Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Strong Leaders Who Punish Freeloaders And Cheats Can Benefit Society: UBC Research

Date:
September 25, 2008
Source:
University of British Columbia
Summary:
A strong leader who punishes cheats and freeloaders can increase the cooperation and riches enjoyed by the rest of the group, according to psychology and economics research.

A strong leader who punishes cheats and freeloaders can increase the cooperation and riches enjoyed by the rest of the group, according to psychology and economics research at the University of British Columbia, Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Kent.

In a study that looks at the evolutionary role of leaders in society, the researchers explored how having a leader in charge – with the power to punish – works better than spreading responsibility through the entire group.

"One person can make a difference," says UBC Assoc. Prof. Joe Henrich, who teaches in the departments of Psychology and Economics. "Having a solitary leader can efficiently galvanize group cooperation."

Henrich holds the Canada Research Chair in Culture, Cognition and Evolution. His co-authors are Rick O'Gorman of Sheffield Hallam University and Mark Van Vugt at the University of Kent.

The study ran a series of experiments with 135 undergraduate students at the University of Kent at Canterbury. The students, of whom 35 per cent were male, were divided into groups of 20-24. In the form of computer-based investment games, students each received $20 and were given the opportunity to anonymously contribute some or all of their money toward a communal group project.

Once collected, that lump sum was doubled by the researchers and divided equally among the students regardless of their contribution. Within each group, one person would act as the leader with the power to see what the other students gave and punish those deemed shirking their responsibility to contribute.

"This addresses the classic human cooperation dilemma," says Henrich. "In society, you have those who cheat on their taxes, but still receive universal health care, or those who don't recycle, but will get the benefits of a cleaner environment."

To explore the motivation and behaviour of leaders, the researchers also designed an experiment in which the leader had to pay a fee before imposing punishment.

"Our findings show that even if a person has to sacrifice something to lead the group, they will do that to benefit the greater good," says Henrich.

Findings appear in the September 23 issue of the online journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of British Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of British Columbia. "Strong Leaders Who Punish Freeloaders And Cheats Can Benefit Society: UBC Research." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080923194142.htm>.
University of British Columbia. (2008, September 25). Strong Leaders Who Punish Freeloaders And Cheats Can Benefit Society: UBC Research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080923194142.htm
University of British Columbia. "Strong Leaders Who Punish Freeloaders And Cheats Can Benefit Society: UBC Research." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080923194142.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

What Self-Made Women Need to Know Financially Before Getting Hitched

What Self-Made Women Need to Know Financially Before Getting Hitched

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) Halle Berry was recently ordered to pay her ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry $16,000 a month in child support by a California judge for their daughter Nahla. As women make strides in the workforce, they are increasingly left holding the bag when relationships end regardless of marital status. 'What Monied Women Need to Know Before Getting Married or Cohabitating' discusses information such as debt incurred during the marriage is both spouse's responsibility at divorce, whether after ten years of marriage spouses are entitled to half of everything and why property acquired within the marriage is fair game without a pre-nup. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Clock Ticks Down on Internet Speed Debate

Clock Ticks Down on Internet Speed Debate

Reuters - US Online Video (July 18, 2014) The FCC received more than 800,000 comments on whether and how internet speeds should be regulated, even crashing its system. Lily Jamali reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Wildfire Tears Through Washington

Raw: Wildfire Tears Through Washington

AP (July 18, 2014) A large wildfire continued to gain steam through north-central Washington Friday. The blaze is already responsible for the destruction of at least 100 homes. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins