The Evolution of Spiteful Behavior

Selfish behavior only touches the selfish person, but spiteful behavior costs everyone involved. The article posits that in some instances these spiteful behaviors are mechanisms of natural selection, while in other instances they may be an effort to enforce a greater social contract. Evolutionary biologists point to “moralistic aggression” as one method for enforcing these social contracts. In communities where the majority of people agree to a set of understood norms, for example, moralistic aggression is higher. People are more driven to keep others in line, and thus are more aggressive than in places where social contracts are not as stringent.

Read full article here: The Evolution of Spiteful Behavior

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Shea Kamlet, Psy.D.
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