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Enceladus visto da Cassini

20.03.10

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"Markets, religion, community size and the evolution of fairness and punishment"

20.03.10



Large-scale human societies require trust and fairness among strangers to sustain mutually
beneficial transactions. The rise of such evolutionarily-novel societies may have required
the co-emergence of norms and informal institutions that harness our evolved psychology
to facilitate exchange among non-repeat interactants. If true, motivations for such fairness
should co-occur with the institutions of larger-scale societies. We deployed three behavioral
experiments to measure fairness and punishment across fifteen populations, including
foragers, pastoralists, and horticulturalists. Our analyses show that 1) greater market
integration predicts greater fairness, and 2) community size predicts greater punishment of
unfairness. World religion also predicts greater fairness, but not in all experiments. These
findings support the idea that the sociality of modern societies is likely the joint product of
an evolved psychology and the emergence of particular norms and institutions.

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Poise and Composure

20.03.10

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