If you enjoy playing Pokemon Go and catching imaginary creatures, you may be expressing your inner hunting instinct, a new research suggests. Hunting has played a major role in human history, helping humans survive and populate the world.
Vladimir Dinets, from University of Tennessee in the US wanted to find out if we have an inherited hunting instinct, like dogs, cats and other predators.
Dinets used himself as a case study to demonstrate that at least some humans do have a hunting instinct or, more precisely, an innate interest in finding and catching prey. “It is possible that we all have the hunting instinct, but it has never been proven,” Dinets said.
To probe this question, Dinets looked to his own childhood. He traced his interest in wild animals or the natural world back to the age of three.
Dinets said that his father, a chemist, too had a lifelong hobby of chasing, catching and studying rare butterflies. “The recent explosive popularity of the Pokemon Go game, which allows players to hunt for virtual animals across a real terrain, shows how addictive such proxies can be and how many people can enjoy hunting-like behaviour despite being city dwellers completely isolated from natural environments,” Dinets said.
“The take-home message of the study is that we have predatory instincts and have to be aware of them. But this doesn’t mean that we have to be real predators; instead, we can follow these instincts in more intelligent ways,” he said.
Dinets noted that conducting studies on oneself has been important in the history of science, most famously with
infectious disease research.
“To prove such a theory, you don’t need a large sample size; you need just one well-documented case,” he said of the unconventional method. “Nowadays people mostly use it to avoid going through complex permit applications and legal issues with studies on human subjects,” he said. The study was published in the journal Humanimalia.