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Altruistic Punishment Theory and Inter-Group Violence

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Date Issued:
2018
Abstract/Description:
This dissertation explores the role of altruistic punishment, the act of punishing outsiders perceivedto harm members of one's group at a personal cost, in explaining individual motivations toparticipate in inter-group violence. It first develops a social theory of this type punishment. Thistheory argues that an egalitarian social logic may be key to understanding motivations of parochialaltruism, and that one's social environment may influence thresholds of anger needed to inducepunishment behavior. Empirically, it conducts two survey-experimental studies. The first experimentutilizes subject partisan identity in the context of American politics and hypothetical acts ofviolence to study altruistic punishment behaviors among two different populations in the US. Thesecond experiment utilizes a comparative sample of American, German, and Kurdish participantsto assess whether priming for anger tied to acts of political violence by outsiders against theirrespective in-group increases support for a hypothetical in-group (")punisher(") of these outsiders.The results of these studies offer two key findings: (1) anger induced costly punishment of outgroupperpetrators may be conditional on egalitarian attitudes; (2) this relationship is contextualand varies across population. The findings cautiously suggest two conclusions. First, there may beevolutionary and neurological mechanisms that promote participation in inter-group conflict andthat superficial characteristics such as ethnicity, religion, and ideology may work in tandem withbiological factors. Second, it suggests that social and political environments may be useful formodulating, or exacerbating, the role of anger in the decision to participate in inter-group conflictactivities.
Title: Altruistic Punishment Theory and Inter-Group Violence.
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Name(s): Besaw, Clayton, Author
Tezcur, Gunes Murat, Committee Chair
Dolan, Thomas, Committee CoChair
Kang, Kyungkook, Committee Member
Smirnov, Oleg, Committee Member
University of Central Florida, Degree Grantor
Type of Resource: text
Date Issued: 2018
Publisher: University of Central Florida
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: This dissertation explores the role of altruistic punishment, the act of punishing outsiders perceivedto harm members of one's group at a personal cost, in explaining individual motivations toparticipate in inter-group violence. It first develops a social theory of this type punishment. Thistheory argues that an egalitarian social logic may be key to understanding motivations of parochialaltruism, and that one's social environment may influence thresholds of anger needed to inducepunishment behavior. Empirically, it conducts two survey-experimental studies. The first experimentutilizes subject partisan identity in the context of American politics and hypothetical acts ofviolence to study altruistic punishment behaviors among two different populations in the US. Thesecond experiment utilizes a comparative sample of American, German, and Kurdish participantsto assess whether priming for anger tied to acts of political violence by outsiders against theirrespective in-group increases support for a hypothetical in-group (")punisher(") of these outsiders.The results of these studies offer two key findings: (1) anger induced costly punishment of outgroupperpetrators may be conditional on egalitarian attitudes; (2) this relationship is contextualand varies across population. The findings cautiously suggest two conclusions. First, there may beevolutionary and neurological mechanisms that promote participation in inter-group conflict andthat superficial characteristics such as ethnicity, religion, and ideology may work in tandem withbiological factors. Second, it suggests that social and political environments may be useful formodulating, or exacerbating, the role of anger in the decision to participate in inter-group conflictactivities.
Identifier: CFE0007156 (IID), ucf:52307 (fedora)
Note(s): 2018-08-01
Ph.D.
Sciences, Political Science
Doctoral
This record was generated from author submitted information.
Subject(s): emotion -- affect -- political violence -- anger -- conflict
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/ucf/fd/CFE0007156
Restrictions on Access: public 2018-08-15
Host Institution: UCF

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