What's in it for me? Self-regard precludes altruism and spite in chimpanzees

K Jensen*, B Hare, J Call, M Tomasello

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

244 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Sensitivity to fairness may influence whether individuals choose to engage in acts that are mutually beneficial, selfish, altruistic, or spiteful. In a series of three experiments, chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) could pull a rope to access out-of-reach food while concomitantly pulling another piece of food further away. In the first study, they could make a choice that solely benefited themselves (selfishness), or both themselves and another chimpanzee (mutualism). In the next two experiments, they could choose between providing food solely for another chimpanzee (altruism), or for neither while preventing the other chimpanzee from receiving a benefit (spite). The main result across all studies was that chimpanzees made their choices based solely on personal gain, with no regard for the outcomes of a conspecific. These results raise questions about the origins of human cooperative behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1013-1021
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume273
Issue number1589
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2006

Keywords

  • behavioural biology
  • evolutionary psychology
  • game theory
  • inequity
  • Pan troglodytes
  • PUNISHMENT
  • EVOLUTION
  • HUMANS
  • FOOD
  • COOPERATION
  • RECIPROCITY
  • COMPETITION
  • HARASSMENT
  • BEHAVIOUR
  • MODEL

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'What's in it for me? Self-regard precludes altruism and spite in chimpanzees'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this