ASU In the News

Anthropologist examines friendship across cultures

<p>The innovative work being done by anthropologist Daniel Hruschka is the subject of a new book, “Friendship: Development, Ecology, and Evolution of a Relationship,” and a recent interview with PLoS’ Neuroanthropology.</p><p>An assistant professor in Arizona State University’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Hruschka has spent a decade taking a cross-cultural, transdisciplinary look at friendship.</p><p>He found major differences in the way friendships develop and function in various parts of the world but noted that, “What defines friendship in these diverse settings is how friends provide help.”</p><p>His research approaches friendship as a living organism affected by its environment and a host of factors, including emotions, hormones, social and cultural institutions, expectations, neurotransmitters and brain circuits.</p><p>“Human friendship poses a profound evolutionary puzzle,” Hruschka said, due to friends’ willingness to sacrifice for one another without regard to past behaviors or future consequences. He added that it is impossible to solve the puzzle without using all the disciplinary tools and insights available, from ethnographic records and cross-cultural studies to economic and evolutionary game theory.</p>

Article Source: PLoS Neuroanthropology
Rebecca Howe

Communications Specialist, School of Human Evolution and Social Change