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People Are Intensely Loyal to Groups Which Abuse Newcomers. Why?

Christopher Kavanagh: Studies by Brock Bastian at the University of New South Wales in Australia and colleagues have recently demonstrated that individuals who experience painful events collectively (e.g., eating hot peppers, submerging hands in ice water) display stronger bonds and greater generosity to fellow group members than those who perform comparable painless tasks. From an evolutionary perspective, researchers have noted that enduring the physical or psychological effects of hazing could serve as a costly signal demonstrating an individual’s personal strengths, as well as the quality of the group that can motivate such acts.

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