Do Altruists Detect Altruists Easier Than Non–Altruists?

  • Takuya Naganawa Nagoya Institute of Technology
  • Shinsaku Yamauchi Okinawa University
  • Noriko Yamagata Nagoya Institute of Technology
  • Akiko Matsumoto–Oda Okinawa University
  • Ryo Oda Nagoya Institute of Technology
Keywords: altruism, green beard effect, altruist detection, prosocial behavior


Previous studies indicated that humans have a cognitive architecture for detecting altruism in others based on non–verbal cues. According to the perspective of ‘green beard effect’, green beard gene should produce recognition of the green beard in other individuals, which predicts that altruists can detect altruists easier than non–altruists. In a game situation in which perceivers respond to videotaped altruists and non–altruists, we measured the altruism of perceivers and examined the relationship between degree of altruism and ability to identify altruists. We found no significant relationship between the accuracy with which altruism levels were detected and the altruism level of perceivers.