Re: Trivers' Reciprocal Altruism

From: Kate Lyne (
Date: Thu Nov 27 1997 - 09:20:44 GMT

On Wed, 26 Nov 1997 10:22:44 +0000 (GMT) Jon Wright
<> wrote:

> Reciprocity need not be influenced by the EEA. It could be a
> proximal economic decision in which you help others if you believe they
> will help you. You could be an inherently generous person, believing in
> good human nature, being cheated on lots but also gaining lots of
> benefit.

This inherently generous person will presumably be so generous
because of his genetic make up. These "generous" genes, or "tending
to be generous" genes will have been selected for at the time of the
EEA. Thus reciprocity will have been influenced by the EEA.

> Why does reciprocity not affect the chances of survival and
> reproduction? It seems to me that in a reciprocating society everyone
> has a better survival probability and in a cheating society everyone is
> at a disadvantage, being loners. Neither of these is an ESS since they
> could be infiltrated but cooperation (=altruism) is a hallmark of
> progress and survival of the species.

Isn't the ESS a society where there are both cheaters and altruists?
Because of the other member of the society, both groups will
"balance" at a ratio where the society is beneficial to all.

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