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Keywords:

  • Models/simulations;
  • quantitative genetics;
  • selection—group/kin

When Hamilton defined the concept of inclusive fitness, he specifically was looking to define the fitness of an individual in terms of that individual's behavior, and the effects of its’ behavior on other related individuals. Although an intuitively attractive concept, issues of accounting for fitness, and correctly assigning it to the appropriate individual make this approach difficult to implement. The direct fitness approach has been suggested as a means of modeling kin selection while avoiding these issues. Whereas Hamilton's inclusive fitness approach assigns to the focal individual the fitness effects of its behavior on other related individuals, the direct fitness approach assigns the fitness effects of other actors to the focal individual. Contextual analysis was independently developed as a quantitative genetic approach for measuring multilevel selection in natural populations. Although the direct fitness approach and contextual analysis come from very different traditions, both methods rely on the same underlying equation, with the primary difference between the two approaches being that the direct fitness approach uses fitness optimization modeling, whereas with contextual analysis, the same equation is used to solve for the change in fitness associated with a change in phenotype when the population is away from the optimal phenotype.