Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Advisor/Committee Chair

Dylan Campbell

Committee Member

Brendan Gaesser


What motivates us to punish others? Individual differences dictate most of our behaviors, so our beliefs about fairness and retribution play into the type and degree of punishment we administer. Past work has highlighted the significant negative correlation between empathy and punishment, but a potentially stronger predictor of punishment behavior exists. This study pits empathic concern against negative norms about reciprocity to see which is a better predictor of punishment behavior in an economic goods game. We predicted that the negative reciprocity would be a better predictor of punishment than empathy, but ultimately found that empathy prevailed as the stronger predictor. The findings in this study raise questions about the implications of using individual difference measures to predict punishment behavior in other scenarios like jury settings.

Included in

Psychology Commons