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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Aug 7;104(32):13046-50. Epub 2007 Jul 20.

Chimpanzees are vengeful but not spiteful.

Author information

  • 1Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany. jensen@eva.mpg.de

Abstract

People are willing to punish others at a personal cost, and this apparently antisocial tendency can stabilize cooperation. What motivates humans to punish noncooperators is likely a combination of aversion to both unfair outcomes and unfair intentions. Here we report a pair of studies in which captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) did not inflict costs on conspecifics by knocking food away if the outcome alone was personally disadvantageous but did retaliate against conspecifics who actually stole the food from them. Like humans, chimpanzees retaliate against personally harmful actions, but unlike humans, they are indifferent to simply personally disadvantageous outcomes and are therefore not spiteful.

Comment in

PMID:
17644612
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1941811
Free PMC Article

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