Skip to main content

Cognitive systems for revenge and forgiveness

  • Michael E. McCullough (a1), Robert Kurzban (a2) and Benjamin A. Tabak (a3)

Minimizing the costs that others impose upon oneself and upon those in whom one has a fitness stake, such as kin and allies, is a key adaptive problem for many organisms. Our ancestors regularly faced such adaptive problems (including homicide, bodily harm, theft, mate poaching, cuckoldry, reputational damage, sexual aggression, and the infliction of these costs on one's offspring, mates, coalition partners, or friends). One solution to this problem is to impose retaliatory costs on an aggressor so that the aggressor and other observers will lower their estimates of the net benefits to be gained from exploiting the retaliator in the future. We posit that humans have an evolved cognitive system that implements this strategy – deterrence – which we conceptualize as a revenge system. The revenge system produces a second adaptive problem: losing downstream gains from the individual on whom retaliatory costs have been imposed. We posit, consequently, a subsidiary computational system designed to restore particular relationships after cost-imposing interactions by inhibiting revenge and motivating behaviors that signal benevolence for the harmdoer. The operation of these systems depends on estimating the risk of future exploitation by the harmdoer and the expected future value of the relationship with the harmdoer. We review empirical evidence regarding the operation of these systems, discuss the causes of cultural and individual differences in their outputs, and sketch their computational architecture.

Hide All
Allan A., Allan M, M., Kaminer D. & Stein D. J. (2006) Exploration of the association between apology and forgiveness amongst victims of human rights violations. Behavioral Science and the Law 24(1):87102.
Anderson C. & Putterman L. (2006) Do non-strategic sanctions obey the law of demand? The demand for punishment in the voluntary contribution mechanism. Games and Economic Behavior 54:124.
Anderson E. (1999) Code of the street. W. W. Norton.
Andreoni J., Harbaugh W. & Vesterlund L. (2003) The carrot or the stick: Rewards, punishments, and cooperation. American Economic Review 93:893902.
Andrews P. W., Gangestad S. W. & Matthews D. (2002) Adaptationism – How to carry out an exaptationist program. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25:489504.
Archer J. (2004) Sex differences in aggression in real-world settings: A meta-analytic review. Review of General Psychology 8:291322.
Archer J. (2009) Does sexual selection explain human sex differences in aggression? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32:249311.
Aureli F. (1997) Post-conflict anxiety in nonhuman primates: The mediating role of emotion in conflict resolution. Aggressive Behavior 23:315–28.
Aureli F., Cozzolino R., Cordischi C. & Scucchi S. (1992) Kin-oriented redirection among Japanese macaques: An expression of a revenge system? Animal Behaviour 44:283–91.
Aureli F. & de Waal F. B. M. (2000) Natural conflict resolution. University of California Press.
Aureli F. & Schaffner C. M. (2002) Relationship assessment through emotional mediation. Behaviour 139:393420.
Aureli F. & van Schaik C. P. (1991b) Post-conflict behaviour in long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis): II. Coping with the uncertainty. Ethology 89(2):101–14.
Axelrod R. (1980) More effective choice in the Prisoner's Dilemma. Journal of Conflict Resolution 24:379403.
Axelrod R. (1984) The evolution of cooperation. Basic Books.
Barclay P. (2006) Reputational benefits for altruistic punishment. Evolution and Human Behavior 27:325–44.
Barnes C. D., Brown R. P. & Osterman L. L. (2009) Protection, payback, or both? Emotional and motivational mechanisms underlying avoidance by victims of transgressions. Motivation and Emotion 33:400–11.
Baskin T. W. & Enright R. D. (2004) Intervention studies on forgiveness: A meta-analysis. Journal of Counseling and Development 82:7990.
Batson C. D. (2011) Altruism in humans. Oxford.
Batson C. D., Kennedy C. L., Nord L., Stocks E. L., Fleming D. A., Marzette C. M., Lishner D. A., Hayes R. E., Kolchinsky L. M. & Zerger T. (2007) Anger at unfairness: Is it moral outrage? European Journal of Social Psychology 37:1272–85.
Bayer C. P., Klasen F. & Adam H. (2007) Association of trauma and PTSD symptoms with openness to reconciliation and feelings of revenge among former Ugandan and Congolese child soldiers. Journal of the American Medical Association 298:555–59.
Beckerman S., Erickson P. I., Yost J., Regalado J., Jaramillo L., Sparks C., Iromenga M. & Long K. (2009) Life histories, blood revenge, and reproductive success among the Waorani of Ecuador. Proceedings of the National Academy Sciences USA 106:8134–39.
Bendor J., Kramer R. M. & Stout S. (1991) When in doubt: Cooperation in a noisy prisoner's dilemma. Journal of Conflict Resolution 35:691719.
Bentham J. (1962) Principles of penal law. In: The works of Jeremy Bentham, ed. Bowring J., pp. 365580. Russell and Russell.
Berg J., Dickhaut J. & McCabe K. (1995) Trust, reciprocity and social history. Games and Economic Behavior 10:122–42.
Bernhard H., Fischbacher U. & Fehr E. (2006) Parochial altruism in humans. Nature 442:912–15.
Bettencourt B. A. & Miller N. (1996) Gender differences in aggression as a function of provocation: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin 119:422–47.
Bixenstine V. E. & Wilson K. V. (1963) Effects of level of cooperative choice by the other player on choices in a prisoner's dilemma game. Part II. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 67:139–47.
Black-Michaud J. (1975) Cohesive force: Feud in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Basil Blackwell.
Bochet O., Page T. & Putterman L. (2006) Communication and punishment in voluntary contribution experiments. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 60:1126.
Boehm C. (1987) Blood revenge: The enactment and management of conflict in Montenegro and other tribal societies, 2nd edition. University of Pennsylvania Press.
Boehm C. (2008) Purposive social selection and the evolution of human altruism. Cross-Cultural Research 42:319–52.
Bolton G. E. & Zwick R. (1995) Anonymity versus punishment in ultimatum bargaining. Games and Economic Behavior 10:95121.
Bottom W. P., Gibson K., Daniels S. E. & Murnighan J. K. (2002) When talk is not cheap: Substantive penance and expressions of intent in rebuilding cooperation. Organization Science 13:497513.
Brezina T., Agnew R., Cullen F. T. & Wright J. P. (2004) The code of the street: A quantitative assessment of Elijah Anderson's subculture of violence thesis and its contribution to youth violence research. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice 2:303–28.
Brown B. R. (1968) The effects of need to maintain face on interpersonal bargaining. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 4:107–22.
Brown D. E. (1991) Human universals. McGraw-Hill.
Bshary R. & Grutter A. S. (2005) Punishment and partner switching cause cooperative behavior in a cleaning mutualism. Biology Letters 1:396–99.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (1999) Arson and Explosives Incidents Report, 1997. (No. ATF P 3320.4).
Burnham T. C. (2003) Engineering altruism: A theoretical and experimental investigation of anonymity and gift giving. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 50:133–44.
Burnham T. C. & Johnson D. D. P. (2005) The biological and evolutionary logic of human cooperation. Analyse & Kritik 27:113–35.
Buss D. M. (2009) How can evolutionary psychology successfully explain personality and individual differences? Perspectives on Psychological Science 4:359–66.
Call J., Aureli F. & de Waal F. B. M. (1999) Reconciliation patterns among stumptailed macaques: A multivariate approach. Animal Behaviour 58:165–72.
Camerer C. F. (2003) Behavioral game theory. Princeton University Press.
Cant M. A. (2011) The role of threats in animal cooperation. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences 278:170–78.
Cant M. A. & Johnstone R. A. (2006) Self-serving punishment and the evolution of cooperation. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 19:1383–85.
Carcach C. (1997) Youth as victims and offenders of homicide, No. 73. Australian Institute of Criminology.
Cardona M., Garcia H. I., Giraldo C. A., Lopez M. V., Suarez C. M., Corcho D. C., Posada C. H. & Florez M. N. (2005) Homicides in Medellin, Colombia, from 1990 to 2002: Victims, motives, and circumstances. Cadernos de Salude Publica, Rio de Janeiro 21:840–51.
Carlsmith K. M., Wilson T. D. & Gilbert D. T. (2008) The paradoxical consequences of revenge. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 95:1316–24.
Carlson M. & Miller N. (1988) Bad experiences and aggression. Sociology and Social Research 72:155–58.
Carmichael C. M. & McGue M. (1995) A cross-sectional examination of height, weight, and body mass index in adult twins. Journal of Gerontology Series A: Biological and Medical Sciences 50:B237–44.
Carpenter J. P. & Matthews P. H. (2004) Social reciprocity. Middlebury College Department of Economics, working paper.
Carpenter J. P. & Matthews P. H. (2009) What norms trigger punishment? Experimental Economics 12:272–88.
Carpenter J. P. & Matthews P. H. (2012) Norm enforcement: Anger, indignation, or reciprocity? Journal of the European Economic Association. 10:555–72.
Castles D. L. & Whiten A. (1998b) Post-conflict behaviour of Wild Olive baboons. II. Stress and self-directed behaviour. Ethology 104:148–60.
Chagnon N. (1988) Life histories, blood revenge, and warfare in a tribal population. Science, 239:985–92.
Cheney D. L. & Seyfarth R. M. (2007) Baboon metaphysics: The evolution of a social mind. University of Chicago Press.
Cinyabuguma M., Page T. & Putterman L. (2006) Can second-order punishment deter perverse punishment? Experimental Economics 9:265–79.
Clark K. & Sefton M. (2001) The sequential prisoner's dilemma: Evidence on reciprocation. The Economic Journal 111:5168.
Clavien C. & Klein R. A. (2010) Eager for fairness or for revenge? Psychological altruism in economics. Economics and Philosophy 26:267–90.
Clutton-Brock T. H. (1989) Mammalian mating systems. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: 236:339–72.
Clutton-Brock T. H. & Parker G. A. (1995) Punishment in animal societies. Nature 373:209–16.
Cohen D., Nisbett R. E., Bowdle B. F. & Schwarz N. (1996) Insult, aggression, and the Southern culture of honor: An “experimental ethnography.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 70:945–60.
Cools A. K. A., Van Hout A. J.-M. & Nelissen M. H. J. (2008) Canine reconciliation and third-party-initiated postconflict affiliation: Do peacemaking social mechanisms in dogs rival those of higher primates? Ethology 114:5363.
Cooper M. A., Bernstein I. S. & Hemelrijk C. K. (2005) Reconciliation and relationship quality in Assamese macaques (Macaca assamensis). American Journal of Primatology 65:269–82.
Copeland-Linder N., Jones V. C., Haynie D. L., Simons-Morton B. G., Wright J. L. & Cheng T. L. (2007) Factors associated with retaliatory attitudes among African American adolescents who have been assaulted. Journal of Pediatric Psychology 32:760–70.
Cordoni G. & Palagi E. (2008) Reconciliation in Wolves (Canis lupus): New evidence for a comparative perspective. Ethology 114:298308.
Daly M. & Wilson M. (1988) Homicide. Aldine de Gruyter.
Daniel J. R., Santos A. J. & Cruz M. G. (2009) Postconflict behaviour in brown capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella). Folia Primatologica 80:329–40.
Davis D. E., Worthington E. L. Jr., Hook J. N., Van Tongeren D. L., Green J. D. & Jennings D. J. (2009) Relational spirituality and the development of the Similarity of the Offender's Spirituality Scale. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality 1:249–62.
de Jong P. J., Peters M. L. & de Cremer D. (2003) Blushing may signify guilt: Revealing effects of blushing in ambiguous social situations. Motivation and Emotion 27:225–49.
Denant-Boemont L., Masclet D. & Noussair C. N. (2007) Punishment, counterpunishment and sanction enforcement in a social dilemma experiment. Economic Theory 33:145–67.
DeScioli P. & Kurzban R. (2009b) The alliance hypothesis for human friendship. PLoS One 4:e5802.
de Waal F. B. M. (2000) Primates – A natural heritage of conflict resolution. Science 289(5479):586–90.
de Waal F. B. M. & van Roosmalen A. (1979) Reconciliation and consolation among chimpanzees. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 5:5566.
DeWall C. N., Baumeister R. F., Stillman T. F. & Gailliot M. T. (2007) Violence restrained: Effects of self-regulation and its depletion on aggression. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 43:6276.
Diamond S. R. (1977) The effect of fear on the aggressive responses of anger aroused and revenge motivated subjects. Journal of Psychology 95:185–88.
DiBlasio F. & Benda B. B. (1991) Practitioners, religion and the use of forgiveness in the clinical setting. Journal of Psychology and Christianity 10:166–72.
Dijk C., de Jong P. J. & Peters M. L. (2009) The remedial value of blushing in the context of transgressions and mishaps. Emotion 9:287–91.
Dooley E. (2001) Homicide in Ireland 1992–1996. Government Report No. 9435. Government of Ireland.
dos Santos M., Rankin D. J. & Wedekind C. (2011) The evolution of punishment through reputation. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, B 278:371–77.
Dreber A., Rand D. G., Fudenberg D. & Nowak M. A. (2008) Winners don't punish. Nature 452(7185):348–51.
Dunbar R. I. M., Clark A. & Hurst N. L. (1995) Conflict and cooperation among the Vikings: Contingent behavioral decisions. Ethology and Sociobiology 16:233–46.
Eaton J. & Struthers C. W. (2006) The reduction of psychological aggression across varied interpersonal contexts through repentance and forgiveness. Aggressive Behavior 32:195206.
Eaton J., Struthers C. W. & Santelli A. G. (2006) The mediating role of perceptual validation in the repentance-forgiveness process. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 32:1389–401.
Eaves L. J., Hatemi P. K., Prom-Womley E. C. & Murrelle L. (2008) Social and genetic influences on adolescent religious attitudes and practices. Social Forces 86:1621–46.
Egas M. & Riedl A. (2008) The economics of altruistic punishment and the maintenance of cooperation. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 275:871–78.
Eisenberger R., Lynch P., Aselage J. & Rohdieck S. (2004) Who takes the most revenge? Individual differences in negative reciprocity norm endorsement. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 30:787–99.
Elster J. (1990) Norms of revenge. Ethics 100:862–85.
Engel C. (in press) Dictator games: A meta-study. Experimental Economics.
Engh A. L., Siebert E. R., Greenberg D. A. & Holekamp K. E. (2005) Patterns of alliance formation and postconflict aggression indicate spotted hyaenas recognize third-party relationships. Animal Behaviour 69:209–17.
Enright R. D. & Coyle C. T. (1998) Researching the process model of forgiveness within psychological interventions. In: Dimensions of forgiveness: Psychological research and theological perspectives, ed. Worthington E. L. Jr., pp. 139–61. Templeton Foundation Press.
Ericksen K. P. & Horton H. (1992) “Blood feuds”: Cross-cultural variations in kin group vengeance. Behavior Science Research 26:5785.
Fehr E. & Fischbacher U. (2004) Third-party punishment and social norms. Evolution and Human Behavior 25:6387.
Fehr E. & Gächter S. (2000) Cooperation and punishment in public goods experiments. American Economic Review 90:980–94.
Fehr E. & List J. A. (2004) The hidden costs and returns of incentives – Trust and trustworthiness among CEOs. Journal of the European Economic Association 2:743–71.
Fehr R., Gelfand M. J. & Nag M. (2010) The road to forgiveness: A meta-analytic synthesis of its situational and dispositional correlates. Psychological Bulletin 136:894914.
Felson R. B. (1982) Impression management and the escalation of aggression and violence. Social Psychology Quarterly 45:245–54.
Fessler D. M. T. (2010) Madmen: An evolutionary perspective on anger and men's violent responses to transgression. In: International handbook of anger: Constituent and concomitant biological, psychological, and social processes, ed. Potegal M., Stemmler G. & Spielberger C., pp. 361–81. Springer.
Finkel E. J., Rusbult C. E., Kumashiro M. & Hannon P. A. (2002) Dealing with betrayal in close relationships: Does commitment promote forgiveness? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 82(6):956–74.
Fitness J. & Peterson J. (2008) Punishment and forgiveness in close relationships: An evolutionary, social-psychological perspective. In: Social relationships: Cognitive, affective, and motivational perspectives, ed. Forgas J. P. & Fitness J., pp. 255–69. Psychology Press.
Frank R. H. (1988) Passions within reason: The strategic role of the emotions. Norton.
Fraser O. N. & Bugnyar T. (2011) Ravens reconcile after aggressive conflicts with valuable partners. PLoS One 6:15.
Fraser O. N., Stahl D. & Aureli F. (2010) The function and determinants of reconciliation in Pan troglodytes. International Journal of Primatology 31:3957.
Frean M. R. (1994) The prisoner's dilemma without synchrony. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B – Biological Sciences 257:7579.
Freedman S. R. & Enright R. D. (1996) Forgiveness as an intervention goal with incest survivors. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 64:983–92.
Frijda N. H. (1994) The lex talionis: On vengeance. In: Emotions: Essays on emotion theory, ed. van Goozen S. H. M., Van de Poll N. E. & Sargeant J. A., pp. 263–89. Erlbaum.
Gallup A., White D. & Gallup G. (2007) Handgrip strength predicts sexual behavior, body morphology, and aggression in male college students. Evolution and Human Behavior 28:423–29.
Gardner A. & West S. A. (2004) Cooperation and punishment, especially in humans. American Naturalist 164:753–64.
Gaylord M. S. & Galligher J. F. (1994) Death penalty politics and symbolic law in Hong Kong. International Journal of the Sociology of Law 22:1937.
Gold G. J. & Weiner B. (2000) Remorse, confession, group identity, and expectancies about repeating a transgression. Basic and Applied Social Psychology 22:291300.
Gould R. V. (2000) Revenge as sanction and solidarity display: An analysis of vendettas in nineteenth-century Corsica. American Sociological Review 65:682704.
Govier T. (2002) Forgiveness and revenge. Routledge.
Gürerk O., Irlenbusch B. & Rockenbach B. (2006) The competitive advantage of sanctioning institutions. Science 312:108–11.
Güth W., Schmittberger R. & Schwarze B. (1982) An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 3:367–88.
Hagen E. H. & Hammerstein P. (2006) Game theory and human evolution: A critique of some recent interpretations of experimental games. Theoretical Population Biology 69:339–48.
Hamilton W. D. (1964) The genetical evolution of social behaviour, I & II. Journal of Theoretical Biology 7(1):152.
Harris J. R. (2006) No two alike: Human nature and human individuality. Norton.
Hauert C. & Schuster H. G. (1998) Extending the iterated prisoner's dilemma without synchrony. Journal of Theoretical Biology 192:155–66.
Hayashi N., Ostrom E., Walker J. & Yamagishi T. (1999) Reciprocity, trust, and the sense of control: A cross-societal study. Rationality and Society 11:2746.
Hebl J. & Enright R. D. (1993) Forgiveness as a psychotherapeutic goal with elderly females. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training 30:658–67.
Henrich J. (2009) The evolution of costly displays, cooperation and religion: Credibility enhancing displays and their implications for cultural evolution. Evolution and Human Behavior 30:244–60.
Henrich J., McElreath R., Barr A., Ensminger J., Barrett C., Bolyanatz A., Cardenas J. C., Gurven M., Gwako E., Henrich N., Lesorogol C., Marlowe F. W., Tracer D. & Ziker J. (2006) Costly punishment across human societies. Science 312:1767–70.
Herrmann B., Thöni C. & Gächter S. (2008) Antisocial punishment across societies. Science 319:1362–67.
Hess N. H. & Hagen E. H. (2006) Sex differences in indirect aggression: Psychological evidence from young adults. Evolution and Human Behavior 27:231–45.
Hirshleifer J. (1987) On the emotions as guarantors of threats and promises. In: The latest on the best: Essays on evolution and optimality, ed. Dupré J., pp. 307–26. MIT Press.
Hoover J. P. & Robinson S. K. (2007) Retaliatory mafia behavior by a parasitic cowbird favors host acceptance of parasitic eggs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 104:4479–83.
Hope D. (1987) The healing paradox of forgiveness. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training 24:240–44.
Hopfensitz A. & Reuben E. (2009) The importance of emotions for the effectiveness of social punishment. The Economic Journal 119:1534–59.
Horney K. (1948) The value of vindictiveness. American Journal of Psychoanalysis 8:312.
Hruschka D. J. & Henrich J. (2006) Friendship, cliquishness, and the emergence of cooperation. Journal of Theoretical Biology 239:115.
Human Development Study Group (1991) Five points on the construct of forgiveness within psychotherapy. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training 28:493–96.
Ishikawa S. S., Raine A., Lencz T., Bihrle S. & LaCasse L. (2001) Increased height and bulk in antisocial personality disorder and its subtypes. Psychiatry Research 105:211–19.
Jacoby S. (1983) Wild justice: The evolution of revenge. Harper and Row.
Jensen K. (2010) Punishment and spite, the dark side of cooperation. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 365:2635–50.
Jensen K., Call J. & Tomasello M. (2007) Chimpanzees are vengeful but not spiteful. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 104:13046–50.
Kääriäinen J. T. (2007) Trust in the police in 16 European societies: A multilevel analysis. European Journal of Criminology 4:409–35.
Kachadourian L. K., Fincham F. & Davila J. (2004) The tendency to forgive in dating and married couples: The role of attachment and relationship satisfaction. Personal Relationships 11:373–93.
Karremans J. C. & Aarts H. (2007) The role of automaticity in determining the inclination to forgive close others. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 43:902–17.
Katsukake N. & Castles D. L. (2001) Reconciliation and variation in post-conflict stress in Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata fuscata): Testing the integrated hypothesis. Animal Cognition 4:259–68.
Keltner D. & Buswell B. N. (1997) Embarrassment: Its distinct form and appeasement functions. Psychological Bulletin 122:250–70.
Kim S. H., Smith R. H. & Brigham N. L. (1998) Effects of power imbalance and the presence of third parties on reactions to harm: Upward and downward revenge. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 24:353–61.
King-Casas B., Sharp C., Lomax-Bream L., Lohrenz T., Fonagy P. & Montague P. R. (2008) The rupture and repair of cooperation in borderline personality disorder. Science 321:806–10.
Klapwijk A. & Van Lange P. A. M. (2009) Promoting cooperation and trust in noisy situations: The power of generosity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 96:83103.
Koenig B. L. & Ketelaar T. (2006) Why big guys don't smile: Preliminary evidence for reactive heritability in collegiate football players. Paper presented at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, June 2006.
Kollock P. (1998) Social dilemmas: Anatomy of cooperation. Annual Review of Sociology 24:183214.
Koski S. E., Koops K. & Sterck E. H. M. (2007) Reconciliation, relationship quality, and postconflict anxiety: Testing the integrated hypothesis in captive chimpanzees. American Journal of Primatology 69:158–72.
Koyama N. F. (2001) The long-term effects of reconciliation in Japanese macaques, Macaca fuscata. Ethology 107:975–87.
Kubrin C. E. & Weitzer R. (2003) Retaliatory homicide: Concentrated disadvantage and neighborhood culture. Social Problems 50:157–80.
Kurzban R. & DeScioli P. (submitted) Adaptationist punishment in humans.
Lassek W. D. & Gaulin S. J. C. (2009) Costs and benefits of fat-free muscle mass in men: Relationship to mating success, dietary requirements, and native immunity. Evolution and Human Behavior 30:322–28.
Ledyard J. O. (1995) Public goods: A survey of experimental research. In: Handbook of experimental economics, ed. Kagel J. & Roth A. E., pp. 111–94. Princeton University Press.
Lickel B., Miller N., Stenstrom D. M., Denson T. F. & Schmader T. (2006) Vicarious retribution: The role of collective blame in intergroup aggression. Personality and Social Psychology Review 10:372–90.
Lieberman D. & Linke L. (2007) The effect of social category on third party punishment. Evolutionary Psychology 5:289305.
Lieberman D., Tooby J. & Cosmides L. (2007) The architecture of human kin detection. Nature 445:727–31.
Lundahl B. W., Taylor M. J., Stevenson R. & Roberts K. D. (2008) Process-based forgiveness interventions: A meta-analytic review. Research on Social Work Practice 18:465–78.
Marks M. J. (1988) Remorse, revenge, and forgiveness. Psychotherapy Patient 5:317–30.
Marlowe F. W., Berbesque J. C., Barrett C., Bolyanatz A., Gurven M. & Tracer D. (2011) The “spiteful” origins of human cooperation. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 278:2159–64.
Matsumura S. & Hayden T. J. (2006) When should signals of submission be given? – A game theory model. Journal of Theoretical Biology 240:425–33.
Maynard Smith J. & Harper D. (2003) Animal signals. Oxford.
McCullough M. E. (2008) Beyond revenge: The evolution of the forgiveness instinct. Jossey-Bass.
McCullough M. E., Bellah C. G., Kilpatrick S. D. & Johnson J. L. (2001) Vengefulness: Relationships with forgiveness, rumination, well-being, and the Big Five. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 27:601–10.
McCullough M. E., Fincham F. D. & Tsang J. (2003) Forgiveness, forbearance, and time: The temporal unfolding of transgression-related interpersonal motivations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84:540–57.
McCullough M. E. & Hoyt W. T. (2002) Transgression-related motivational dispositions: Personality substrates of forgiveness and their links to the Big Five. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 28:1556–73.
McCullough M. E., Luna L. R., Berry J. W., Tabak B. A. & Bono G. (2010) On the form and function of forgiving: Modeling the time-forgiveness relationship and testing the valuable relationships hypothesis. Emotion 3:358–76.
McCullough M. E., Rachal K. C., Sandage S. J., Worthington E. L. Jr., Brown S. W. & Hight T. L. (1998) Interpersonal forgiving in close relationships. II: Theoretical elaboration and measurement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 75:1586–603.
McCullough M. E. & Root L. M. (2005) Forgiveness as change. In: Handbook of forgiveness, ed. Worthington E. L. Jr., pp. 91107. Routledge.
McCullough M. E. & Worthington E. L. Jr. (1995) Promoting forgiveness: A comparison of two brief psychoeducational group interventions with a waiting-list control. Counseling and Values 40:5568.
McCullough M. E., Worthington E. L. Jr. & Rachal K. C. (1997) Interpersonal forgiving in close relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 73:321–36.
McDermott R., Tingley D., Cowden J., Frazzetto G. & Johnson D. D. P. (2009) Monoamine oxidase A gene (MAOA) predicts behavioral aggression following provocation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 106:2118–23.
Miller A. J., Worthington E. L. Jr. & McDaniel M. A. (2008) Forgiveness and gender: A meta-analytic review and research agenda. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 27:843–76.
Mocan N. H. (2008) Vengeance. Working Paper, National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA, June 2008. Paper No, 14131. National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved December 20, 2011 from:
Molm L. D. (1997) Coercive power in social exchange. Cambridge University Press.
Moss D. B. (1986) Revenge and forgiveness. American Imago (43):191210.
Mullet E., Neto F. & Riviere S. (2005) Personality and its effects on resentment, revenge, forgiveness, and self-forgiveness. In: Handbook of forgiveness, ed. Worthington E. L. Jr., pp. 159–81. Routledge/Taylor & Francis.
Murphy J. G. (2003) Getting even: Forgiveness and its limits. Oxford.
Nadler A. & Liviatan I. (2006) Intergroup reconciliation: Effects of adversary's expressions of empathy, responsibility, and recipients' trust. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 32:459–70.
Nelissen M. H. J. (2008) The price you pay: Cost-dependent reputation effects of altruistic punishment. Evolution and Human Behavior 29:242–48.
Nesse R. M. & Williams G. C. (1994) Why we get sick: The new science of Darwinian medicine. Vintage Books.
Nikiforakis N. & Normann H. (2008) A comparative statics analysis of punishment in public goods experiments. Experimental Economics 11:358–69.
Nisbett R. E. & Cohen D. (1996) Culture of honor: The psychology of violence in the South. Westview.
Nowak M. A. & Sigmund K. (1993) A strategy of win-stay, lose-shift that outperforms tit-for-tat in the Prisoner's Dilemma Game. Nature 364:5658.
Olson J. M., Vernon P. A., Harris J. A. & Jang K. L. (2001) The heritability of attitudes: A study of twins. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 80:845–60.
Oosterbeek H., Sloof R. & Van de Kuilen G. (2004) Cultural differences in ultimatum game experiments: Evidence from a meta-analysis. Experimental Economics 7:171–88.
Orth U., Berking M., Walker N., Meier L. L. & Znoj H. (2008) Forgiveness and psychological adjustment following interpersonal transgressions: A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Research in Personality 42:365–85.
Orth U., Montada L. & Maercker A. (2006) Feelings of revenge, retaliation motive, and posttraumatic stress reactions in crime victims. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 21:229–43.
Ostrom E. (1990) Governing the commons: The evolution of institutions for collective action. Cambridge University Press.
Ostrom E., Walker J. & Gardner R. (1992) Covenants with and without a sword: Self governance is possible. American Political Science Review 86:404–16.
Page T., Putterman L. & Unel B. (2005) Voluntary association in public goods experiments: Reciprocity, mimicry, and efficiency. The Economic Journal 115:1032–53.
Palagi E., Antonaccia D. & Norscia I. (2008) Peacemaking on treetops: First evidence of reconciliation from a wild prosimian (Propithecus verreauxi) Animal Behaviour 76:737–47.
Parkes C. M. (1993) Psychiatric problems following bereavement by murder or manslaughter. British Journal of Psychiatry 162:4954.
Petersen M. B., Sell A., Tooby J. & Cosmides L. (2010) Evolutionary psychology and criminal justice: A recalibrational theory of punishment and reconciliation. In: Human morality and sociality: Evolutionary and comparative perspectives, ed. Høgh-Olesen H., pp. 72131. Palgrave MacMillan.
Phillips L. J. & Osborne J. W. (1989) Cancer patients' experiences of forgiveness therapy. Canadian Journal of Counselling 23:236–51.
Pingleton J. P. (1989) The role and function of forgiveness in the psychotherapeutic process. Journal of Psychology and Theology 17:2735.
Preuschoft S., Wang X., Aureli F. & de Waal F. B. M. (2002) Reconciliation in captive chimpanzees: A reevaluation with controlled methods. International Journal of Primatology 23:2950.
Price M. E., Cosmides L. & Tooby J. (2002) Punitive sentiment as an anti-free rider psychological device. Evolution and Human Behavior 23:203–31.
Pronk T. M., Karremans J. C., Overbeek G., Vermuist A. A. & Wigboldus D. H. J. (2010) What it takes to forgive: When and why executive functioning facilitates forgiveness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 98(1):119–31.
Rand D. G., Ohtsuki H. & Nowak M. A. (2009) Direct reciprocity with costly punishment: Generous tit-for-tat prevails. Journal of Theoretical Biology 256:4557.
Rapoport A. & Chammah A. M. (1965) The prisoner's dilemma. University of Michigan Press.
Richard F. D., Bond C. F. Jr. & Stokes-Zoota J. J. (2003) One hundred years of social psychology quantitatively described. Review of General Psychology 7:331–63.
Risen J. L. & Gilovich T. (2007) Target and observer differences in the acceptance of questionable apologies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 92:418–33.
Ritzman T. A. (1987) Forgiveness: Its role in therapy. Medical Hypnoanalysis Journal 2:413.
Romero T., Colmenares F. & Aureli F. (2009) Testing the function of reconciliation and third-party affiliation for aggressors in Hamadryas Baboons (Papio hamadryas hamadryas). American Journal of Primatology 71:6069.
Schelling T. (1960) The strategy of conflict. Harvard University Press.
Schumann K. & Ross M. (2010) The benefits, costs, and paradox of revenge. Social and Personality Psychology Compass 4(12):1193–205. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-9004.2010.00322.x
Sell A. (2011) The recalibrational theory and violent anger. Aggression and Violent Behavior 16(5):381–89.
Sell A., Tooby J. & Cosmides L. (2009) Formidability and the logic of human anger. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 106(35):15073–78.
Seymour B., Singer T. & Dolan R. J. (2007) The neurobiology of punishment. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 8:300–11.
Shinada M., Yamagishi T. & Ohmura Y. (2004) False friends are worse than bitter enemies: “Altruistic” punishment of in-group members. Evolution and Human Behavior 25:379–93.
Silk J. B. (1992) The patterning of intervention among male bonnet macaques: Reciprocity, revenge, and loyalty. Current Anthropology 33:318–25.
Silk J. B. (2002) The form and function of reconciliation in primates. Annual Review of Anthropology 31:2144.
Silventoinen K., Magnusson P. K., Tynelius P., Kaprio J. & Rasmussen F. (2008) Heritability of body size and muscle strength in young adulthood: A study of one million Swedish men. Genetic Epidemiology 32:341–49.
Singer T., Seymour B., O'Doherty J. P., Stephan K. E., Dolan R. J. & Frith C. D. (2006) Empathic neural responses are modulated by the perceived fairness of others. Nature 439:466–69.
Solomon B. S., Bradshaw C. P., Wright J. & Cheng T. L. (2008) Youth and parental attitudes toward fighting. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 23:544–60.
Speckhard A. & Ahkmedova K. (2006) The making of a martyr: Chechen suicide terrorism. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism 29:429–92.
Sperber D. (1994) The modularity of thought and the epidemiology of representations. In: Mapping the mind, ed. Hirschfeld L. & Gelman S., pp. 3967. Cambridge University Press.
Srivastava J., Espinoza F. & Fedorikhin A. (2009) Coupling and decoupling of unfairness and anger in ultimatum bargaining. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making 22:475–89.
Steger M. F., Hicks B. M., Kashdan T. B., Krueger R. F. & Bouchard T. J. (2007) Genetic and environmental influences on the positive traits of the values in action classification, and biometric covariance with normal personality. Journal of Research in Personality 41:524–39.
Stewart E. A., Schreck C. J. & Simons R. L. (2006) ‘I ain't gonna let no one disrespect me’: Does the code of the street reduce or increase violent victimization among African American adolescents? Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 43:427–58.
Struthers C. W., Eaton J., Santelli A. G., Uchiyama M. & Shirvani N. (2008) The effects of attributions of intent and apology on forgiveness: When saying sorry might not help the story. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 44:983–92.
Summerfield D. (2002) Effects of war: Moral knowledge, revenge, reconciliation, and medicalised concepts of “recovery.” British Medical Journal 325:1105–107.
Tabak B. A., McCullough M. E., Luna L. R., Bono G. & Berry J. W. (2012) Conciliatory gestures facilitate forgiveness and feelings of friendship by making transgressors appear more agreeable. Journal of Personality 80:503–36.
Tinbergen N. (1963) On aims and methods of ethology. Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie 20:410–33.
Tooby J. & Cosmides L. (1990a) On the universality of human nature and the uniqueness of the individual: The role of genetics and adaptation. Journal of Personality 58:1768.
Tooby J. & Cosmides L. (1992) The psychological foundations of culture. In: The adapted mind: Evolutionary psychology and the generation of culture, ed. Barkow J., Cosmides L. & Tooby J., pp. 19136. Oxford University Press.
Tooby J. & Cosmides L. (1996) Friendship and the Banker's Paradox: Other pathways to the evolution of adaptations for altruism. In: Evolution of social behaviour patterns in primates and man. Proceedings of the British Academy, vol. 88, ed. Runciman W. G., Smith J. M. & Dunbar R. I. M., pp. 119–43. Oxford University Press.
Tooby J. & Cosmides L. (2008) The evolutionary psychology of the emotions and their relationship to internal regulatory variables. In: Handbook of emotions, 3rd edition, ed. Lewis M., Haviland-Jones J. M. & Barrett L. F., pp. 114–37. Guilford Press.
Tooby J., Cosmides L., Sell A., Lieberman D. & Sznycer D. (2008) Internal regulatory variables and the design of human motivation: A computational and evolutionary approach. In: Handbook of approach and avoidance motivation, ed. Elliott A., pp. 251–72. Erlbaum/Psychology Press.
Trivers R. L. (1971) The evolution of reciprocal altruism. Quarterly Review of Biology 46(1):3557.
Trivers R. L. (1974) Parent–offpspring conflict. American Zoologist 14:249–64.
Turkheimer E. & Waldron M. (2000) Nonshared environment: A theoretical, methodological, and quantitative review. Psychological Bulletin 126:78108.
Uniacke S. (2000) Why is revenge wrong? Journal of Value Inquiry 34:6169.
Van Lange P. A. M., Ouwerkerk J. & Tazelaar M. (2002) How to overcome the detrimental effects of noise in social interaction: The benefits of generosity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 82:768–80.
van Schaik C. P. & Aureli F. (2000) The natural history of valuable relationships in primates. In: Natural conflict resolution, ed. Aureli F. & de Waal F. B. M., pp. 307–33. University of California Press.
Vossekuil B., Fein R. A., Reddy M., Borum R. & Modzeleski W. (2002) The final report and findings of the Safe School Initiative: Implications for the prevention of school attacks in the United States. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program, and U.S. Secret Service, National Threat Assessment Center.
Walker J. & Halloran M. (2004) Rewards and sanctions and the provision of public goods in one-shot settings. Experimental Economics 7:235–47.
Watts D. P. (1995) Post-conflict social events in wild mountain gorillas (Mammalia, Hominoidea) I. Social interactions between opponents. Ethology 100:139–57.
Watts D. P. (2006) Conflict resolution in chimpanzees and the valuable-relationships hypothesis International Journal of Primatology 27:1337–64.
West S. A., Griffin A. S. & Gardner A. (2007) Social semantics: Altruism, cooperation, mutualism, strong reciprocity, and group selection. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 20:415–32.
West S. A., Mouden C. E. & Gardner A. (2011) Sixteen common misconceptions about the evolution of cooperation in humans. Evolution and Human Behavior 32:231–62.
Williams G. C. (1966) Adaptation and natural selection: A critique of some current evolutionary thought. Princeton University Press.
Wilson W. (1971) Reciprocation and other techniques for inducing cooperation. Journal of Conflict Resolution 15:167–96.
Worthington E. L. Jr. (2005) More questions about forgiveness: Research agenda for 2005–2015. In: Handbook of forgiveness, ed. Worthington E. L. Jr., pp. 557–73. Routledge.
Worthington E. L. Jr. & DiBlasio F. (1990) Promoting mutual forgiveness within the fractured relationship. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training 27:219–23.
Worthington E. L. Jr., Witvliet C. V. O., Pietrini P. & Miller A. J. (2007) Forgiveness, health, and well-being: A review of evidence for emotional versus decisional forgiveness, dispositional forgivingness, and reduced unforgiveness. Journal of Behavioral Medicine 30:291302.
Wu J. & Axelrod R. (1995) How to cope with noise in the iterated prisoner's dilemma. Journal of Conflict Resolution 39:183–89.
Wu J.-J., Zhang B.-Y., Zhou Z.-X., He Q.-Q., Zheng X.-D., Cressman R. & Tao Y. (2009) Costly punishment does not always increase cooperation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 106:17448–451.
Yamagishi T. (1986) The provision of a sanctioning system as a public good. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 51:110–16.
Yamagishi T. (1988) Seriousness of social dilemmas and the provision of a sanctioning system. Social Psychology Quarterly 51:3242.
Yamagishi T., Horita Y., Takagishi H., Shinada M., Tanida S. & Cook K. S. (2009) The private rejection of unfair offers and emotional commitment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 106:11520–23.
Zechmeister J. S., Garcia S., Romero C. & Vas S. N. (2004) Don't apologize unless you mean it: A laboratory investigation of forgiveness and retaliation. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 23:532–64.
Zillikens M. C., Yazdanpanah M., Pardo L. M., Rivadeneira F., Aulchenko Y. S., Oostra B. A., Uitterlinden A. G., Pols H. A. P. & van Duijn C. M. (2008) Sex-specific genetic effects influence variation in body composition. Diabetologia 51:2233–41.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • ISSN: 0140-525X
  • EISSN: 1469-1825
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioral-and-brain-sciences
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 55
Total number of PDF views: 284 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1623 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 21st November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.