The Evolution of Spite

Psychology, biology, and mathematics have come together to show that the occurrence of altruism and spite - helping or harming others at a cost to oneself - depends on similarity not just between two interacting individuals but also to the rest of their neighbours. According to this new model, individuals who appear very different from most others in a group will evolve to be altruistic towards similar partners, and only slightly spiteful to those who are dissimilar to them.

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