Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

State-Sanctioned Punishment as Substitute for Tribal Vengeance

  • Quésia F. CataldoEmail author
  • Damião S. de Almeida Segundo
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_2835-1



State punishment is an administrative system of punishments that mediate conflicts between aggressors and victims and replaced the previous sanction of tribal revenge.


Revenge is considered a taboo in modern societies, but blood revenge is one of the most commonly cited causes of violence and warfare in tribal societies (Chagnon 1988). Evolutionary psychology considers that revenge could be transmitted by primary mechanisms and by cultural transmission, assuming that revenge is a built-in feature of human nature (McCullough 2008).

The definition of revenge is similar to biologists’ definition of punishment. Clutton-Brock and Parker (1995) define punishment as a costly imposition of costs that results in delayed benefits for the punisher. McCullough et al. (2013) claimed that revenge is defined when the imposition of costs at a cost is only is a response to an imposition of harm or a benefit-withholding that was caused...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Quésia F. Cataldo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Damião S. de Almeida Segundo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversidade Federal do CearáFortalezaBrazil

Section editors and affiliations

  • Guilherme S. Lopes
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyOakland UniversityRochesterUSA