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  I dare you to punish me - vendettas in games of cooperation

Fehl, K., Sommerfeld, R. D., Semmann, D., Krambeck, H.-J., & Milinski, M. (2012). I dare you to punish me - vendettas in games of cooperation. PLoS One, 7(9):. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0045093.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000F-F0E5-D Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000F-F0E6-B
Genre: Journal Article

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 Creators:
Fehl, Katrin, Author
Sommerfeld, Ralf D.1, Author              
Semmann, Dirk1, Author              
Krambeck, Hans-Jürgen2, Author              
Milinski, Manfred1, Author              
Affiliations:
1Department Evolutionary Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society, escidoc:1445634              
2Department Ecophysiology, Max Planck Institute for Limnology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society, escidoc:976547              

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 Abstract: Everybody has heard of neighbours, who have been fighting over some minor topic for years. The fight goes back and forth, giving the neighbours a hard time. These kind of reciprocal punishments are known as vendettas and they are a crosscultural phenomenon. In evolutionary biology, punishment is seen as a mechanism for maintaining cooperative behaviour. However, this notion of punishment excludes vendettas. Vendettas pose a special kind of evolutionary problem: they incur high costs on individuals, i.e. costs of punishing and costs of being punished, without any benefits. Theoretically speaking, punishment should be rare in dyadic relationships and vendettas would not evolve under natural selection. In contrast, punishment is assumed to be more efficient in group environments which then can pave the way for vendettas. Accordingly, we found that under the experimental conditions of a prisoner’s dilemma game, human participants punished only rarely and vendettas are scarce. In contrast, we found that participants retaliated frequently in the group environment of a public goods game. They even engaged in cost-intense vendettas (i.e. continuous retaliation), especially when the first punishment was unjustified or ambiguous. Here, punishment was mainly targeted at defectors in the beginning, but provocations led to mushrooming of counter-punishments. Despite the counter-punishing behaviour, participants were able to enhance cooperation levels in the public goods game. Few participants even seemed to anticipate the outbreak of costly vendettas and delayed their punishment to the last possible moment. Overall, our results highlight the importance of different social environments while studying punishment as a cooperation-enhancing mechanism.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2012-03-222012-08-142012-09-19
 Publication Status: Published online
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 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0045093
Other: 2950/S 39295
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Title: PLoS One
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: San Francisco, CA : Public Library of Science
Pages: 7 p. Volume / Issue: 7 (9) Sequence Number: e45093 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 1932-6203
CoNE: http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/1000000000277850