Reciprocal Altruism

Altruism refers to behaviors that are performed for the sake of benefiting others at a cost to oneself. Reciprocal altruism is when altruistic behaviors are performed because they increase the likelihood of repayment in the future. For quite some time the presence of altruistic behaviors in animals and humans was a genuine puzzle for the Darwinian account of evolution through natural selection. It seemed impossible for an organism that acts unselfishly for the sake of another (nonrelated) organism to benefit in any way that would encourage that organism's reproductive success. This is simply because selfish (non-altruistic) individuals would on average have more resources than altruistic individuals. After many generations, natural selection seemed to dictate that any genetic basis for altruistic behavior should be eliminated from ...

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