Social Contract Rule Violation
When an individual in a social exchange with another “cheats,” by taking a benefit without incurring a cost and/or returning the favor to another.
One of the founding principles of Evolutionary Psychology is that the human mind consists of domain-specific modules that have been shaped by evolution. This modular view of the mind suggests that our ancestors were able to use these modules to help solve specific problems they encountered in their environment. Possibly the most well-known example of such a module is one dedicated to reasoning about social contracts (Cosmides 1989; Cosmides and Tooby 1992). In such contracts, there will be a rule about how an individual is expected to behave (e.g., “if you take a benefit from another individual, then you must return the favor in some form”), and when entering such an exchange each individual is aware of this. According to Cosmides and Tooby (1992), individuals who violate...
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