Article

Competitive altruism: a theory of reputation-based cooperation in groups

Mark Van Vugt, Gilbert Roberts and Charlie Hardy

in Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9780198568308
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198568308.013.0036

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Competitive altruism: a theory of reputation-based cooperation in groups

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This article talks about altruism and morality. It defines altruism in terms of a design to benefit others at a cost to oneself, altruism is defined in terms of a motivation to help. It is often assumed that this motivation is conscious, although this is by no means necessary. Research suggests that humans are often not aware of why they behave as they do. Moral altruism is defined as a design to reward altruists and punish non-altruists. Moral altruists go one step further. Humans are unique in their propensity to cooperate with non-relatives, sometimes in very large groups. In other ultrasocial species, like the social insects, highly cooperative societies are based exclusively on kinship. Kin helping accounts for a substantial part of altruism in human society today.

Keywords: altruism; morality; motivation; humans; moral altruism; ultrasocial species; kinship; kin

Article.  6884 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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