From a theoretical perspective, individuals are expected to sacrifice their welfare only when the benefits outweigh the costs. In nature, however, the costs of altruism and spite can be extreme, as in cases of irreversible sterility and self-destructive weaponry. Here we show that “extraordinary” self-sacrifice—in which actors pay costs that exceed the benefits they give or the costs they impose on recipients—can evolve in structured populations, where social actions bring secondary benefits to neighboring kin. When given information about dispersal, sedentary actors evolve extraordinary altruism towards dispersing kin. Likewise, when given information about dispersal and kinship, sedentary actors evolve extraordinary spite towards sedentary nonkin. Our results can thus be summed up by a simple rule: extraordinary self-sacrifice evolves when the actor’s neighbors are close kin and the recipient’s neighbors are not.
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
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Mathematics and Statistics
D. B. Krupp and Wes Maciejewski. "The evolution of extraordinary self-sacrifice" Scientific Reports (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-04192-w