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Escritos de Psicología (Internet)

On-line version ISSN 1989-3809Print version ISSN 1138-2635


GOMEZ JACINTO, Luis. The egalitarian instinct. Escritos de Psicología [online]. 2017, vol.10, n.3, pp.190-198. ISSN 1989-3809.

The results of experiments using the ultimatum game reveal human behaviour incompatible with the concept of individuals interested in maximizing resources for their own survival. Humans seem to be concerned with equity and the welfare of others. These results have been replicated in participants who belong to small traditional communities of hunter-gatherers living in different continents. Other studies have used techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, or have studied the mirror neuron system, or have compared the behavior of chimpanzees with the behavior of children under 7 years old: the findings suggest the evolution of the human sense of equity and that this sense is responsible for creating the conditions for the reduction of inequality within the group and the emergence of empathy, egalitarian moral values, and aversion to inequality. Moreover, the study of economic inequality shows the association between inequality and worse health indicators (e.g. mental illness), social dysfunction (e.g. school dropout, teenage pregnancy, murder rates, crime), and risky behaviour (e.g., drug abuse). It is suggested that the sense of equality is embedded in human nature and that inequality is the worst enemy of human development. Thus, the promotion of increased equality must be a priority objective in psychosocial, political, and economic interventions.

Keywords : Egalitarian instinct; equitiy; inequaliy; social disfunction; risk behavior.

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