Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Hum Nat. 2012 Jun;23(2):173-90. doi: 10.1007/s12110-012-9136-x.

Altruistic punishment and between-group competition : evidence from n-person prisoner's dilemmas.

Author information

Faculty of Social Sciences, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Collective action, or the large-scale cooperation in the pursuit of public goods, has been suggested to have evolved through cultural group selection. Previous research suggests that the costly punishment of group members who do not contribute to public goods plays an important role in the resolution of collective action dilemmas. If large-scale cooperation sustained by the punishment of defectors has evolved through the mechanism of cultural group selection, two implications regarding costly punishment follow: (1) that people are more willing to punish defecting group members in a situation of intergroup competition than in a single-group social dilemma game and (2) that levels of "perverse" punishment of cooperators are not affected by intergroup competition. We find confirmation for these hypotheses. However, we find that the effect of intergroup competition on the punishment of defectors is fully explained by the stronger conditionality of punishment on expected punishment levels in the competition condition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Springer Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center