Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Ability and Willingness of Victim to Retaliate

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_1666-1



Action taken in return for an injury or offense.


The concept of retaliation has historically been defined from both a behavioral and functional aspect. At its core, retaliation is based upon the premise of inciting organisms to increase benefit while reducing cost to oneself (McCullough et al. 2013). If a target organism can emit the potential ideal for retaliation toward an aggressor organism (typically in the form of retaliation itself), the target organism may increase its chances of lifetime productivity and may continue to evolve due to this willingness to retaliate. In other words, by making the potential costs of harm too high for an aggressor (imminent retaliation), the target organism is more likely to survive by avoiding harm against oneself.

Definitions that have previously influenced academics in the conceptualization of retaliation have typically been defined from a functional prospective. The O...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Florida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kevin Beaver
    • 1
  1. 1.Florida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA