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The adaptive problem of absent third-party punishment

Ingram, Mr Gordon P. D. and Piazza, Mr Jared R. and Bering, Dr Jesse M. (2007) The adaptive problem of absent third-party punishment. [Book Chapter] (In Press)

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Abstract

Language is a uniquely human behaviour, which has presented unique adaptive problems. Prominent among these is the transmission of information that may affect an individual’s reputation. The possibility of punishment of those with a low reputation by absent third parties has created a selective pressure on human beings that is not shared by any other species. This has led to the evolution of unique cognitive structures that are capable of handling such a novel adaptive challenge. One of these, we argue, is the propositional theory of mind, which enables individuals to model, and potentially manipulate, their own reputation in the minds of other group members, by representing the beliefs that others have about the first party’s intentions and actions. Support for our theoretical model is provided by an observational study on tattling in two preschools, and an experimental study of giving under threat of gossip in a dictator game.

Item Type:Book Chapter
Keywords:Evolution of Language; Gossip; Indirect Reciprocity; Reputation; Theory of Mind
Subjects:Psychology > Social Psychology
Psychology > Developmental Psychology
Psychology > Evolutionary Psychology
ID Code:6044
Deposited By:Ingram, Mr Gordon P. D.
Deposited On:11 May 2008 03:45
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:57

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