Human Evolution and the Origins of Hierarchies: The State of by Benoît Dubreuil

By Benoît Dubreuil

During this ebook, Beno?t Dubreuil explores the production and destruction of hierarchies in human evolution. Combining the equipment of archeology, anthropology, cognitive neuroscience, and primatology, he bargains a typical historical past of hierarchies from the viewpoint of either cultural and organic evolution. This quantity explains why dominance hierarchies regular of primate societies disappeared within the human lineage and why the emergence of large-scale societies through the Neolithic implied elevated social differentiation, the construction of prestige hierarchies, and, ultimately, political centralization.

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Knowing that the recipient of our gift is the American Red Cross increases the pleasure of giving because we assume that the gift will be valuable to those who receive it. Conversely, the perception of eyes or the activation of God-related concepts elicits the displeasure associated with being sanctioned or disapproved of, which arguably inhibits egoistic decision making. Framing also allows experimenters to highlight the expectations specific to particular groups or cultures. The most impressive attempt to take cultural diversity into account in experimental economics is that of Joseph Henrich and his colleagues (2001, 2004, 2005).

One well-known example is the use of deterrent fees in public health care systems. When people have to pay even a symbolic amount of money for receiving health care, they can begin to view it just like any other service and increase their consumption instead of decreasing it. A policy designed to reduce consumption can then produce the opposite effect by destroying the spontaneous motivations that people have not to abuse the public good. Although envy and cooperation certainly play a role in explaining punishment, it seems impossible to explain third-party punishment and response to punishment without taking into account fairness assessments.

By this I mean that that the decision to punish is often prompted not by the belief that someone has been unfair, but by the belief that she has been unexpectedly unfair. My argument is based on a series of experiments with the “power-totake game” that were designed by van Winden, Reuben, and Bosman (reviewed by van Winden 2007). In this game, two players are given an initial sum of money (5 MUs). One subject, the proposer, has the power to take a part of the money given to the other. In a second turn, the responder has the possibility of destroying a portion of his income, thereby incurring costs for himself but simultaneously reducing the benefits of the proposer.

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