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… 

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