Popularity of Pokemon Go points to our hunting instinct

Do we have an inherited hunting instinct, like dogs, cats and other predators? Quite likely, as the popularity of the augmented reality game Pokemon Go suggests, according to a new study.

Pokemon Go allows players to catch virtual wild animals in real-world locations through the mobile phone camera.

“It is possible that we all have the hunting instinct, but it has never been proven,” said study author Vladimir Dinets, Assistant Research Professor of Psychology at University of Tennessee, Knoxville in the US.

“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.

Hunting has played a major role in human history, helping humans survive and populate the world, but whether we have an inherited hunting instinct or not is not known.

“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,” Dinets added.