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People prefer belonging to groups in which members can punish freeloaders

the game ended after 30 rounds, the nonpunishing group was almost completely depopulated and the punishing group functioned at a high level of cooperation. There was not much actual punishment being applied during the later rounds of the game, apparently the threat of punishment induced cooperative behavior, the authors say.

The new Science study should spur researchers to devise experiments to look into questions that will provide further information on the development of cooperation within groups of people, writes "Perspective" author Joe Henrich from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

"What if switching institutions is costly, or information about the payoffs in the other institutions is poor? What happens if individuals cannot migrate between institutions, but instead can vote on adopting alternative institutional modifications?" Henrich wrote.


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Contact: Science Press Package Staff
scipak@aaas.org
202-326-6440
American Association for the Advancement of Science
6-Apr-2006


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