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The evolution of overconfidence
An evolutionary model is presented showing that, counterintuitively, overconfidence maximizes individual fitness and populations tend to become overconfident, as long as benefits from contested resources are sufficiently large compared with the cost of competition.
God’s punishment and public goods
This work uses data from 186 societies around the globe to test whether the likelihood of supernatural punishment—indexed by the importance of moralizing “high gods”—is associated with cooperation.
Hand of God, Mind of Man: Punishment and Cognition in the Evolution of Cooperation*
The evolution of human cooperation remains a puzzle because cooperation persists even in conditions that rule out mainstream explanations. We present a novel solution that links two recent theories.
The Good of Wrath: Supernatural Punishment and the Evolution of Cooperation
Abstract Human cooperation remains a puzzle because it persists even in contexts where traditional theories predict it should not do so (i.e. among unrelated strangers, who never meet again and where
The Biological and Evolutionary Logic of Human Cooperation
Abstract Human cooperation is held to be an evolutionary puzzle because people voluntarily engage in costly cooperation, and costly punishment of non-cooperators, even among anonymous strangers they
Overconfidence and War: The Havoc and Glory of Positive Illusions
A study offers insights into why states wage war and traces the effects of human tendency toward overconfidence through two turning points that erupted into war and two that did not.
The Error of God: Error Management Theory, Religion, and the Evolution of Cooperation
The punishment of free-riders is widely regarded as central to the evolution of cooperation, but the problem of who pays the costs of punishment remains controversial. I have previously proposed