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Constraining free riding in public goods games: designated solitary punishers can sustain human cooperation

O'Gorman, Rick and Henrich, Joseph and Van Vugt, Mark (2009) 'Constraining free riding in public goods games: designated solitary punishers can sustain human cooperation.' Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 276 (1655). 323 - 329. ISSN 0962-8452

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Abstract

Much of human cooperation remains an evolutionary riddle. Unlike other animals, people frequently cooperate with non-relatives in large groups. Evolutionary models of large-scale cooperation require not just incentives for cooperation, but also a credible disincentive for free riding. Various theoretical solutions have been proposed and experimentally explored, including reputation monitoring and diffuse punishment. Here, we empirically examine an alternative theoretical proposal: responsibility for punishment can be borne by one specific individual. This experiment shows that allowing a single individual to punish increases cooperation to the same level as allowing each group member to punish and results in greater group profits. These results suggest a potential key function of leadership in human groups and provides further evidence supporting that humans will readily and knowingly behave altruistically.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2011 15:57
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2021 12:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/1456

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