- Evolutionary psychology in the round
- The power of culture
- Evolution and psychology in philosophical perspective
- Niche construction, human behavioural ecology and evolutionary psychology
- Group-level evolutionary processes
- Homologizing the mind
- Social knowledge in primates
- Social cognition in non-primates
- Culture in primates and other animals
- Empathy, sympathy, and prosocial preferences in primates
- Evolution of the social brain as a distributed neural system
- The neuroevolutionary and neuroaffective psychobiology of the prosocial brain
- Neural pathways of social cognition
- Mirror neurons and social cognition
- Mechanisms of ecological rationality: heuristics and environments that make us smart
- The evolution of empathizing and systemizing: assortative mating of two strong systemizers and the cause of autism
- The ontogenetic origins of human cooperation
- Childhood experiences and reproductive strategies
- Parental impacts on development: How proximate factors mediate adaptive plans
- Evolution of stress response to social threat
- Birth order and sibling competition
- Body Odours and Body Odour Preferences in Humans
- Reproductive strategies and tactics
- Symmetry, attractiveness and sexual selection
- Sex differences in aggression
- The evolutionary ecology of human family size
- Life-history theory, reproduction and longevity in humans
- Evolutionary psychology meets history: insights into human nature through family reconstitution studies
- Risk and decision-making
- Ecological and socio-cultural impacts on mating and marriage systems
- Kinship and descent
- Individual differences
- Human evolution and social cognition
- Temporal knowledge and autobiographical memory: an evolutionary perspective
- Shamans, yogins and indigenous psychologies
- Competitive altruism: a theory of reputation-based cooperation in groups
- Ethnic nepotism as heuristic: risky transactions and public altruism
- Dual-inheritance theory: the evolution of human cultural capacities and cultural evolution
- Modelling cultural evolution
- Evolutionary perspectives in archaeology: from culture history to cultural evolution
- Explaining altruistic behaviour in humans
- The evolution of religion
- Evolutionary approaches to literature and drama
- Music and cognitive evolution
- The evolution of language
Abstract and Keywords
This article presents evidence supporting strong reciprocity. It explains why, under conditions plausibly characteristic of the early stages of human evolution, a small fraction of strong reciprocators could invade a population of self-regarding types, and why strong reciprocity is an evolutionarily stable strategy. It uses the term ‘self-regarding’ rather than the more common term ‘self-interested’ to avoid the question as to whether it is selfish to help others if that is how one ‘maximizes utility’. Although most of the evidence it reports is based on behavioural experiments, the same behaviours are regularly observed in everyday life, and of great relevance for social policy. Despite the fact that strong reciprocity is altruistic, its results do not contradict traditional evolutionary theory. A gene that promotes self-sacrifice will die out unless those who are helped carry the mutant gene, or its spread is otherwise promoted.
Herbert Gintis is a member of the External Faculty of the Santa Fe Institute, and Professor, Central European University.
Samuel Bowles is Research Professor and Director of the Behavioral Sciences Program at the Santa Fe Institute and Professor of Economics at the University of Siena.
Professor Robert Boyd, Department of Anthropology, University of California Los Angeles.
Professor Ernst Fehr, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics, University of Zurich.
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