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External colloquium - June 14, 2012 - Brent Simpson (University of South Carolina)

01 mei 2012

June 14, 2012, 12:30-14:00, B136 Gadourekzaal

Brent Simpson (University of South Carolina): Altruism and Homophily in Social Relations: Green Beard Selection or Dispositional Colorblindness?

The altruist detection hypothesis holds that altruists have “green beards,” identifiable tell-tale signs of disposition, which they use to find and selectively sort with each other. While previous work supports the hypothesis that people can intuit tell-tale signs of altruism in strangers, we do not know whether detection abilities affect social relations. Building on the theory of reciprocal altruism, we explain why we should not expect altruism homophily. Additionally, we address competing predictions from the altruist detection hypothesis and our own dispositional colorblindness hypothesis about the extent to which people know whether their friends are altruistic. Across three studies employing diverse methodologies and measures, we find virtually no altruism homophily. Moreover, we find that people are poor predictors of their friends’ altruism and prosociality. These findings challenge the altruist detection hypothesis and suggest that human altruism must emerge through other means.

Brent Simpson is professor of Sociology at the University of South Carolina. He received his PhD in Sociology at Cornell University in 2001. His primary interests include altruism, cooperation, and other forms of prosocial behavior. His talk on power and perception in social networks has no relevance to any of these interests.

Laatst gewijzigd:04 juli 2014 21:31

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