Research CommentariesGAME THEORY

Give and Ye Shall Be Recognized

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Science  26 Jun 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5372, pp. 2070-2071
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5372.2070b

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Game theory attempts to dissect the rules by which humans interact. In his commentary, Wedekind discusses some new results in a recent paper in Nature that suggest that some acts of altruism may not be so altruistic after all. A donation to a street musician or a beggar may actually be an act of self-interest, if the giving can be observed by others and increases the donor's social status.