social Biology 50.1–2: 77–101.

                                                                                                                                      E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                      This paper focuses on elements relevant to human ecology—biology, development, and ecological factors—and their role in criminal behavior. Major emphasis is placed on the linkages between individual factors and macrolevel crime using chronic offending as a case in point.

                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                      Ethnic Behavior

                                                                                                                                      One of the pioneers of the evolution and social behavior area, Pierre van den Berghe has also explored the evolutionary bases of ethnic behavior (van den Berghe 1981). A follow-up to this work was published by a student (Whitmeyer 1997).

                                                                                                                                      • van den Berghe, Pierre L. 1981. The ethnic phenomenon. New York: Elsevier.

                                                                                                                                        E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                        One of the first people to argue for the incorporation of evolution biology into sociology. In this book van den Berghe argues that much ethnic behavior can be seen as an extension of kin selection.

                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                        • Whitmeyer, Joseph M. 1997. Endogamy as a basis for ethnic behavior. Sociological Theory 15.2: 162–178.

                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1111/0735-2751.00030E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                          Presents a mathematical theory of endogamy to suggest that it is a fundamental cause of human behavior often classified as ethnic. It is hypothesized that, in evolutionary terms, rational individuals help possible coprogenitors; thus, in a variety of situations, individuals will prefer to help the endogamous set of people to which they belong.

                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                          Genes and Social Behavior

                                                                                                                                          The last area is primarily focused on the effects of individual variation and is the focus of a huge amount of current research in sociology as well as related disciplines. The central question in this area is, “How do human genetic potentials interact with specific social contexts to produce social behavior?” This is macrosociology, where the researchers generally use statistical methods to find trends in large datasets. Much of this research relies on the collection of DNA data as well as the more typical survey data in sociological data sets. An important data source is the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), a study designed by Peter Bearman and Richard Udry, both at the time members of the Department of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Much of this research looks at genetic influences on crime and delinquency, substance dependence, status attainment, family processes and fertility, and health and attitudes. These researchers note that the nature of social contexts influences the degree to which genes influence behavioral outcomes. One notable finding that emerges across areas is that genetic effects tend to be strongest in situations where individuals have the most choice.

                                                                                                                                          Crime and Delinquency

                                                                                                                                          Most of this research tries to determine the differential influence of genetic potentials and environmental contexts on criminal and delinquent behaviors (Beaver 2008; Beaver, et al. 2008; Guo, et al. 2008; Vaughn, et al. 2009).

                                                                                                                                          • Beaver, Kevin M. 2008. Nonshared environmental influences on adolescent delinquent involvement and adult criminal behavior. Criminology 46.2: 341–369.

                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2008.00112.xE-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                            Kevin Beaver is a criminologist using the Add Health data to show genetic and environmental affects on delinquent involvement and adult criminal behavior.

                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                            • Beaver, Kevin M., John Paul Wright, Matt Delisi, and Michael G. Vaughn. 2008. Desistance from delinquency: The marriage effect revisited and extended. Social Science Research 37.3: 736–752.

                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2007.11.003E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                              Another from Kevin Beaver’s research team, to further examine how marriage interacts with genetic potential to promote desistance from delinquency.

                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                              • Guo, Guang, Michael Roettger, and Tianji Cai. 2008. The integration of genetic propensities into social control models of delinquency and violence among male youths. American Sociological Review 73.4: 543–568.

                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1177/000312240807300402E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                Important paper published in the flagship journal of the discipline of sociology. This paper shows that three genetic polymorphisms are significant predictors of serious and violent delinquency when added to a social-control model of delinquency. Findings also show that the genetic effects are conditional and interact with family processes, school processes, and friendship networks.

                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                • Vaughn, Michael G., Matt Delisi, Kevin M. Beaver, and John Paul Wright. 2009. DAT1 and 5HTT are associated with pathological criminal behavior in a nationally representative sample of youth. Criminal Justice and Behavior 36.11: 1103–1124.

                                                                                                                                                  E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                  Another from Kevin Beaver’s research group. This study empirically explores the genetic antecedents of chronic and dangerous criminal behavior.

                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                  Substance Dependence

                                                                                                                                                  This research seeks to examine the relative influence of social contexts and genes on substance abuse (Button, et al. 2009), drinking behavior (Guo, et al. 2009), and smoking (Boardman, et al. 2010).

                                                                                                                                                  • Boardman, Jason D., Casely L. Blalock, and Fred C. Pampel. 2010. Trends in the genetic influences on smoking. Journal of Health and Social Behavior 51.1: 108–123.

                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1177/0022146509361195E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    Using data on twin pairs, the authors estimate that 35 percent of the variance in regular smoking is due to genetic influences. Authors found that the strength of genetic influence was strongest for those born in certain time periods.

                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                    • Button, Tanya M. M., Michael C. Stallings, Soo Hyun Rhee, et al. 2009. Perceived peer delinquency and the genetic predisposition for substance dependence vulnerability. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 100.1–2: 1–8.

                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2008.08.014E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                      This paper examines the relative contributions of genetic, shared, and nonshared environmental risks for substance abuse and dependency. Results show that the relative contribution of each component is influenced by association with delinquent peers.

                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                      • Guo, Guang, Glen H. Elder, Tianji Cai, and Nathan Hamilton. 2009. Gene-environment interactions: Peers’ alcohol use moderates genetic contribution to adolescent drinking behavior. Social Science Research 38.1: 213–224.

                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2008.04.002E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                        This paper tests the hypothesis that the genetic contribution to adolescent drinking depends on peer drinking behavior. They find evidence to support the hypothesis.

                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                        Status Attainment

                                                                                                                                                        This research examines the role of biological potential and environment on income attainment (Conley and Bennett 2001), intellectual development (Guo and Stearns 2002), success and happiness (Schnittker 2008), and educational attainment (Shanahan, et al. 2008). Nielsen 2006 suggests that the degree to which individuals achieve their genetic potential can be used as a measure of the opportunities present in that society (see also Adkins and Vaisey 2009).

                                                                                                                                                        • Adkins, Daniel E., and Stephen Vaisey. 2009. Toward a unified stratification theory: Structure, genome, and status across human societies. Sociological Theory 27.2: 99–121.

                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9558.2009.01339.xE-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                          This article develops a theory of how social structure moderates the influence of the genome on status outcomes. Its thesis is that the strength of the genome’s influence on status will be highest under conditions of low inequality and high social mobility.

                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                          • Conley, Dalton, and Neil G. Bennett. 2001. Birth weight and income: Interactions across generations. Journal of Health and Social Behavior 42.4: 450–465.

                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.2307/3090189E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                            A study looking at the interaction between maternal income and genetic risks for low birth weight on birth weight.

                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                            • Guo, Guang, and Elizabeth Stearns. 2002. The social influences on the realization of genetic potential for intellectual development. Social Forces 80.3: 881–910.

                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1353/sof.2002.0007E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                              Another study looking at the interaction between genetic potential and environmental factors—in this case, the outcome of interest is intellectual development.

                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                              • Nielsen, François. 2006. Achievement and ascription in educational attainment: Genetic and environmental influences on adolescent schooling. Social Forces 85.1: 193–216.

                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1353/sof.2006.0135E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                In this paper Nielsen presents a “behavior genetic” model of status attainment that evaluates the relative contribution of genes, family environment, and individual-specific environments to the occupational attainment of individuals.

                                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                • Schnittker, Jason. 2008. Happiness and success: Genes, families, and the psychological effects of socioeconomic position and social support. In Special Issue: Genetics and Social Structure. Edited by Peter Bearman. American Journal of Sociology 114.3: S233–S259.

                                                                                                                                                                  E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                  This study evaluates the relationship between genes, happiness, and various measures of success.

                                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                  • Shanahan, Michael J., Stephen Vaisey, Lance D. Erickson, and Andrew Smolen. 2008. Environmental contingencies and genetic propensities: Social capital, educational continuation, and dopamine receptor gene DRD2. In Special Issue: Genetics and Social Structure. Edited by Peter Bearman. American Journal of Sociology 114.3: S260–S286.

                                                                                                                                                                    E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                    One of the first sociological papers to look at the relationship between specific genes and social behavior. Results show that for boys, the dopamine receptor gene DRD2 is associated with a decreased likelihood of school continuation.

                                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                    Family Processes and Fertility

                                                                                                                                                                    These researchers look at the gene/environment interactions for outcomes such as same-sex attraction (Bearman and Brückner 2002), number of sexual partners (Guo, et al. 2008), age at first intercourse (Guo and Tong 2006), and fertility behavior (Kohler, et al. 1999; Kohler, et al. 2002). Powell, et al. 2010 further examines the effects of beliefs about the role of genes in same-sex attraction.

                                                                                                                                                                    • Bearman, Peter S., and Hannah Brückner. 2002. Opposite-sex twins and adolescent same-sex attraction. American Journal of Sociology 107.5: 1179–1205.

                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1086/341906E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                      One for socialization—this article supports the idea that gender-neutral socialization in early childhood influences adult romantic preferences.

                                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                      • Guo, Guang, Yuying Tong, and Tianji Cai. 2008. Gene by social-context interactions for number of sexual partners among white male youths: Genetics-Informed sociology. In Special Issue: Genetics and Social Structure. Edited by Peter Bearman. American Journal of Sociology 114.3: 36–66.

                                                                                                                                                                        E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                        Another first for sociology—the discovery of the genotype correlates of the number of sexual partners for white male youths.

                                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                        • Guo, Guang, and Yuying Tong. 2006. Age at first sexual intercourse, genes, and social context: Evidence from twins and the Dopamine D4 receptor gene. Demography 43.4: 747–769.

                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1353/dem.2006.0029E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                          This paper shows that genes also influence the timing of first sexual intercourse.

                                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                          • Kohler, Hans-Peter, J. L. Rodgers, and Kaare Christensen. 1999. Is fertility behavior in our genes? Findings From a Danish twin study. Population and Development Review 25.2: 253–288.

                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1111/j.1728-4457.1999.00253.xE-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                            This paper investigates the fertility of Danish twins born 1870–1910 and 1953–1964. The data suggest that genetic influences on fertility exist, but their relative magnitude and pattern are contingent on individual sex and on the socioeconomic environment experienced by individuals. Genetic effects are most prevalent in situations with deliberately controlled fertility and relatively egalitarian socioeconomic opportunities.

                                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                            • Kohler, Hans-Peter, J. L. Rodgers, and Kaare Christensen. 2002. Between nurture and nature: The shifting determinants of female fertility in Danish twin cohorts. Social Biology 49.3–4: 218–248.

                                                                                                                                                                              E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                              This paper shows that genes and environment both influence fertility behavior. Paper also looks at changes over time and finds that with increasing societal affluence the genetic influence on fertility increases.

                                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                              • Powell, Brian, Catherine Bolzendahl, Claudia Geist, and Lala Carr Steelman. 2010. Counted out: Same-Sex relations and Americans’ definitions of family. American Sociological Association’s Rose Series in Sociology. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

                                                                                                                                                                                E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                This book discusses, among other things, how Americans have becoming increasingly supportive of genetic explanations of sexuality. It discusses how genetic explanations can sometimes be used as a tool not to perpetuate the status quo (as critics often claim) but rather to promote social equality.

                                                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                Health

                                                                                                                                                                                Sociologists have long been interested in the effects of social situations on physical and mental health. Now some sociologists are examining the role of genes as well (Adkins, et al. 2008; Pescosolido, et al. 2008). Many argue that we can learn a great deal about social contexts from genetic studies of behavior (Martin 2008).

                                                                                                                                                                                • Adkins, Daniel E., Victor Wang, and Glen H. Elder Jr. 2008. Stress processes and trajectories of depressive symptoms in early life: Gendered development. Advances in Life Course Research 13:107–136.

                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1016/S1040-2608(08)00005-1E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                  This study investigates the pattern of sex differences in depressive symptoms across early life. Results show a curvilinear pattern of depressive symptoms, rising through adolescence and falling in young adulthood. Females are most likely to exhibit depressive symptoms and the effects of stressful life events and social support on depressive symptoms are larger for females.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Kendler, Kenneth S., Sara Jaffee, and Dan Romer, eds. 2011. The dynamic genome and mental health: The role of genomes and environments in youth development. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                    E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                    A nice selection of papers that examine how genes and environments interact to influence mental health.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                    • Martin, Molly A. 2008. The intergenerational correlation in weight: How genetic resemblance reveals the social role of families. In Special Issue: Genetics and Social Structure. Edited by Peter Bearman. American Journal of Sociology 114.3: S67–S105.

                                                                                                                                                                                      E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                      The article is the first to demonstrate that adolescent weight is influenced by both genetic and social factors.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Pescosolido, Bernice A., Brea L. Perry, J. Scott Long, et al. 2008. Under the influence of genetics: How transdisciplinarity leads us to rethink social pathways to illness. In Special Issue: Genetics and Social Structure. Edited by Peter Bearman. American Journal of Sociology 114.3: S171–S201.

                                                                                                                                                                                        E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                        This paper shows important genetic influence on alcohol dependence.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                        Attitudes

                                                                                                                                                                                        Attitudes are also influenced by both genes and environment (Eaves, et al. 2008).

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Eaves, Lindon J., Peter K. Hatemi, Elizabeth C. Prom-Womley, and Lenn Murrelle. 2008. Social and Genetic Influences on Adolescent Religious Attitudes and Practices. Social Forces 86.4: 1621–1646.

                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1353/sof.0.0050E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                          In this study, genetic influences on adolescent religious attitudes and practices were found to be small, while the effects of the social environment were much larger.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                          Hormones and Social Behavior

                                                                                                                                                                                          These researchers use hormonal analysis of saliva samples and statistical methods. Findings show that many important social phenomena are a product of the interaction of social contexts with individual hormonal states (Mazur 2005; Booth, et al. 2008). Much of the research has been on the effects of testosterone. Of this research, most has been on the effects of testosterone in boys and men (Mazur and Booth 1998; Dabbs and Dabbs 2000; Updegraff, et al. 2006). There have been comparatively fewer studies of the effects of testosterone on girls and women (Udry 2000; Booth, et al. 2005). Much of this research has been highly controversial within sociology, particularly when it pertains to sex differences in behavior (e.g., see Miller and Costello 2001 and Risman 2001 for critiques of Udry 2000).

                                                                                                                                                                                          • Booth, Alan, Douglas A. Granger, and Elizabeth A. Shirtcliff. 2008. Gender- and age-related differences in the association between social relationship quality and trait levels of salivary cortisol. Journal of Research on Adolescence 18.2: 239–260.

                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1111/j.1532-7795.2008.00559.xE-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                            This paper shows that higher levels of salivary cortisol are associated with poor-quality social relationships for girls, but not for boys.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                            • Booth, Alan, D. Johnson, and Douglas Granger. 2005. Testosterone, marital quality, and role overload. Journal of Marriage and the Family 67.2: 483–498.

                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1111/j.0022-2445.2005.00130.xE-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                              This paper shows the interaction between testosterone levels, husbands’ role overload, and marriage quality. Results show that when husbands perceive role overload, higher testosterone levels are associated with lower levels of marital quality.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                              • Dabbs, J. M. Jr., and M. G. Dabbs. 2000. Heroes, rogues, and lovers: Testosterone and behavior. New York: McGraw-Hill.

                                                                                                                                                                                                E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                Book describes testosterone’s role in behavior as demonstrated by numerous studies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                • Mazur, Allan. 2005. Biosociology of dominance and deference. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                  This book reviews the research dominance and deference behaviors in human and nonhuman primates. It also discusses the role of testosterone in dominance and deference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Mazur, A., and A. Booth 1998. Testosterone and dominance in men. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21.3: 353–363.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                    A review article of the effects of testosterone on dominance behavior in men. High levels of testosterone encourage behavior intended to enhance one’s status over other people. Sometimes this dominant behavior is aggressive or antisocial but often dominance is expressed nonaggressively.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Miller, Eleanor M., and Carrie Yang Costello. 2001. The limits of biological determinism. American Sociological Review 66.4: 592–598.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.2307/3088924E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                      One of the critiques of Udry 2000. The authors accuse Udry of biological determinism and insufficient attention to the cultural forces that shape behavior. For example, they note that wearing makeup is one of the indicators of feminine behavior used by Udry, but they claim it is only in contemporary societies that wearing makeup has become a “feminine” behavior. They also criticize the fact that Udry gives no mechanism for the effects of testosterone on behavior.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Risman, Barbara J. 2001. Calling the bluff of value-free science. American Sociological Review 66.4: 605–611.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.2307/3088926E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Another critique of Udry 2000. Risman claims that Udry does not reference contemporary sociological theories of gender. Suggests that Udry’s measures of femininity are time and culture specific and only apply to 20th-century white women.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Udry, J. Richard. 2000. Biological limits of gender construction. American Sociological Review 65.3: 443–457.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.2307/2657466E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Highly controversial when published in the leading sociology journal. This article looked at the effects on in utero exposure to testosterone on women’s gendered behavior in adult life thirty years later.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Updegraff, K., A. Booth, and Shawna Thayer. 2006. The role of family relationship quality and testosterone levels in adolescents’ peer experience: A biosocial analysis. Family Psychology 20.1: 21–29.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1037/0893-3200.20.1.21E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                            This study revealed that when boys had close relationships with mothers and sisters, testosterone was positively associated with their peer competence and involvement.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                            back to top

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            How to Subscribe

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions and individuals. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Purchase an Ebook Version of This Article

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ebooks of the Oxford Bibliographies Online subject articles are available in North America via a number of retailers including Amazon, vitalsource, and more. Simply search on their sites for Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guides and your desired subject article.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            If you would like to purchase an eBook article and live outside North America please email onlinemarketing@oup.com to express your interest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Article

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Up

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Down