Wednesday 16 March 2016

Biosciences Seminar Speaker 17 March 2016

Biosciences Seminar Series - Winter 2016
17 March 2016 - 1pm - Zoology Museum


a driving force in the evolution of cooperation and punishment

Dr Nicola Raihani

Evolution is a strict accountant. Costly actions must be ultimately repaid if they are to come under positive selection. In this talk, I will consider the role of reputation in explaining the evolution of costly helping and costly punishing. I will explore when helping might improve an individual's reputation and - conversely - when reputation costs might lead individuals to hide their helpful actions from others. 

Although harming others is typically expected to result in reputation costs, there might nevertheless be scenarios where harming others actually improves an individual's reputation. I will present a conceptual framework and empirical evidence to describe when harmful actions result in reputation gains to the actor - and offer an evolutionary explanation as to why. 

Ultimately I will argue that reputation offers a powerful incentive for both helping and punishing in nature.

Hope to see many of you - everyone most welcome to attend!

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