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Title: Smile asymmetries and reputation as reliable indicators of likelihood to cooperate: An evolutionary analysis
Authors: Brown, WM
Moore, C
Issue Date: 2002
Publisher: Nova Science Publishers
Citation: Brown, W.M., & Moore, C. (2002). Smile asymmetries and reputation as reliable indicators of likelihood to cooperate: An evolutionary analysis. In S.P. Shohov (Ed.) Advances in Psychology Research, 11, 59-78. New York: Nova Science Publishers
Abstract: Cooperating with individuals whose altruism is not motivated by genuine prosocial emotions could have been costly in ancestral division of labour partnerships. How do humans ‘know’ whether or not an individual has the prosocial emotions committing future cooperation? Frank (1988) has hypothesized two pathways for altruist-detection: (a) facial expressions of emotions signalling character; and (b) gossip regarding the target individual’s reputation. Detecting non-verbal cues signalling commitment to cooperate may be one way to avoid the costs of exploitation. Spontaneous smiles while cooperating may be reliable index cues because of the physiological constraints controlling the neural pathways mediating involuntary emotional expressions. Specifically, it is hypothesized that individuals whose help is mediated by a genuine sympathy will express involuntary smiles (which are observably different from posed smiles). To investigate this idea, 38 participants played dictator games (i.e. a unilateral resource allocation task) against cartoon faces with a benevolent emotional expression (i.e. concern furrows and smile). The faces were presented with information regarding reputation (e.g. descriptions of an altruistic character vs. a non-altruistic character). Half of the sample played against icons with symmetrical smiles (representing a spontaneous smile) while the other half played against asymmetrically smiling icons (representing a posed smile). Icons described as having altruistic motives received more resources than icons described as self-interested helpers. Faces with symmetrical smiles received more resources than faces with asymmetrical smiles. These results suggest that reputation and smile asymmetry influence the likelihood of cooperation and thus may be reliable cues to altruism. These cues may allow for altruists to garner more resources in division of labour situations.
ISBN: 1-59033-186-9
Appears in Collections:Psychology
Dept of Life Sciences Research Papers

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