Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Altruism Displays Cooperative Potential

  • Gareth CrazeEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_3487-1



A conspicuous demonstration of outward prosociality in order to signal one’s capacities and inclinations for helping and working with others.

Instances of cooperative activity among individuals that are not kin-related are generally rare throughout much of the animal kingdom but are a prevalent and enduring feature of human societies; steeped as they are in massive social and cultural complexity. The ability and capacity to forge alliances and engage in cooperative endeavors with conspecifics has created the foundational conditions for humans to build social and normative institutions, develop commerce and legal codes, engage in warfare, and create public infrastructural works for common benefit (Fehr and Fischbacher 2003). Social norms, which establish benchmarks for situational social behavior, and the looming threat of punishment and sanction for those who transgress such norms, serve as the...

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Case Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kevin Kniffin
    • 1
  1. 1.Cornell UniversityIthacaUSA