Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cheating, Part 1

In a recently released book entitled Why We Cheat authors Fang and Casadevall assert that “cheating” is not limited to human beings. Cheating has been documented around the world “wherever there is competition for limited resources.” In the animal kingdom the bigger the brain, the more likely that members of the species will cheat; cheating being a way of gaining advantage over others without incurring the cost of the effort. For example, deception has been observed among primates (e.g., female juvenile baboons in Ethiopia were seen to mate with juvenile males while hiding behind rocks in order to conceal their actions from the alpha male baboon. Studies in 2004 showed that the relative size of the brain’s neocortex predicted the degree to which primates practiced deception: the larger the neocortex size in a species, the more likely the members of that species were to use dishonest tactics for social manipulation.

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