[ soh-see-oh-bahy-ol-uh-jee, soh-shee- ]

  1. the study of social behavior in animals with emphasis on the role of behavior in survival and reproduction, engaging branches of ethology, population genetics, and ecology.

Origin of sociobiology

First recorded in 1945–50; socio- + biology

Other words from sociobiology

  • so·ci·o·bi·o·log·i·cal [soh-see-oh-bahy-uh-loj-i-kuhl, soh-shee-], /ˌsoʊ si oʊˌbaɪ əˈlɒdʒ ɪ kəl, ˌsoʊ ʃi-/, adjective
  • so·ci·o·bi·o·log·i·cal·ly, adverb
  • so·ci·o·bi·ol·o·gist, noun

Words Nearby sociobiology Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use sociobiology in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for sociobiology


/ (ˌsəʊsɪəʊbaɪˈɒlədʒɪ) /

  1. the study of social behaviour in animals and humans, esp in relation to its survival value and evolutionary origins

Derived forms of sociobiology

  • sociobiologist, noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for sociobiology


[ sō′sē-ō-bī-ŏlə-jē ]

  1. The scientific study of the biological basis of the social behavior of animals, based on the theory that such behavior is often genetically determined and that the genes governing this behavior are subject to the usual mechanisms of evolution. Sociobiology posits that an animal will normally behave in ways that will increase the survival of its genes in the gene pool, either by increasing its own reproductive success or the reproductive success of an individual or group that is closely related and thus shares some of the organism's genes. Sociobiologists seek to find explanations for animal behaviors such as aggression and altruism in relation to the survival of the animal's genes.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for sociobiology


[ (soh-see-oh-beye-ol-uh-jee) ]

An area of inquiry in biology, still somewhat controversial but gaining wider acceptance. Its central tenet is that many human behavioral and social traits are genetically inherited and are thus determined by genetic makeup and not culture.

Notes for sociobiology

Sociobiology is on the “nature” side in the nature-nurture controversy.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.