Press J to jump to the feed. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts
2
Archived

Looking for the Most Fair-Minded, Unselfish People on Earth? Science Suggests You Should Check Your Local WalMart

5 comments
55% Upvoted
This thread is archived
New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast
Sort by
level 1
[deleted]
3 points · 8 years ago

I'd probably check a Zen monestary or medition school before I'd check a Walmart, and I suspect I'd be able to find a few unselfish people by doing so.

level 1

because they've been murdered and their bodies have been hidden in the clothing department...

level 1
1 point · 8 years ago

Wow. This is quite an extrapolation from the content of the original article. Here is the actual abstract for those who are interested in getting the story without all of the confused bullshit:

Large-scale societies in which strangers regularly engage in mutually beneficial transactions are puzzling. The evolutionary mechanisms associated with kinship and reciprocity, which underpin much of primate sociality, do not readily extend to large unrelated groups. Theory suggests that the evolution of such societies may have required norms and institutions that sustain fairness in ephemeral exchanges. If that is true, then engagement in larger-scale institutions, such as markets and world religions, should be associated with greater fairness, and larger communities should punish unfairness more. Using three behavioral experiments administered across 15 diverse populations, we show that market integration (measured as the percentage of purchased calories) positively covaries with fairness while community size positively covaries with punishment. Participation in a world religion is associated with fairness, although not across all measures. These results suggest that modern prosociality is not solely the product of an innate psychology, but also reflects norms and institutions that have emerged over the course of human history.

level 2
Original Poster1 point · 8 years ago

I'm completely confused by your comment. The NYT article actually did a fairly decent job of explaining some of the multitude of findings in the wide-ranging, cross-discipline Science article (if it didn't, I wouldn't have posted it!), such as that:

  • (1) people in small communities (population about 50) were less willing to inflict punishment than people in larger communities (about 1,800), as reflected by their scores on behavioral experiments (on which shoppers at a rural MO Wal-Mart achieved higher scores for 'fairness' than a wide variety of "less-modern communities in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Africa, Asia and Latin America"),

  • (2) this creates a puzzle as to how larger but fair societies were able to develop in the first place, and

  • (3) that factors that seemed to contribute are the community’s increasing level of “market integration" and participation in a unifying religion.

All of this is covered in the article. Do you think there's something in the article abstract or the full Science article that wasn't included in the NYTimes article? Or are you just objecting to the 'hook' that the NYTimes (and, by extension, I) used to get people to bother reading the explanation of the study??

level 3
1 point · 8 years ago

Basically the hook. The article devotes the first 3 paragraphs (nearly a screen full of text) to trying to the sensationalist claim that going to the grocery store causes morality. This is not really what the paper is about, and is pretty misleading...

Community Details

19.8m

Subscribers

6.1k

Online

This community is a place to share and discuss new scientific research. Read about the latest advances in astronomy, biology, medicine, physics, social science, and more. Find and submit new publications and popular science coverage of current research.

Create Post
r/science Rules
1.
Must be peer-reviewed research
2.
No second-hand summaries, reviews, or reposts
3.
No editorialized, sensationalized or biased titles
4.
Research must be <6 months old
5.
No off-topic comments
6.
No jokes or memes
7.
No abusive or offensive comments
8.
No anecdotal comments
9.
Not scientific or dismissive of established work
10.
No medical advice
r/Science Ask Me Anything

We've discontinued our regular 'Ask Me Anything' Q&A series. You can view all the previous AMAs at the link below.

Verified User Program

Do you have a college degree in a scientific field? Get flair in r/science to indicate your expertise!

Related Communities
r/EverythingScience

133,922 subscribers

r/askscience

16,288,225 subscribers

r/labrats

36,599 subscribers

Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services or clicking I agree, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.