Professor in Evolutionary Psychology, Work and Organizational Psychology


Evolution and Cooperation

Genuine giving or selfish sacrifice? (2003)

Powell, C., & Van Vugt, M. (2003).  Genuine giving or selfish sacrifice? The role of commitment and cost level upon willingness to sacrifice.  European Journal of Social Psychology, 33, 403-412. 



This research uses interdependence theory to examine the link between commitment, costs, and willingness to sacrifice within interdependence dilemmas occurring in intimate relationships. Advancing prior work, which has demonstrated a positive association between relationship commitment and willingness to sacrifice, we investigated the moderating role of the cost of sacrifice in a scenario-based survey.  Consistent with our hypotheses it was found that in high cost interdependence dilemmas, significantly greater levels of sacrifice were observed from individuals classified as high in commitment than from individuals classified as low in commitment. In contrast, in low cost dilemmas, significantly higher levels of sacrifice were demonstrated among individuals classified as low in commitment than among individuals classified as high in commitment. 


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