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The Evolutionary Puzzle of Guilt: Individual or Group Selection?

Deem, Michael and Ramsey, Grant (2016) The Evolutionary Puzzle of Guilt: Individual or Group Selection? Emotion Researcher.

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Abstract

Some unpleasant emotions, like fear and disgust, appear straightforwardly susceptible to evolutionary explanation on account of the benefits they seem to provide to individuals. But guilt is more puzzling in this respect. Like other unpleasant emotions, guilt is often associated with a host of negative effects on the individual, such as psychological suffering and social withdrawal (Harder 1995; Luyten et al. 2002). Moreover, many guilt-induced behaviors, such as revealing one’s offenses and placing oneself before the mercy of others, could levy a cost to individuals that is not outweighed by guilt’s benefits. Supposing there is an evolutionary story to tell about the origins of guilt, the question is how such negative effects were sufficiently outweighed by the potential fitness payoffs that guilt might have yielded to individuals. In this article, we consider which forms of evolution could have resulted in guilt, and whether current evidence can tell us which form of evolution most likely occurred.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Deem, MichaelMichael.Deem@indstate.edu0000-0002-4379-8257
Ramsey, Grantgrant@theramseylab.org0000-0002-8712-5521
Keywords: guilt; emotion; evolution; natural selection; group selection
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Psychology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
General Issues > Ethical Issues
Specific Sciences > Psychology/Psychiatry
Depositing User: Dr. Grant Ramsey
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2016 14:31
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2016 14:31
Item ID: 12483
Journal or Publication Title: Emotion Researcher
Official URL: http://emotionresearcher.com/the-evolutionary-puzz...
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Psychology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
General Issues > Ethical Issues
Specific Sciences > Psychology/Psychiatry
Date: 2016
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/12483

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