Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary

More to morality than mutualism: Consistent contributors exist and they can inspire costly generosity in others

Michael J. Gilla1, Dominic J. Packera1 and Jay Van Bavela2

a1 Department of Psychology, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA 18015. m.gill@lehigh.edu http://cas.lehigh.edu/CASWeb/default.aspx?id=1423 djp208@lehigh.edu http://www.lehigh.edu/~djp208/Home.html

a2 Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, NY 10003. jay.vanbavel@nyu.edu http://psych.nyu.edu/vanbavel/

Abstract

Studies of economic decision-making have revealed the existence of consistent contributors, who always make contributions to the collective good. It is difficult to understand such behavior in terms of mutualistic motives. Furthermore, consistent contributors can elicit apparently altruistic behavior from others. Therefore, although mutualistic motives are likely an important contributor to moral action, there is more to morality than mutualism.

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