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Data from: Human punishment is not primarily motivated by inequality


Marczyk, Jesse (2015), Data from: Human punishment is not primarily motivated by inequality, Dryad, Dataset,


Previous theorizing about punishment has suggested that humans desire to punish inequality per se. However, the research supporting such an interpretation contains important methodological confounds. The main objective of the current experiment was to remove those confounds in order to test whether generating inequality per se is punished. Participants were recruited from an online market to take part in a wealth-alteration game with an ostensible second player. The participants were given an option to deduct from the other player’s payment as punishment for their behavior during the game. The results suggest that human punishment does not appear to be motivated by inequality per se, as inequality that was generated without inflicting costs on others was not reliably punished. Instead, punishment seems to respond primarily to the infliction of costs, with inequality only becoming relevant as a secondary input for punishment decisions. The theoretical significance of this finding is discussed in the context of its possible adaptive value.

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