A cross-species perspective on the selfishness axiom

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (6):818-818 (2005)
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Henrich et al. describe an innovative research program investigating cross-cultural differences in the selfishness axiom (in economic games) in humans, yet humans are not the only species to show such variation. Chimpanzees and capuchin monkeys show signs of deviating from the standard self-interest paradigm in experimental settings by refusing to take foods that are less valuable than those earned by conspecifics, indicating that they, too, may pay attention to relative gains. However, it is less clear whether these species also show the other-regarding preferences seen in humans.



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Sarah Brosnan
Georgia State University

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