Human teenagers defect more often when told to be pure altruistic
Humans (Homo sapiens) are known to cooperate with non-kin and even strangers, yet there is no absolute explanation to human cooperation nor to non-kin altruism. Specific human traits such as memory and reputation fuels systems of reciprocity, policing, reward and punishment which all contribute to cooperation in social interactions. How do people adopt their moral heuristics to knowledge of the most common beneficial way to act in confrontations with others? In this experiment I test this by anchoring teenagers to different strategies, either pure altruistic or altruistic punishing, before playing iterate prisoner's dilemma. In contrast to findings in similar experiments, no differences in player's total cooperative plays, score nor mutual cooperative plays was found in this study. Yet, when anchored with pure altruistic strategies participants adopted nastier strategies than participants anchored with strategies for altruistic punishment. That is, I found no difference in their forgiveness, but free riding tendencies were more common in the groups anchored for pure altruism. In sum, human teenagers do not seem to get nicer by being told that it's in their best interest to be nice - rather the opposite.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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Copyright 2016 The Author(s)
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