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12-Apr-2018 05:47

"Professors from the anthropology department suggested it was a bad thing that I was doing," Henrich remembers."The word 'unethical' came up." So instead of toeing the line, he switched teams.

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Rather than practice traditional ethnography, he decided to run a behavioral experiment that had been developed by economists.When on the receiving end, they show an eagerness to punish the other player for uneven splits at their own expense.In short, Americans show the tendency to be equitable with strangers—and to punish those who are not.In no society did he find people who were purely selfish (that is, who always offered the lowest amount, and never refused a split), but average offers from place to place varied widely and, in some societies—ones where gift-giving is heavily used to curry favor or gain allegiance—the first player would often make overly generous offers in excess of 60 percent, and the second player would often reject them, behaviors almost never observed among Americans. Presidential Early Career Award for young scientists at the White House. When he presented his research to the anthropology department at the University of British Columbia during a job interview a year later, he recalls a hostile reception.The research established Henrich as an up-and-coming scholar. Anthropology is the social science most interested in cultural differences, but the young scholar’s methods of using games and statistics to test and compare cultures with the West seemed heavy-handed and invasive to some.

Rather than practice traditional ethnography, he decided to run a behavioral experiment that had been developed by economists.When on the receiving end, they show an eagerness to punish the other player for uneven splits at their own expense.In short, Americans show the tendency to be equitable with strangers—and to punish those who are not.In no society did he find people who were purely selfish (that is, who always offered the lowest amount, and never refused a split), but average offers from place to place varied widely and, in some societies—ones where gift-giving is heavily used to curry favor or gain allegiance—the first player would often make overly generous offers in excess of 60 percent, and the second player would often reject them, behaviors almost never observed among Americans. Presidential Early Career Award for young scientists at the White House. When he presented his research to the anthropology department at the University of British Columbia during a job interview a year later, he recalls a hostile reception.The research established Henrich as an up-and-coming scholar. Anthropology is the social science most interested in cultural differences, but the young scholar’s methods of using games and statistics to test and compare cultures with the West seemed heavy-handed and invasive to some.Henrich used a “game”—along the lines of the famous prisoner’s dilemma—to see whether isolated cultures shared with the West the same basic instinct for fairness.