Forgiveness as an evolved mechanism of mental adaptation to serve human survival. An evolutionary approach to individual differences in forgiveness behavior in humans.
(2013) Forgiveness as an evolved mechanism of mental adaptation to serve human survival. An evolutionary approach to individual differences in forgiveness behavior in humans., no. 58.
Human pro-social behaviour has its roots in altruistic processes. Cosmides and Tooby (1992) propose that humans may have an innate module which serves to detect cheating behaviour, which according to Trivers (1971) may be a mechanism that supports the evolution of reciprocal altruism. In the current study a total of 274 participants were recruited, out of which 32.1% had donated to religious charitable organisations in the last year; 67.2 % had not donated and 0.7% refused to report any donations. Donators were significantly more forgiving than non-donators on the wide spectrum of forgiveness behaviour investigated. The study also revealed gender differences in extrinsic forgiveness. Moreover, factors such as closeness to the transgressor, severity of the transgression, gender, and religious commitment, were shown to significantly influence forgiveness behaviour. Although an innate module for pro-social altruistic behaviour may exist, the current study provides evidence that religiosity strongly influences forgiving behaviour. Hence, religious group formation might have had a significant role in the development of altruistic behaviours towards genetically unrelated others and consequently help human survival.