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Published June 26, 2012 | Published
Journal Article Open

Reply to van Hoorn: Converging lines of evidence


We agree with the comments by van Hoorn (1) on our critique (2): testing causal hypotheses about human behavior is a challenge (1, 3). Making progress requires specifying alternative hypotheses and then testing these hypotheses using diverse and converging lines of evidence. We have defended the hypothesis that social norms, which culturally coevolved with the institutions of large-scale societies including markets, influence economic decision-making. This hypothesis emerged from a larger set that we developed both at the outset of our project and as we went along. Our interdisciplinary team's initial list of hypotheses included the idea that experimental games might spark an innate reciprocity module that would yield little variation across populations.

Additional Information

© 2012 National Academy of Sciences. Published online before print June 18, 2012. Author contributions: J.H., R.B., R.M., M.G., J.E., and J.-C.C. designed research; J.H., R.M., M.G., J.E., M.A., A. Barr, H.C.B., A. Bolyanatz, J.-C.C., F.G.-W., E.L.G., N.H., K.H., C.L., J.Q.P., F.W.M., D.P.T., and J.Z. performed research; J.H., R.B., R.M., J.E., and A. Barr analyzed data; and J.H., R.B., R.M., M.G., P.J.R., J.E., A. Barr, C.F.C., E.F., and H.M.G. wrote the paper. The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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August 19, 2023
October 18, 2023