The Wrath Of God Vs. Big Brother

1819 Words Dec 12th, 2014 8 Pages
The Wrath of God vs. Big Brother: Observational Effects of Cooperation in the Dictator Game (2000 words)

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A consistent finding within the paradigm of experimental games is that humans reward others who behave cooperatively and fairly (Gächter, Renner & Sefton, 2008, Zimring, 1971) and often impose sanctions on those who fail to do so (Guala, 2012, Bankston & Cramer, 1974). One potential means of implementing and maintaining fairness is through the maintenance of a cultural norm of fairness (Fehr & Fischbacher, 2004). As human societies are often predicated repeated cooperative behaviours between genetically unrelated individuals (McKay, Efferson, Whitehouse & Fehr, 2010) one possible explanation for large-scale cooperation is through the reinforcement of behaviours that preserve social and moral standards and punishment of behaviours which are associated with norm violations (Carpenter, Matthews & Ong’ong’a, 2004, Falk, Fehr & Fischbacher, 2005, Hopfensitz & Reuben 2009, Casari & Luini 2012). One way of enforcing these norms is through the use of belief in supernatural agents (Ahmed & Salas, 2008). It has been suggested by some researchers that individuals with a belief in a form of supernatural punishment can be used to promote prosocial behaviour (Norenzayan & Shariff, 2008) and can be achieved via due to two possible proximate mechanisms. Individuals who hold a belief in an omnibenevolent being primes cultural norms which are associated with…

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