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« Kerr, originalism, and the right to counsel (Joe) | Main | Happy Thanksgiving...or Not (Sujatha) »

November 24, 2009


I'm curious about the oxytocin causing an increase in jealousy and envy. What possible evolutionary role could those emotions have played in a social context? It's evident enough that goodwill and bonding has a major role to play, but not so clear in the case of the negative emotions.

Any suggestions?

In some contexts jealousy could work with bonding. Relationships between couples who are having kids, for example. Envy could also cause people to work harder. You want to compete with people you envy, so if they have material goods that you don't (food, housing, etc.), you'll try that much more to one-up them... and eventually will start harvesting crops instead of counting on hunting down animals?

Ah, keeping up with the Joneses- the root of capitalism, I guess. You've solved the mystery, Joe.

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