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As a PhD student, I took a class in animal behaviour. I didn’t work very hard and have forgotten most of it. However, since I became a father, I have been thinking more about this class. One of the papers I read was the classic “The social function of the intellect” by Nicholas Humphrey, first published in 1976. The paper is packed with insightful analogies. For example, Humphrey offered an interesting interpretation of Robinson Crusoe. According to him, Crusoe’s life on the island was a relatively simple and easy one, which he managed without too much trouble. His life only became challenging after the arrival of Friday. What he meant was that it’s the complexity of society, rather than the challenges of survival that drive the evolution of intelligence. I can see this in my daughter. Her life before 4yo was quite easy and carefree. When she started to have friends and social relationships in the childcare, that’s when things became complicated. 📚