“Brothers” in Arms: Does Metaphorizing Kinship Increase Approval of Parochial Altruism?

In: Journal of Cognition and Culture

Parochial altruism is manifested in the most violent of conflicts. Although it makes evolutionary sense for kin, many non-kin groups also behave parochially altruistically in response to threat from out-groups. It is possible that such non-kin groups share a sense of “fictive” kinship which encourages them to behave parochially altruistically for each other’s benefit. Our findings show that individuals not directly involved in a conflict approved of parochial altruism enacted by an in-group against an out-group more when the out-group posed a threat to the in-group; however, this effect was greater when the in-group members expressed fictive kinship by addressing each other using kinship metaphors such as “brothers.” Furthermore, although males approved of parochial altruism more than females, as the male warrior hypothesis would suggest, the effects of threat and kinship metaphor on approval of parochial altruism applied to both genders. These findings were replicated in an honour (Lebanon) and non-honour (Australia) culture.

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