Human Nature 25 (3):359-377 (2014)

Building on and partially refining previous theoretical work, this paper presents an extended simulation model of ancestral warfare. This model (1) disentangles attack and defense, (2) tries to differentiate more strictly between selfish and altruistic efforts during war, (3) incorporates risk aversion and deterrence, and (4) pays special attention to the role of brutality. Modeling refinements and simulation results yield a differentiated picture of possible evolutionary dynamics. The main observations are: (i) Altruism in this model is more likely to evolve for defenses than for attacks. (ii) Risk aversion, deterrence and the interplay of migration levels and brutality can change evolutionary dynamics substantially. (iii) Unexpectedly, one occasional simulation outcome is a dynamically stable state of ‘tolerated intergroup theft’, raising the question if corresponding patterns also exist in real intergroup conflicts. Finally, possible implications for theories of the co-evolution of bellicosity and altruism in humans are discussed.
Keywords intergroup conflict  cooperation  public good  altruism  warfare
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Reprint years 2014
DOI 10.1007/s12110-014-9199-y
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Life Histories, Blood Revenge, and Warfare in a Tribal Population. S. 87-99 in L. Betzig.N. Chagnon - forthcoming - Human Nature. A Critical Reader. Newyork/Oxford: Oxford University Press (Zuerst in Science 239: 985-92 (1988)).

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