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Altruism in animalsEvolution of moralityand Evolutionary ethics Giving alms to beggar children In the science of ethology the study of animal behaviourand more generally in the study of social evolutionaltruism refers to behaviour by an individual that increases the fitness of another individual while decreasing the fitness of the actor.
Two related strands of research on altruism have emerged from traditional evolutionary analyses and from evolutionary game theory a mathematical model and analysis of behavioural strategies. Some of the proposed mechanisms are: Even subtle cues indicating kinship may unconsciously increase altruistic behavior.
One kinship cue is facial resemblance. One study found that slightly altering photographs so that they more closely resembled the faces of study participants increased the trust the participants expressed regarding depicted persons.
Another cue is having the same family name, especially if rare, and this has been found to increase helpful behavior. Another study found more cooperative behavior the greater the number of perceived kin in a group. Using kinship terms in political speeches increased audience agreement with the speaker in one study.
This effect was especially strong for firstborns, who are typically close to their families. People are likely to suffer if their friends, allies, People helping people similar social ingroups suffer or even disappear.
Helping such group members may therefore eventually benefit the altruist. Making ingroup membership more noticeable increases cooperativeness. Extreme self-sacrifice towards the ingroup may be adaptive if a hostile outgroup threatens to kill the entire ingroup.
The effective tit for tat strategy is one game theoretic example. Many people seem to be following a similar strategy by cooperating if and only if others cooperate in return. People tend to be less cooperative if they perceive that the frequency of helpers in the population is lower.
They tend to help less if they see non-cooperativeness by others and this effect tend to be stronger than the opposite effect of seeing cooperative behaviors. Simply changing the cooperative framing of a proposal may increase cooperativeness such as calling it a "Community Game" instead of a "Wall Street Game.
This has been used by charities that give small gifts to potential donors hoping thereby to induce reciprocity. Another method is to announce publicly that someone has given a large donation. The tendency to reciprocate can even generalize so people become more helpful toward others in general after being helped.
On the other hand, people will avoid or even retaliate against those perceived not to be cooperating. People sometimes mistakenly fail to help when they intended to, or their helping may not be noticed, which may cause unintended conflicts.
As such, it may be an optimal strategy to be slightly forgiving of and have a slightly generous interpretation of non-cooperation. This may be due to better assessments of cooperativeness or due to exchange of promises. They are more cooperative if they can gradually build trust, instead of being asked to give extensive help immediately.
Direct reciprocity and cooperation in a group can be increased by changing the focus and incentives from intra-group competition to larger scale competitions such as between groups or against the general population.
Thus, giving grades and promotions based only on an individual's performance relative to a small local group, as is common, may reduce cooperative behaviors in the group. A person with a good reputation for reciprocity have a higher chance of receiving help even from persons they have had no direct interactions with previously.
A number of theories have been proposed as explanations as well as criticisms regarding its existence. Costly signaling and the handicap principle.
This may signal to others that the altruist is a valuable potential partner. It may also be a signal of interactive and cooperative intentions since those not interacting further in the future gain nothing from the costly signaling. It is unclear if costly signaling can indicate a long-term cooperative personality but people have increased trust for those who help.
Costly signaling is pointless if everyone has the same traits, resources, and cooperative intentions but become a potentially more important signal if the population increasingly varies on these characteristics.During slavery, black people had to endure forced labor, had to learn a religion they never heard of, had to allow their infant children to be used as alligator bait, and had to live like they were less than human.
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In psychological research on altruism, studies often observe altruism as demonstrated through prosocial behaviors such as helping, comforting, sharing, cooperation, philanthropy, and community service.
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