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Vengeance is sweet

Even chimpanzees and six-year-old infants want to punish antisocial behaviour

Living together in communities requires mutual cooperation. To achieve this, we punish others when they are uncooperative. Until now, it has been unclear as to when we develop the impulse to penalise this behaviour — and whether this is an exclusively human feature. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig discovered that even six-year-old children feel the need to reprimand antisocial behaviour, and that they are willing to take risks and make an effort to be present when the ‘guilty’ one is punished.

© Sven Doering