Genes are all you need for good manners say researchers

Share this article

TAKING turns may not just be good manners but part of evolution, new Scots-funded research revealed today.

Not only humans take turns after being taught to be considerate, but a range of other animals do as well, a study by psychologists at the University of Leicester found.

Professor Andrew Colman and Dr Lindsay Browning carried out the study, due to appear in the September issue of the journal Evolutionary Ecology Research.

Prof Colman said: "In human groups, turn-taking is usually planned and co-ordinated with the help of language.

"Turn-taking has also evolved in many other species without language or the capacity to reach negotiated agreements."

Prof Colman and Dr Browning's research, funded through an Auber Bequest Award from the Royal Society of Edinburgh, said: "Many predatory animals hunt in pairs or larger groups, and this involves synchronised co-operation.

"Where co-operation involves turn-taking, a 'tit for tat' instinct could sustain the pattern once it was established but could not initiate it in the first place."