Which norms are strong reciprocators supposed to enforce? Not all norms are psychologically the same

Fiddick, Larry (2008) Which norms are strong reciprocators supposed to enforce? Not all norms are psychologically the same. International Review of Economics, 55 (1). pp. 77-89.

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Gintis’ (2000) analysis of strong reciprocity in terms of group survival leads to the conclusion that any norm, be it cooperative or prudential, that potentially enhances group survival will be enforced by a significant subset of individuals (strong reciprocators) who enforce norms even at their own individual expense. Gintis’ assumption that the human mind is an initially structureless receptacle for cultural norms further reinforces this view. In contrast, I argue that humans possess a natural domain-specific competence for social cooperation that is distinct from our prudential competence in dealing with potential hazards. I review a range of psychological evidence including multidimensional scaling studies, studies of emotional reactions, reasoning, functional MRI and judgments about punishment suggesting that not all norms are psychologically equivalent, with only a subset of norm violations eliciting punitive sentiments.

Item ID: 8289
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1863-4613
Keywords: Norms; Domain-specificity; Modularity; Strong reciprocity; Evolutionary psychology.
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Date Deposited: 17 May 2010 03:22
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1702 Cognitive Science > 170299 Cognitive Science not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 30%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences @ 70%
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