The Neural Basis of Altruistic Punishment

  title={The Neural Basis of Altruistic Punishment},
  author={Dominique J.-F. de Quervain and Urs Fischbacher and Valerie Treyer and Melanie Schellhammer and Ulrich Schnyder and Alfred Buck and Ernst Fehr},
  pages={1254 - 1258}
Many people voluntarily incur costs to punish violations of social norms. Evolutionary models and empirical evidence indicate that such altruistic punishment has been a decisive force in the evolution of human cooperation. We used H2 15O positron emission tomography to examine the neural basis for altruistic punishment of defectors in an economic exchange. Subjects could punish defection either symbolically or effectively. Symbolic punishment did not reduce the defector's economic payoff… 
Beyond revenge: Neural and genetic bases of altruistic punishment
Neural components of altruistic punishment
The current state of research on the neural basis of altruism from the perspectives of costly punishment is reviewed, emphasizing the importance of characterizing elementary neural processes underlying a decision to punish.
Behavioural Differences and Neural Substrates of Altruistic and Spiteful Punishment
Findings are in contrast to the previous assumption that altruistic punishers derive pleasure from enforcement of fairness norms, and suggest that spiteful punishers derived pleasure from seeing the target experience negative consequences.
The reward-like nature of social cues that indicate successful altruistic punishment.
The influence of the reaction on the socioemotional level of the other person following altruistic punishment behavior on future decision making and neural responses is investigated and a reversed N2 effect for negative emotional faces in the context of altruism punishment is found.
Serotonin Modulates Striatal Responses to Fairness and Retaliation in Humans
It is shown that manipulating the serotonin system in humans alters costly punishment decisions by modulating responses to fairness and retaliation in the striatum, producing context-dependent effects on social behavior.
Neural correlates of successful costly punishment in the Ultimatum game on a trial-by-trial basis
Abstract Costly punishment describes decisions of an interaction partner to punish an opponent for violating rules of fairness at the expense of personal costs. Here, we extend the interaction
Altruistic Punishment and the Origin of Cooperation
  • J. Fowler
  • Economics
    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.
Decoupling cooperation and punishment in humans shows that punishment is not an altruistic trait
If a minority of individuals is made immune to punishment, they learn to stop cooperating on average despite being surrounded by high levels of cooperation, contradicting the idea of conditional cooperation and showing that cooperation and punishment do not form one, altruistically motivated, linked trait.
Impulsive Choice and Altruistic Punishment Are Correlated and Increase in Tandem With Serotonin Depletion
Findings imply that altruistic punishment reflects the absence rather than the presence of self control, and suggest that impulsive choice and altruism punishment share common neural mechanisms.
This paper reviews the research on the neural basis of punitive behaviour and finds that cognitive brain regions such as the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex as well as areas representing negative emotions, including the insula, are involved.


Human altruism: economic, neural, and evolutionary perspectives
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.
Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments
This paper provides evidence that free riders are heavily punished even if punishment is costly and does not provide any material benefits for the punisher. The more free riders negatively deviate
The Neural Correlates of Moral Sensitivity: A Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Investigation of Basic and Moral Emotions
It is suggested that the automatic tagging of ordinary social events with moral values may be an important mechanism for implicit social behaviors in humans.
Dorsal striatum responses to reward and punishment: Effects of valence and magnitude manipulations
The dorsal striatum is implicates as an integral component of a reward circuitry responsible for the control of motivated behavior, serving to code for such feedback properties as valence and magnitude.
Motivation-dependent responses in the human caudate nucleus.
It is suggested that changes in motivation are capable of modulating basal ganglia activity, and further support an important role for the caudate nucleus in affective processing.