Altruistic punishment in humans

  title={Altruistic punishment in humans},
  author={Ernst Fehr and Simon G{\"a}chter},
Human cooperation is an evolutionary puzzle. Unlike other creatures, people frequently cooperate with genetically unrelated strangers, often in large groups, with people they will never meet again, and when reputation gains are small or absent. These patterns of cooperation cannot be explained by the nepotistic motives associated with the evolutionary theory of kin selection and the selfish motives associated with signalling theory or the theory of reciprocal altruism. Here we show… Expand

Figures and Topics from this paper

The evolution of altruistic punishment
It is shown that an important asymmetry between altruistic cooperation and altruistic punishment allows altruistic punished to evolve in populations engaged in one-time, anonymous interactions, and this process allows both altruism punishment and altruism cooperation to be maintained even when groups are large. Expand
Altruism may arise from individual selection.
This work introduces an agent-based model inspired on the Ultimatum Game, that allows it to go beyond the limitations of standard evolutionary game theory and show that individual selection can indeed give rise to strong reciprocity. Expand
Cooperation and Punishment, Especially in Humans
A direct (neighbor‐modulated) fitness approach is used to analyze when punishment is favored and reveals that relatedness between interacting individuals is not crucial to explaining cooperation through punishment, and increasing relatedness directly disfavors punishing behavior. Expand
Human altruism: economic, neural, and evolutionary perspectives
Experimental evidence and evolutionary models suggest that strong reciprocity, the behavioral propensity for altruistic punishment and altruistic rewarding, is of key importance for human cooperation, and recent brain imaging studies show that mutual cooperation and the punishment of defectors activate reward related neural circuits. Expand
Cruel to be kind: The role of the evolution of altruistic punishment in sustaining human cooperation in public goods games
People cooperate in public goods games even when an individual’s utility maximizing strategy is to defect. A form of non-institutionalized punishment called altruistic punishment—or strongExpand
Explaining human altruism
Humans often behave altruistically towards strangers with no chance of reciprocation. From an evolutionary perspective, this is puzzling. The evolution of altruistic cooperative behavior—in which anExpand
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 theyExpand
Altruistic Punishment and the Origin of Cooperation
  • J. Fowler
  • Economics, Medicine
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 2005
A simple evolutionary model is presented in which altruistic punishers can enter and will always come to dominate a population of contributors, defectors, and nonparticipants, suggesting that the cycle of strategies in voluntary public goods games does not persist in the presence of punishment strategies. Expand
The Evolution of Altruistic Punishment
Altruistic punishment has been noted as a force in sustaining cooperation. The evolution of altruistic punishment, however, is hard to explain by natural selection. In this paper, we review theExpand
The economics of altruistic punishment and the maintenance of cooperation
  • M. Egas, A. Riedl
  • Medicine, Psychology
  • Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2008
The results indicate that punishment is strongly governed by its cost-to-impact ratio and that its effect on cooperation can be pinned down to one single variable: the threshold level of free-riding that goes unpunished. Expand


Evolution of indirect reciprocity by image scoring
It is proposed that the emergence of indirect reciprocity was a decisive step for the evolution of human societies and the probability of knowing the ‘image’ of the recipient must exceed the cost-to-benefit ratio of the altruistic act. Expand
The Evolution of Reciprocal Altruism
  • R. Trivers
  • Psychology
  • The Quarterly Review of Biology
  • 1971
A model is presented to account for the natural selection of what is termed reciprocally altruistic behavior. The model shows how selection can operate against the cheater (non-reciprocator) in theExpand
Why people punish defectors. Weak conformist transmission can stabilize costly enforcement of norms in cooperative dilemmas.
In this paper, we present a cultural evolutionary model in which norms for cooperation and punishment are acquired via two cognitive mechanisms: (1) payoff-biased transmission-a tendency to copy theExpand
Punishment in animal societies
Punishing strategies are used to establish and maintain dominance relationships, to discourage parasites and cheats, to discipline offspring or prospective sexual partners and to maintain cooperative behaviour. Expand
Altruism as a Handicap: The Limitations of Kin Selection and Reciprocity
Trivers (1971) suggested an additional model "reciprocal altruism" (RA) to interpret altruistic adaptations among non-relatives, but data from several field studies have indicated that in many cases the act of the non-related altruist was not reciprocated. Expand
The Dynamics of Indirect Reciprocity
Richard Alexander has argued that moral systems derive from indirect reciprocity. We analyse a simple case of a model of indirect reciprocity based on image scoring. Discriminators provide help toExpand
Evolution of cooperation between individuals
The presence of phenotypic defectors paradoxically allows persistent discriminating cooperation under a much wider range of conditions than found by Nowak and Sigmund because there is selection against both defection and unconditional altruism. Expand
Evolution of cooperation through indirect reciprocity
  • O. Leimar, P. Hammerstein
  • Psychology, Medicine
  • Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 2001
This puzzle investigates indirect reciprocity in simulations based on an island model and finds that the strategy of aiming for ‘good standing’ has superior properties, which can be an evolutionarily stable strategy and, even if not, it usually beats image scoring. Expand
Reward and punishment
The analysis suggests that reputation is essential for fostering social behavior among selfish agents, and that it is considerably more effective with punishment than with reward. Expand
The biology of moral systems
The author argues that the ultimate interests of humans are reproductive, and that the concept of morality has arisen within groups because of its contribution to unity in the context, ultimately, of success in intergroup competition. Expand