The origins of normativity: Assessor teaching and the emergence of norms

Laureano Castro, Miguel A. Toro


Norms govern many aspects of human behaviour and facilitate coordination in cooperative activities. Regarding the origin of normativity, the most widely accepted hypothesis holds that it was shaped by processes of cultural selection between human groups with different rules on how to organise social life. However, in our opinion, we still lack an evolutionary explanation that would allow us to trace the origins of this incipient normativity in early humans. In this text we suggest that normativity appeared early in the development of our hominin ancestors as a consequence of the development of elementary teaching skills, understood not only as the ability to show others how to do something, but also as the ability to point out what one may and may not do.


learning; assessor teaching; culture; cooperation; normative psychology

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