When Saying "Sorry" Isn't Enough: Is Some Suicidal Behavior a Costly Signal of Apology?

Human Nature Vol/Iss. 29(115) Springer Published In Pages: 1-25
By Syme, Kristen L., Hagen, Edward H.


Researchers coded 473 texts from 53 cultures on suicidal behavior in the Probability Sample Files looking for evidence to support a new theoretical framework called the Costly Apology Model (signaling "I am genuinely remorseful for my actions, and you can trust that I will not do it again," (7)) to explain suicidal behavior that occurs after someone violates one or more social norms. This is theorized to be distinct behavior from the Bargaining Model (signaling "My fitness is genuinely being threatened, and I need your support." (7)) which could explain suicidal behavior after someone suffers harm from another, and from the Inclusive Fitness Model, where suicide occurs as a fitness behavior when an individual cannot reproduce or has a high cost to the fitness of their kin. .

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