Avoiding the social death penalty: Ostracism and cooperation in social dilemmas.

  • Ouwerkerk J
  • Kerr N
  • Gallucci M
 et al. 
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We argue in the present chapter that a threat of ostracism (as well as actual ostracism episodes) may have an important function--suppressing uncooperative behavior that is harmful to a group and its members. For this purpose, we will review some of our research programs that demonstrate positive effects of (the threat of) ostracism on cooperative behavior in social dilemmas (i.e., in situations which are characterized by a conflict between personal and collective interests). Furthermore, these programs show that people have social norms prescribing cooperation in groups and are likely to ostracize uncooperative individuals. In fact, they experience pleasure (i.e., schadenfreude) when uncooperative individuals are excluded from the group. We conclude with discussing the possible crucial role of ostracism in the evolution of cooperation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (create)

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  • Jaap W Ouwerkerk

  • Norbert L Kerr

  • Marcello Gallucci

  • P. A. M. Van Lange

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