ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2014, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (1): 160-170.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2014.00160

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The Forms and Functions of Punishment in Public-goods Dilemmas

CHEN Xin;ZHAO GuoXiang;YE HaoSheng   

  1. (1 College of Education and Science, Institute of Psychology &Behavior, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, China) (2 Center for Mind and Brain, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, China)
  • Received:2013-05-13 Online:2014-01-15 Published:2014-01-15
  • Contact: YE HaoSheng


Study on manipulation of punishments in public-goods dilemmas demonstrates that punishment on free-riders can maintain the cooperation behavior among the community. Previous researchers found that the building up of social cooperation norms benefit from the punishment system, in which costly punishment, altruism punishment and third party punishment, etc., provide reasonable explanations to indirect reciprocal. Recent empirical researches illustrate some new forms of punishment, such as selfish punishment and antisocial punishment. However, it was presumed in these researches that revenge from punished free-riders will prevent cooperators to punish them anymore, which would decrease or even dispel cooperation behavior. The necessity of the existence and the value of punishment have been validated by justness theory, moral sentiment model, and culture-gene co-evolutionary model, however, framing effect still exists in the function of punishment. The positive and negative effect of punishment should be further explored by introducing some mediating variables, such as altruism, trust, reputation, culture, and reputation, etc., which could also provide new vision to psychological mechanism of cooperation.

Key words: public-goods dilemmas, free-riders, punishment, cooperation