An evolutionary account of reactions to a wrong

Abstract

In this work, we propose an evolutionary account of reactions to a wrong as an integrated set. Unlike other theories, we are not interested in revenge, punishment or sanction per se, but in their co-existence. We posit that this variety of reactions is needed in order to achieve different goals, but it also implies an increase in cognitive costs that requires to be explained from an evolutionary perspective. Moving from the identification of the psychological traits that uniquely define each reaction, two concurrent hypotheses are suggested and discussed: either the richness of human social life requests a variety of reactions, or the benefits of single reactions at the psychological level allowed these reactions to be maintained in the social life.


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