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Social complexity from within: how individuals experience the structure and organization of their groups

Aureli, F and Schino, G (2019) Social complexity from within: how individuals experience the structure and organization of their groups. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 73 (6). ISSN 0340-5443

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Open Access URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00265-018-2604-5 (Published version)


We argue that the study of social complexity can follow two different approaches, based on how it is seen from the outside or on how it is experienced from within. Recent focus has been on the former with social complexity emerging from the interactions of group members. Here, we take the view from within and deal with the social complexity that individual group members may experience, exploring complexity arising from aspects of the social structure and social organization. We review a variety of sources of social complexity in terms of variation between and within social relationships, variation in opportunities to interact with different group members, and the role of third parties. We then examine how individuals can cope with the social complexity they face. We conclude that a refined view of social relationships at different levels is needed to study the social complexity faced by individual group members and emphasize the potential contribution of the view from within to the study of social complexity and cognition.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 06 Biological Sciences, 05 Environmental Sciences, 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Natural Sciences & Psychology (closed 31 Aug 19)
Publisher: Springer
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2019 11:27
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2021 23:42
DOI or ID number: 10.1007/s00265-018-2604-5
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/10308
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