Re: [evol-psych] The Hierarchical Drive
- On Thu, 1 Feb 2007, Robert Karl Stonjek wrote:
> What do people do with sudden windfalls of cash from lottery wins? Is givingI also wondered about lottery winners and the extent to which
> away some of that cash not generous because it is surplus to their needs?
they redistributed their new-found wealth outside of family. I found two
sources with specific information about charitable contributions by
lottery winners. Eckland and van der Lippe (Norwegian lottery winners:
Cautious realists, Journal of Gambling Studies, 1994, Springer) surveyed
261 winners, with 15% responding that they had given part of it to charity.
Kaplan (Lottery winners: The myth and reality, Journal of Gambling Studies,
1987, Springer) contacted 576 American winners, with 10% reporting
charitable contributions. Most of these were to their churches, which may
suggest that they were more interested in securing their favored position in
the hereafter than economic equanimity. A further study by Green, et al. of
873 American winners (Estimating the effects of an exogenous shock to personal
income: A Study of lottery winners, Paper presented to the Midwest Political
Science Assn, Indiana, 2003), found that the greater the winnings, the
more likely it was that the person would list his/her political affiliation
as Republican and the more negative would be his/her attitude toward
governmental efforts to redistribute the wealth.
I rest my case.
Irwin Silverman, Ph.D.
Emeritus Professor of Psychology
4700 Keele Street
Toronto ON M3J 1P3
ph - 416-736-5115 x66213
fax - 416-736-5814
On Mon, 5 Feb 2007, Rick O'Gorman wrote:
> > I appreciate Sober and Wilson's work, but there was never a
> > connection between egotistic or any other kind of intent in the biological
> > definition of altruism. The concept of an egalitarian drive, however,
> > does imply a goal, just like sex drive or hunger drive, and I was
> > contesting whether egalitarianism could be the intended goal when lottery
> > winners who do contribute to charity make their largest contributions to the
> > church. It seemed more likely to me that these individuals were hedging
> > their bets on the hereafter by greasing the big guy.
> > Cheers
> I understand--but that doesn't escape the point that *why* you think you
> do something and the biological benefit don't have to match. Most people
> think of parental giving to their children as an act of love, not of
> selfish genes. Being susceptible to a belief that by giving to one's
> church or community it'll gain you rewards in the afterlife is
> altruistic biologically...
No disagreement, of course, on the divergence of proximate and
ultimate causes, nor on the rationalization that often attends perceived
proximate causes. In fact, I do not believe that most people who give
to their church maintain the conscious belief that they are doing so to
gain a better place in the hereafter. I would surmise that they attribute
it to their social consciences.
My main point remains, however. Given the infinitesimal sums most
people give to non-kin, relative to the giver's assets, I am hesitant
to attribute it to an "egalitarian drive", although that may be the belief
widely held. I would regard it instead as a 'guilty tickle'. I do not
have a well developed idea about the ultimate causation of guilty tickles,
but I would stay with Freud in that they are probably based on primal
anxieties of some kind.