What competitive altruism suggests
Altruism is selflessness that is portrayed through cooperation, giving and sharing. Competitive altruism is a wider aspect of generosity. It is a theory that gives a description of human and animal’s behavior which do not have a direct benefit to them. For instance, behavior like sharing and helping. These behaviors are stimulated or brought about by tender emotions of human beings or any other animal. The following part describes what competitive altruism suggests.
According to Penner 2005, a person or people with generous reputation or status in the community have high chances of getting mates. Hence, they pass on their genes. Visible demonstrations of altruism are signs to other people regarding the importance and the long term benefits of altruism. Thus, others will need to be recognized and achieve high status through altruistic behavior leading to competition. Hence, giving rise to the term “competitive altruism. ” Organisms qualify and become potential mates when their action matches altruistic behavior. There are times a person can help another person or a group of people with no possibility of reciprocation. A variation of mutual altruism can be considered as competitive altruism (Mc Andrew, 2002).
The theory suggests that when altruists rewarded by the community, they will continue to do good things for people and hence the society will receive more benefits. The presence of such people creates a good image in the community. Altruist, as well as the society, becomes attractive and this gives rise to future associates (Mc Andrew, 2002).Therefore, the reputation that comes with altruistic behaviors always at stake can lead to competition. People will advertise themselves through their generosity and at the same time individuals or the community will be competing so as to access the best altruistic people.
Discussion on research by Hardy and Van
The research by Hardy and Van focuses on the relationship between the emergence of and altruistic behaviors and hierarchy regarding status in groups. Hardy and Van conducted different experimental studies concerning altruism. In all the studies, members of the group experienced social dilemma related to personal and group benefits (Komorita & Parks, 1994).
The studies conducted by the two scholars demonstrates how altruistic behavior frequently take place when they are evident in public than when a person is alone. The most altruistic people have a higher reputation and are perceived to be positive by their peers. This clearly indicates individuals take part in altruistic actions to be recognized by the group or by the society (Van Vugt, Roberts & Hardy, 2006).
The first and the second research reveal that in the case of the public contribution those who are highly altruistic achieve high status in their respective group. They are also ideal for cooperate inter-action associates. The third study shows that those people with high reputation exhibited more altruistic behavior than those having low status in a community. Therefore, individuals compete for social status in a group.
The research provided better account or explanations or account concerning how large groups came about than the evolutionary models which are based on strict reciprocal altruism which have difficulty when it comes to describing altruism. Besides, competitive altruism has more practical implications. On the other hand, their research has two weaknesses. First there could be long term costs involved since it cannot be completely ignored that individuals may prefer altruists being future relations partners so as to use them later. Secondly, there was little money in the experiment and those who participated received donations.
Komorita, S. S., & Parks, C. D. (1994). Social dilemmas. Dubuque, IA:Brown & Benchmark
McAndrew, F. T. (2002). New evolutionary perspectives on altruism:Multilevel-selection and costly signaling theories. Current Directionsin Psychological Science, 11, 79-82.
Penner, L. A., Dovidio, J. F., Schroeder, D. A., & Piliavin, J. A. (2005).Altruism and prosocial behavior. Annual Review of Psychology, 56,365-392.
Van Vugt, M., Roberts, G., & Hardy, C. (2006). Competitive altruism Reputation-based cooperation in groups. In R. Dunbar &L. Barrett (Eds.), Handbook of evolutionary psychology. Oxford, UK:Oxford University Press.