A murky portrait of human cruelty

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (3):225-226 (2006)
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In this commentary, I review diverse lines of research conducted at both the macrosocial and microbehavioral level that dispute the view that cruelty is inherently gratifying. Expressions of pain and suffering typically inhibit rather than reinforce cruel conduct in humans. With regard to functional value, cruelty has diverse personal and social effects, not just the alluring benefits attributed to it.



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