Re: poly: Showing That You Care: The Evolution of Health Altruism

From: <>
Date: Mon May 03 1999 - 17:38:33 PDT

[Sorry about previous truncated message]

I ran into a comprehension problem on the second page:

: In particular, we explore the evolutionarily-plausible assumptions that
: our ancestors
: 1. cared more about their social allies, especially those with more
: and better allies,
: 2. suffered more crises when they had few allies (i.e., were of low
: status), crises being events which divert energies from investing
: in health,
: 3. were unsure about who would remain a long-time ally, and some
: often knew things others did not about the chances of remaining allies.
: These assumptions imply many things. For example, a person B considering
: how much to invest in health would weigh both the chance that he would
: end up with many allies (high status), and the chance he would end up
: with few allies (low status). By assumption 2, the better he thought
: his chance of ending with many allies, the more sense it would make to
: invest in health. He might invest via self-care, reduced risk-behaviors,
: or a reduced stress response.

Why does assumption 2 imply this? If he ends up with many allies, he
will have fewer crises, hence at that time he will be able to invest more
in health. While if he ends up with few allies, he will be less able at
that time to invest in health. This would seem to suggest that he should
invest now to compensate for his later opportunities to invest in health.
If he will later have more opportunities to invest, he can get away with
investing less now. If he will later have few opportunities to invest,
he must invest more now to compensate.

This would lead to the opposite conclusion, that if he expects to end
up with many allies he would invest less now since he will be able to
invest more later, and vice versa.

Received on Mon May 3 17:40:32 1999

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