Date: Aug 25, 2003
From: "Herbert Gintis"  
Subject: Re: [evol-psych] Kin Selection vs. Group Selection?

At 01:45 PM 8/24/2003 +1000, Steven D'Aprano wrote:
> On Sun, 24 Aug 2003 02:17, Herbert Gintis wrote:
>> At 11:13 PM 8/21/2003 -0400, Phil Roberts, Jr. wrote:
>>> Which model would you propose to account for the "altruistic"
>>> behavior of the 9/11 terrorists?
>> My preferred model is my own, Herbert Gintis, "The
>> Hitchhiker's Guide to Altruism: Genes, Culture, and
>> the Internalization of Norms",  Journal of Theoretical Biology 220,4
>> (2003):407-418.
> For the benefit of those who don't have access to academic journals,
> would it be possible for someone, perhaps Herb if he has time, to give
> us a brief summary please?

         The paper is on my website. Summary:
An internal norm is a pattern of behavior enforced in part by internal
sanctions, such as shame, guilt and loss of self-esteem, as opposed to
purely external sanctions, such as material rewards and punishment. 
The ability to internalize norms is widespread among humans, although 
in some so-called `sociopaths,' this capacity is diminished or lacking. 
Suppose there is one genetic locus that controls the capacity to 
internalize norms. This model shows that if an internal norm is fitness 
enhancing, then for plausible patterns of socialization, the allele for 
internalization of norms is evolutionarily stable.

This framework can be used to model Herbert Simon's (1990)
explanation of altruism, showing that altruistic norms can `hitchhike'
on the general tendency of internal norms to be personally 
fitness-enhancing.  A multi-level selection, gene-culture coevolution 
argument then explains why individually fitness-reducing internal 
norms are likely to be prosocial as opposed to socially harmful.

Herbert Gintis
Emeritus Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts
External Faculty, Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, NM
Recent papers are posted on my web site.

Get Game Theory Evolving (Princeton, 2000) at