Professor in Evolutionary Psychology, Work and Organizational Psychology


Evolution and Cooperation

Nice guys finish first (2006)

Hardy, C., & Van Vugt, M. (2006). Nice guys finish first: The competitive altruism hypothesis. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32, 1402-1413. 



Three experimental studies examined the relationship between altruistic behavior and the emergence of status hierarchies within groups. In each study, group members were confronted with a social dilemma in which they could either benefit themselves or their group. Studies 1 and 2 revealed that when members’ contributions were public, the most altruistic members gained the highest status in their group, and were most frequently preferred as cooperative interaction partners. Study 3 showed that high status members behaved more altruistically than low status members. These results support the idea that by behaving altruistically group members “compete” for social status within their group.


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