This abstract of an article in the journal Nature relates to the concept of disfellowshipping, or shunning, in my opinion.
Now we know why Witnesses tend to cooperate. (Damned if you don't!!!)
Altruistic punishment in humans
ERNST FEHR* AND SIMON GÄCHTER†
* University of Zürich, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics, Blümlisalpstrasse 10, CH-8006 Zürich, Switzerland
† University of St Gallen, FEW-HSG, Varnbüelstrasse 14, CH-9000 St Gallen, Switzerland
Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to E.F. (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Human cooperation is an evolutionary puzzle. Unlike other creatures, people frequently cooperate with genetically unrelated strangers, often in large groups, with people they will never meet again, and when reputation gains are small or absent. These patterns of cooperation cannot be explained by the nepotistic motives associated with the evolutionary theory of kin selection and the selfish motives associated with signalling theory or the theory of reciprocal altruism. Here we show experimentally that the altruistic punishment of defectors is a key motive for the explanation of cooperation. Altruistic punishment means that individuals punish, although the punishment is costly for them and yields no material gain. We show that cooperation flourishes if altruistic punishment is possible, and breaks down if it is ruled out. The evidence indicates that negative emotions towards defectors are the proximate mechanism behind altruistic punishment. These results suggest that future study of the evolution of human cooperation should include a strong focus on explaining altruistic punishment.
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Edmund Burke