Accession Number : ADA565967


Title :   Understanding and Addressing Cultural Variation in Costly Antisocial Punishment


Descriptive Note : Final rept. 1 Jul 2010-31 Dec 2011


Corporate Author : BATH UNIV (UNITED KINGDOM) DEPT OF COMPUTER SCIENCE


Personal Author(s) : Bryson, Joanna J ; Herrmannz, Benedikt


Full Text : https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a565967.pdf


Report Date : 15 Aug 2012


Pagination or Media Count : 35


Abstract : This report results from a contract tasking University of Bath as follows: The varieties of human cultures are a rich treasure, valued for their wealth of knowledge as well as their aesthetics. However, some aspects of cultural variation result in measurable metric differences in indices with apparently universal ethical value, for example infant mortality or literacy rates. We seek here to understand the cultural traits that lead members of some societies to be more likely than others to employ strategies of economically-advantageous altruistic collaboration. We focus on explaining the documented propensity in some cultures (e.g. in Greece, Russia and the Middle East) for antisocial punishment punishing those who are significantly more altruistic than the punisher, even though the punisher benefits from their altruism. The results of this research project indicate that anti-social punishment may indeed occur in contexts where other participants are not mutually-acknowledged members of trusted group, yet generosity may in absence of other information be taken as an indication that in fact trust is merited. We have found that costly punishment is best understood as having impact not only on global economics but also on individual competition, and that the apparently maladaptive behaviour of anti-socially punishing those more generous than ourselves may even in some contexts be a sensible response, when our own well-being is (or at least appears to be) most determined by our relative dominance to our local neighbours, not to how well our neighbourhood performs as a whole.


Descriptors :   *COOPERATION , *CULTURAL DIFFERENCES , *PUNISHMENT , BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES , COMPUTATION SCIENCE , MODELS , PSYCHOLOGY , UNITED KINGDOM


Subject Categories : Sociology and Law
      Psychology


Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE