Capture-bonding

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Capture-bonding is an evolutionary psychology[1] term for the evolved psychological mechanism[2] behind Stockholm syndrome. John Tooby (then a graduate student at Harvard University) originated the concept and its ramifications in the early 1980s, though he did not publish.[3] The term is fairly widely used on the Web and has begun to show up in books. [4]

In the view of evolutionary psychology "the mind is a set of information-processing machines that were designed by natural selection to solve adaptive problems faced by our hunter-gatherer ancestors." [5]

One of the "adaptive problems faced by our hunter-gatherer ancestors," particularly our female ancestors, was being abducted by another band. Life in the human "environment of evolutionary adaptiveness" (EEA) is thought by researchers such as Azar Gat to be similar to that of the few remaining hunter-gatherer societies. "Deadly violence is also regularly activated in competition over women. . . . Abduction of women, rape, . . . are widespread direct causes of reproductive conflict . . ." [6] I.e., being captured [7] and having their dependent children killed might have been fairly common. [8] Women who resisted capture in such situations risked being killed. [9]

Azar Gat argues that war and abductions (capture) were typical of human pre history. [10] When selection is intense and persistent, adaptive traits (such as capture-bonding) become universal to the population or species. (See Selection.)

Capture-bonding as an evolutionary psychology mechanism can be used to understand historical events from the Rape of the Sabine Women to the hundreds of accounts of Europeans (mostly women) who were captured and assimilated into Native American tribes. Cynthia Ann Parker (1836 capture) is both an example of the mechanism working and it failing to work when she was captured again much later in life. Evolutionary psychology reasoning would lead you to expect that capture-bonding would be more effective at a younger age when there was more reproductive potential at risk. She did very well evolutionary terms because her son Quanah Parker had 25 children. Mary Jemison (1750 capture) was a very famous case. The last one (1851 capture) may have been Olive Oatman.

Partial activation of the capture-bonding psychological trait may lie behind Battered-wife syndrome, military basic training, fraternity hazing, and sex practices such as sadism/masochism or bondage/discipline. [11]

See also

References

  1. "My contention, simply put, is that the evolutionary approach is the only approach in the social and behavioral sciences that deals with why, in an ultimate sense, people behave as they do. As such, it often unmasks the universal hypocrisies of our species, peering behind self-serving notions about our moral and social values to reveal the darker side of human nature. (Silverman 2003) Confessions of a Closet Sociobiologist: Darwinian Movement in Psychology http://www.epjournal.net/filestore/ep0119.pdf
  2. Consider the mysterious behavior of Elizabeth Smart in Salt Lake City in 2003 or that of Patty Hearst when she was abducted in 1974. In both cases the victims bonded to their captors and resisted leaving them. The evolutionary origin of this psychological trait, known as the Stockholm syndrome (or more descriptively as capture bonding) almost certainly comes from millions of years of evolutionary selection where our ancestors-usually our female ancestors-were being violently captured from one tribe by another. Those who had the psychological traits (ultimately gene-based mechanisms) that led them to socially reorient after a few days (i.e., bond) to their captors often survived to pass on the trait. Those who continued to resist, because they didn't have this trait, often became breakfast. Evolutionary Psychology, Memes and the Origin of War, Mankind Quarterly, Volume XLVI Number 4, Summer 2006.
  3. (source: Leda Cosmides
  4. From Princess to Prisoner By Linda C. Mcjunckins http://books.google.com/books?id=f8lS3RMhv7oC&pg=PA211&dq=capture+bonding&sig=XT21yLbFDdm
  5. Evolutionary Psychology: A Primer - Leda Cosmides & John Tooby
  6. Published in Anthropological Quarterly, 73.2 (2000), 74-88. THE HUMAN MOTIVATIONAL COMPLEX: EVOLUTIONARY THEORY AND THE CAUSES OF HUNTER-GATHERER FIGHTING Azar Gat Part II: Proximate, Subordinate, and Derivative Causes"
  7. "The percentage of females in the lowland villages who have been abducted is significantly higher: 17% compared to 11.7% in the highland villages." (Napoleon Chagnon quoted at Sexual Polarization in Warrior Cultures)
  8. "Elena Valero, a Brazilian woman, was kidnapped by Yanomamo warriors when she was eleven years old . . . . But none were so horrifying as the second [raid]: ‘They killed so many.’ . . . The man then took the baby by his feet and bashed him against the rocks . . . ." (Hrdy quoted in Sexual Polarization in Warrior Cultures)
  9. "The Shaur and Achuar Jivaros, once deadly enemies . . . . A significant goal of these wars was geared toward the annihilation of the enemy tribe, including women and children. . . . . There were however, many instances where the women and children were taken as prisoners . . . . A woman who fights, or a woman who refuses to accompany the victorious war-party to their homes and serve a new master, exposes herself to the risk of suffering the same fate as her men-folk." (Up de Graff also in Sexual Polarization in Warrior Cultures)
  10. Published in Anthropological Quarterly, 73.2 (2000), 74-88. THE HUMAN MOTIVATIONAL COMPLEX: EVOLUTIONARY THEORY AND THE CAUSES OF HUNTER-GATHERER FIGHTING Azar Gat Part II: Proximate, Subordinate, and Derivative Causes"
  11. Being captured by neighbouring tribes was a relatively common event for women in human history, if anything like the recent history of the few remaining primitive tribes. In some of those tribes (Yanomamo, for instance) practically everyone in the tribe is descended from a captive within the last three generations. Perhaps as high as one in ten of females were abducted and incorporated into the tribe that captured tbem. Once you understand the evolutionary origin of this trait and its critical nature in genetic survival and reproduction in tbe ancestral human environment, related mysterious human psychological traits fall into place. Battered-wife syndrome is an example of activating the capture-bonding psychological mechanism, as are military basic training, fraternity bonding by hazing, and sex practices such as sadism/masochism or bondage/discipline. Evolutionary Psychology, Memes and the Origin of War, H. Keith Henson, Mankind Quarterly, Volume XLVI Number 4, Summer 2006.