Psychology/philosophy professionals to the rescue 13 replies

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SeinfeldisKindaOk

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#11 10 years ago

They've already been mentioned but The Selfish Gene and Game Theory were the examples that first came to my mind. The Selfish Gene had a number of examples explaining altruism in groups and examined the possible outcomes of different types of behavior, such as the effect of one selfish person in an otherwise entirely altruistic group. Iirc, it talked about different equilibriums of selfish to unselfish behavior that could be expected for given examples. The selfish gene also talked a lot about altruism towards relatives. The level of altruism being related to the probability of shared genes. I read a game theory book for leisure so I don't have a good grasp on it but the book talked about altruism as a way of hedging bets. Like if I was a hunter and agreed with another hunter to share whatever we caught, I would lose out if I caught a lot but I would protect myself against starvation. Maybe you could extend the example of hunters sharing their catch to competitors sharing information. E.g. They don't get the benefit from having a monopoly on the information but, assuming the other side shares information too, they lessen the risk of being left behind when the other company discovers something new.




MrFancypants Forum Administrator

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#12 10 years ago
Professor Dr. Scientist;4947459 Maybe you could extend the example of hunters sharing their catch to competitors sharing information. E.g. They don't get the benefit from having a monopoly on the information but, assuming the other side shares information too, they lessen the risk of being left behind when the other company discovers something new.

That's a good point. Of course something like this has already been done (it seems to me that the most difficult thing about research is finding something other people haven't written about yet): The part of game theory that is really interesting in such a case is that dealing with repeated games. If you repeat a game often enough the dominant strategy of a game may change.

I'll try to elaborate on the work that has been done in that respect too, since game theory is based on a mathematical model it is easy to include some flashy equations (which never fails to impress the business administration people :) ).




Nemmerle Forum Moderator

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#13 10 years ago

Batson 1987, 1981 - Empathy Altruism hypothesis. [INDENT]Altruism is motivated mainly by empathy. Two main emotional reactions when we observe someone in need.

  • Empathic concern: A sympathetic focus on the other person's distress, along with the motivation to reduce it.
  • Personal distress: Concern with one's own discomfort plus the motivation to reduce it.

See also Eisenberg et al 1983 for moral development in children which can arguably be seen to relate to altruism.[/INDENT]

Burstein, Crandall and Kitayama 1994 - Kin selection [INDENT]Asked people how they would behave in theoretical life or death situations like saving someone from a house on fire. Found people would be much more likely to help relatives over non-relatives, close kin over distant, young over old, healthy over sick, wealthy over poor, pre-menopausal over post menopauseal.

However the less the favour the more it was generalised to society.

Might be interesting to relate to Dawkins stuff on the selfish gene.[/INDENT]

Trivers 1971 - delayed reciprocal altruism. [INDENT]Essentially if I help you now you'll help me at some point in the future. Because most favours are small I can afford to lose out on one or two incidents and will just not help you if you keep screwing me over.

Might be interesting to relate to the kin selection stuff in that the chance of not getting anything back is lesser with close kin. The idea that kin used to work together a lot before the rise of the city & industry etc. That they were in a sense a much surer investment.[/INDENT]

Dunbar's number[INDENT]This is some stuff, IIRC, about the limitations of the neo-cortex as it relates to stable social groups and the time people spend interacting with each other. If you stick the term monkey sphere into google you'll get some stuff about it. Interestingly this is often the number of people you could ask a favour of and expect to have it granted which you might say relates to altruism. Maybe people do favours for those in the same business because they fall into a similar social group and the brain smudges the lines a bit?[/INDENT]

They're not, 'state-of-the-art,' (although if you look at psychology most of the studies repeat themselves every few years anyway without going anywhere particularly interesting,) I think Dunbar's number is about the most recent thing there; but they're a reasonable enough place to start.




MrFancypants Forum Administrator

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#14 10 years ago
Nemmerle;4947978Batson 1987, 1981 - Empathy Altruism hypothesis. [INDENT]Altruism is motivated mainly by empathy. Two main emotional reactions when we observe someone in need.
  • Empathic concern: A sympathetic focus on the other person's distress, along with the motivation to reduce it.
  • Personal distress: Concern with one's own discomfort plus the motivation to reduce it.

See also Eisenberg et al 1983 for moral development in children which can arguably be seen to relate to altruism.[/INDENT]Burstein, Crandall and Kitayama 1994 - Kin selection[INDENT]Asked people how they would behave in theoretical life or death situations like saving someone from a house on fire. Found people would be much more likely to help relatives over non-relatives, close kin over distant, young over old, healthy over sick, wealthy over poor, pre-menopausal over post menopauseal.

However the less the favour the more it was generalised to society.

Might be interesting to relate to Dawkins stuff on the selfish gene.[/INDENT]Trivers 1971 - delayed reciprocal altruism.[INDENT]Essentially if I help you now you'll help me at some point in the future. Because most favours are small I can afford to lose out on one or two incidents and will just not help you if you keep screwing me over.

Might be interesting to relate to the kin selection stuff in that the chance of not getting anything back is lesser with close kin. The idea that kin used to work together a lot before the rise of the city & industry etc. That they were in a sense a much surer investment.[/INDENT]Dunbar's number[INDENT]This is some stuff, IIRC, about the limitations of the neo-cortex as it relates to stable social groups and the time people spend interacting with each other. If you stick the term monkey sphere into google you'll get some stuff about it. Interestingly this is often the number of people you could ask a favour of and expect to have it granted which you might say relates to altruism. Maybe people do favours for those in the same business because they fall into a similar social group and the brain smudges the lines a bit?[/INDENT]They're not, 'state-of-the-art,' (although if you look at psychology most of the studies repeat themselves every few years anyway without going anywhere particularly interesting,) I think Dunbar's number is about the most recent thing there; but they're a reasonable enough place to start.

This is perfect, thanks :)




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