The evolution of fairness through spite.

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Forber, Patrick; Smead, Rory
Year of Publication: 2014
Journal: Proc Biol Sci
Volume: 281
Issue: 1780
Pagination: 20132439
Date Published: 2014 Apr 7
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 1471-2954
Keywords: Altruism, Biological Evolution, Choice Behavior, Cooperative Behavior, game theory, Humans, Interpersonal Relations, Models, Psychological, Social Behavior

The presence of apparently irrational fair play in the ultimatum game remains a focal point for studies in the evolution of social behaviour. We investigate the role of negative assortment in the evolution of fair play in the ultimatum game. Spite-social behaviour that inflicts harm with no direct benefit to the actor-can evolve when it is disproportionally directed at individuals playing different strategies. The introduction of negative assortment alters the dynamics in a way that increases the chance fairness evolves, but at a cost: spite also evolves. Fairness is usually linked to cooperation and prosocial behaviour, but this study shows that it may have evolutionary links to harmful antisocial behaviour.

DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2013.2439
Alternate Journal: Proc. Biol. Sci.