Strictly clinical perspectives on domestic abuse focus on the psychological wellbeing of the victim and the structural factors of victimization, resulting in several unresolved questions regarding the role of public intervention. Because public intervention is the main predictor for preventing future assaults, the practical aim of this study is to increase public intervention by drawing from evolutionary psychology to identify and explain the central factors that minimize intervention. Our data show that most people express significant ambivalence and make anomalous decisions when confronted with various forms of domestic violence. We analyse a number of significant factors that decrease intervention behaviours and show how they are consistent with evolutionary theories of revenge-avoidance behaviour and cognitive mechanisms designed to avoid revenge-seeking scenarios.

In: Forgiveness or Revenge? Restitution or Retribution?
In: Perspectives on Forgiveness
In: Perspectives on Forgiveness


Many human groups achieve high levels of trust and cooperation, but these achievements are vulnerable to exploitation. Several theorists have suggested that when groups impose costs on their members, these costs can function to limit freeriding, and hence promote trust and cooperation. While a substantial body of experimental research has demonstrated a positive relationship between costs and cooperation in religious groups, to date, this relationship has not held for secular groups. Here we extend this line of research by comparing trust and cooperation among 11 secular groups, including four U.S. Greek fraternities that impose high costs on their members. We find that although fraternities impose greater costs on their members than social clubs, fraternities and social clubs do not significantly differ in their levels of intra-group trust. Moreover, variation in costs does not explain variation in trust among fraternities. We suggest that the lack of an evident relationship between costs and trust in our results is because secular groups, unlike religious groups, lack repeated rituals that are coupled with supernatural ideologies. We conclude by suggesting possible avenues for future research.

In: Journal of Cognition and Culture