Skip to main content

How did altruism and reciprocity evolve in humans?

Buy Article:

$27.01 plus tax (Refund Policy)

The evolution of altruism and reciprocity has been explained mainly from ultimate perspectives. However, in order to understand from a proximate perspective how humans evolved to be such cooperative animals, comparative studies with our evolutionary relatives are essential. Here we review several recent experimental studies on chimpanzees’ altruism and reciprocity. These studies have generated some conflicting results. By examining the differences in the results and experimental paradigms, two characteristics of prosociality in chimpanzees emerged: (1) chimpanzees are more likely to behave altruistically and/or reciprocally upon a recipient’s request, than without request, and (2) chimpanzees also show a tendency to regard others and help in contexts not involving food. Supposing that these two characteristics of altruism, recipient-initiated altruism and non-food altruism, were present in the common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans, it is possible that increased social cognitive abilities, capacity for language, necessity for food sharing, and enriched material culture favored in humans the unique evolution of cooperation, characterized by voluntary altruism and frequent food donation.
No Reference information available - sign in for access.
No Citation information available - sign in for access.
No Supplementary Data.
No Article Media
No Metrics

Keywords: chimpanzees; human evolution; non-food altruism; prosocial behavior; recipient-initiated altruism; reciprocity

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-07-23

More about this publication?
  • Social Behaviour and Communication in Biological and Artificial Systems
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more