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Aversive medical treatments signal a need for support: a mathematical model
Centre for Culture and Evolution, Brunel University, London.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4455-6214
Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics. Stockholm University, Sweden. (MAM)
2019 (English)In: Evolutionary Human Sciences, E-ISSN 2513-843X, Vol. 1, p. 1-15, article id e4Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Ineffective, aversive and harmful medical treatments are common cross-culturally, historically and today. Using evolutionary game theory, we develop the following model to explain their persistence. Humans are often incapacitated by illness and injury, and are unusually dependent on care from others during convalescence. However, such caregiving is vulnerable to exploitation via illness deception, whereby people feign or exaggerate illness in order to gain access to care. Our model demonstrates that aversive treatments can counter-intuitively increase the range of conditions where caregiving is evolutionarily viable, because only individuals who stand to gain substantially from care will accept the treatment. Thus, contemporary and historical “ineffective” treatments may be solutions to the problem of allocating care to people whose true need is difficult to discern.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 1, p. 1-15, article id e4
National Category
Other Mathematics
Research subject
Mathematics/Applied Mathematics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-43858DOI: 10.1017/ehs.2019.2OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-43858DiVA, id: diva2:1322903
Funder
Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, 2015.0005Available from: 2019-06-11 Created: 2019-06-11 Last updated: 2019-09-23

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Publisher's full texthttps://doi.org/10.1017/ehs.2019.2

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Jansson, Fredrik

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