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Altruistic punishing and helping differ in sensitivity to relatedness, friendship, and future interactions

O'Gorman, Rick and Wilson, David Sloan and Miller, Ralph R (2005) 'Altruistic punishing and helping differ in sensitivity to relatedness, friendship, and future interactions.' Evolution and Human Behavior, 26 (5). pp. 375-387. ISSN 1090-5138

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Altruism is behaviorally defined as an act that benefits others at the expense of the actor. Altruism is usually associated with helping others in need, but it can also take place in the context of punishment. People who help to maintain cooperation by punishing cheaters are benefiting others at their own expense as surely as if they performed acts of overt helping. The proximate psychological mechanisms that motivate altruistic helping and altruistic punishment are almost certainly different from each other (e.g., empathy vs. moralistic anger). We present two studies suggesting that the impulse to altruistically help and altruistically punish differ in their sensitivity to information regarding genetic relatedness and probability of future interactions. This interesting empirical result is relevant to the interpretation of altruistic punishment as an evolved adaptation versus a byproduct of modern environments, and to the evolution of psychological traits associated with morality.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Altruism; Altruistic punishment; Altruistic helping; Kin selection; Reciprocity; Morality
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2015 20:31
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2022 00:58

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