Chimpanzees are vengeful but not spiteful

Keith Jensen*, Josep Call, Michael Tomasello

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

141 Citations (Scopus)

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13046-13050
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume104
Issue number32
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2007

Keywords

  • cooperation
  • fairness
  • other-regard
  • punishment
  • reciprocity
  • CAPUCHIN MONKEYS
  • ALTRUISTIC PUNISHMENT
  • INEQUITY AVERSE
  • RECIPROCITY
  • FAIRNESS
  • COOPERATION
  • PREFERENCES
  • COMPETITION
  • TOLERANCE
  • ECONOMICS

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