Adaptive Problem Altruism Friendships

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					Adaptive Problem: Altruism
       Friendships
         Lecture 13
          10/04/07




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      Avenues to Altruism

• Kin Selection
  – Inclusive Fitness
• Reciprocal Altruism
  – The Prisoner’s Dilemma
• Friendships and Deep Engagements



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    Make the natural seem strange
• Why do we even have friendships?
• Were there reasons why natural selection
  would have favored those individuals
  capable of forming strong relationships with
  others who weren’t kin?
• What kinds of selection pressures existed in
  our ancestral past that would have favored
  those who formed cooperative/altruistic
  relationships with non-kin, beyond RA?
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    Make the natural seem strange
• Strange to talk about friendships in this way
• Talk in terms of:
  – investments,
  – benefit dispensing abilities,
  – positive affordances
  – opportunity costs
• Not conscious, not in terms of feelings &
  beliefs

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   Limitations of Reciprocal Altruism

• The classical definition of reciprocal
  altruism is:
  – I deliver a benefit to you and incur some cost
    now, and later, you will deliver a benefit to me
    and likewise, incur some kind of cost.




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Limitations of Reciprocal Altruism

• Two limitations:




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    Inclusive Fitness & Reciprocal Altruism

• They don’t explain friendships very well
• Friendship isn’t just reciprocity.
• When someone insists that they pay us back,
  it is usually taken as a LACK of friendship
  – Shackelford and Buss (1996)
  – Find that RA in close relationships is linked with
    marital dissatisfaction (Hatfield & Rapson 1993)
     • Paying for a cab versus paying a friend for a ride


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An explanation of friendship in short
 • Having people who would help you during
   times of need would have been important
   – But helping doesn’t grow on trees
 • People would want to help you if you
   provided them with some benefit that they
   couldn’t get elsewhere.
   – Your unique attributes
 • Mutual valuation would snowball into deep
   engagements  friendships

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     Alternate avenue to altruism
      Let’s start from the beginning
• Imagine a world where individuals acted
  without regard to the consequences on
  others.
• What kinds of acts would be favored?




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Three effects of behavior on others:
 But action DO have an effect on others:
   Actions can have a
   Actions can have an
   Actions can have


 Not surprisingly, you would want to
   _________ the actions of others that had a
    beneficial effect on you and to
   _________ actions that had a negative effect
    on you.                                    11
Reinforcing the good, punishing the bad

• How might this work?
• How would someone know if what they did
  was a benefit or a cost to you?
• It could work if after every time the person
  was nice, they were positively reinforced.
  – Cause them to engage in that behavior again.



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Kermit and Piggy

  Actions that benefit Piggy

Actions that are neutral to Piggy


 Actions that are costly to Piggy




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What kinds of abilities are required?
• Kermit: Going about his day acting in ways
 that benefit himself
  – But some of his action benefit others
    • Knowing his way back to camp
    • Spotting predators
  – To be influenced to continue acting in these
    beneficial ways needs to categorize actions in
    terms of the consequences for:
    • Himself
    • Others
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What kinds of abilities are required?
• Piggy: The person being affected by
  Kermit’s actions:
    • Monitor the actions of other individuals
    • Determine the costs and benefits of
      particular actions
    • Positively reward individuals whose
      actions were beneficial to oneself.
    • Punish actions that were not beneficial.

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  We are both Kermit and Piggy
         simultaneously
• We not only need to monitor to see
  what others are doing that is potentially
  beneficial (and of course costly)
• Also need to be sensitive to “rewards”
  people are giving us to repeat particular
  behaviors that are beneficial to them.


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            What is needed?
• Design features that caused an individual…
  – to monitor the actions of other individuals,
  – to categorize those actions as either beneficial,
    costly, or neutral to oneself, and
  – to provide those individuals whose actions were
    beneficial to oneself with a corresponding
    benefit
• …would have allowed for the evolution of
  this type of altruism.
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         Contingent favors
• Contingent means:
  – The occurrence of one event based on the
    completion or satisfaction of background
    conditions.
• Example:
  – You will reward me (give me food, help me
    when I am sick, introduce me to your friends,
    etc) when I have conferred a particular benefit
    upon you (killed a serpent close to your
    sleeping area).
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         Contingent favors
• Once contingency can be detected,
  contingent reward can become the
  sole reason an action is taken.
  – Need systems for detecting contigencies
• Therefore, can have altruism develop
  based on alternating sequences of
  contingent favors.

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You are driving to school & someone asks for a ride.
    Not incurring any costs
    So not defined as altruism in the classic sense.




Person being affected by       Person going about his day acting in
another person’s actions:      ways that benefit himself.
(benefiting from another’s     Also benefits others.
actions)                       He is person to be influenced to
                               continue conferring benefits to others.
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  What kinds of actions would one
   consider beneficial and worth
            rewarding?
• Ones that everyone possessed?
• Or ones that were rare and not provided
  by others?
• (where should you put your
  investments?)
• The Banker’s Paradox  illustrates


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         The Banker’s Paradox
• Bankers have a limited amount of money.
  – Each choice is a gamble.
• So, who do they lend money to?




• The paradox:
  – Just when individuals need money most
    desperately,
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Our hominid ancestors faced a similar problem

• When an ancestral hunter-gatherer is most in need
  of assistance, she becomes a bad credit risk.
  – She is a less attractive potential recipient of assistance.
• Individuals have limited amounts of time & energy:
  – expect NS to have shaped behavior to make choices
    about when to extend help (credit) and to whom.


• Helping one person precludes:



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Who to invest in & how much to invest?
 • What factors might govern this
   decision?




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      Types of investments:
high cost and low cost investments
• High cost investments:
  – If the investment dies,
  – becomes permanently disabled, or
  – leaves the social group, then the investment
    will be lost.
• If the trouble someone is in might lead to
  one of these outcomes, then selection
  might favor those who abandoned
  individuals in certain types of need.
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       Types of investments:
 high cost and low cost investments
• Compare this with lower cost investments:
  – An individual’s troubles are temporary
  – Easily returned to a position of full benefit-
    dispensing competence with a little bit of
    assistance.
• In this case, personal troubles should not
  make someone a less attractive object of
  assistance

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 Let’s consider our evolutionary past
• Times of serious need for a hunter-gatherer:




• Serious reversals of fortune with major
  selective impact.
  – The ability to attract assistance during these times
    may have had even stronger selective
    consequences than cultivating social exchange
    partnerships during times of safety
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 Let’s consider our evolutionary past
• But, remember the Banker’s Paradox:
  – You would be a terrible investment!
  – Expect selection to have favored decision rules
    that caused others to abandon you exactly when
    you needed assistance the most!
• This predicament was a recurrent adaptive
  problem for our ancestors.
• What design feature (adaptation) would have
  been a good solution to this problem?

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           The problem:
• How could you protect yourself against
  the ups and downs of life?
• In addition to family, what other
  insurance policies could you have
  developed?



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  Making yourself irreplaceable.
  Consider the following scenario:




Gabe provides Bell w/ greater     Mac provides Bell benefits
benefits than Mac but she could   she cannot get from anyone
get these benefits elsewhere      else in her environment.
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Decision-making: who to help

• Which person would it have “paid” to help?
  – A person who is in a crisis and delivers benefits
    to you that can easily be supplied by others?
  – A person who is in a crisis and delivers benefits
    to you that you cannot easily get by others?


• A replaceable person would have been very
  prone to desertion.

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• Selection should favor decision rules that cause X
  to exhibit loyalty to Y to the extent that Y is
  irreplaceably valuable to X.
• Mac may be helped, and Gabe abandoned even
  though the benefits Gabe delivers are greater.




        gabe                           mac       32
        Banker’s Paradox
• You are the worst credit risk when you
  are most in need.
• May not be able to “pay back” loan

• Who will come to your aid?
• People who find you irreplaceable.

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                 Irreplaceable
• Your actions may unintentionally benefit
  another.
 –   You are reliable in a particular situation
 –   Good listener, Good problem solver
 –   Funny, You attract cute mates
 –   Good at translations, Good at taking notes
• Others may find your actions valuable.
 – They may reward you (be nice, give other
   benefits to you) when you behave in a way that
   they find valuable
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 What kinds of behaviors should we
                see?
• If insuring yourself against times of
  need was an adaptive problem and
  making yourself irreplaceable was a
  solution to this problem, expect certain
  patterns of behavior.
• Evidence in social psychology that
  people try and make themselves
  irreplaceable?
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                      Summary
• Adaptive problem:
   – Having others to invest in you during times of need
   – But a terrible credit risk when in dire need
• Solution:
   – Make yourself irreplaceable, valuable
   – How? Next lecture
• All this is predicated on the fact that your actions
  can be beneficial, costly, or neutral to others.
   – The ones that are beneficial to others (valuable) are
     rewarded so you continue to do them.
   – Cultivates friendship
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