Konishi & Ohtsubo (2015)

Konishi, N.(小西直喜) & Ohtsubo, Y.(大坪庸介) (2015).
Does dishonesty really invite third-party punishment? Results of a more stringent test.
Biology Letters, 11(5).
doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2015.0172
Many experiments have demonstrated that people are willing to incur cost to punish norm violators even when they are not directly harmed by the violation. Such altruistic third-party punishment is often considered an evolutionary underpinning of large-scale human cooperation. However, some scholars argue that previously demonstrated altruistic third-party punishment against fairness-norm violations may be an experimental artefact. For example, envy-driven retaliatory behaviour (i.e. spite) towards better-off unfair game players may be misidentified as altruistic punishment. Indeed, a recent experiment demonstrated that participants ceased to inflict third-party punishment against an unfair player once a series of key methodological problems were systematically controlled for. Noticing that a previous finding regarding apparently altruistic third-party punishment against honesty-norm violations may have been subject to methodological issues, we used a different and what we consider to be a more sound design to evaluate these findings. Third-party punishment against dishonest players withstood this more stringent test.