Social-Economic-Political-Emotional (SEPE) factors regulate human growth

  • Barry Bogin University of California San Diego / Salk Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (, School of Sport, Exercise & Health Sciences, Loughborough University, UK
Keywords: prestige, dominance-subordination, social identity, ego motivation, material and moral conditions, community effects



There is a recurring and seamless interaction between the biology of human development and the social-economic-political-emotional (SEPE) environment. The SEPE environment influences the quality of the material conditions for human biology and, simultaneously, human growth in height and other dimensions provide social and moral signals that provide information to community networks.


This article reviews the role of SEPE factors in human growth, especially skeletal growth.

Sample and Methods

The meaning of SEPE is defined and shown to be related to individual and group prestige, to social identity, and to ego and task motivation. These influence dominance or subordination of communities and the material and moral conditions of societies. Historical and contemporary examples of SEPE effects on skeletal size are presented.


Membership in a SEPE community impacts skeletal size in height and breadth. Higher SEPE classes are taller, lower SEPE classes are broader. In elite level sport the winners have more growth stimulation via the hormone IGF-1 even before the contest. These findings are explained in terms of dominance versus subordination and the Community Effect in Height hypothesis.


SEPE factor regulation of human growth is shown to be a more comprehensive explanation for plasticity in height than traditional concepts such as socioeconomic status and simple-minded genetic determinism. People belonging to upper SEPE class communities, the elites, know that they are superior and are treated as such by the non-elites. The material and moral condition for life operating through these community social networks provide positive stimulation for the elites and negative stimulation for the lower SEPE classes. These differences maintain the gradients in height between SEPE communities in human societies.


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How to Cite
Bogin, B. (2021). Social-Economic-Political-Emotional (SEPE) factors regulate human growth. Human Biology and Public Health, 1.