Norm of reciprocity

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The norm of reciprocity requires that we repay in kind what another has done for us. It can be understood as the expectation that people will respond favorably to each other by returning benefits for benefits, and responding with either indifference or hostility to harms. The social norm of reciprocity often takes different forms in different areas of social life, or in different societies. All of them, however, are distinct from related ideas such as gratitude, the Golden Rule, or mutual goodwill. See reciprocity for an analysis of the concepts involved. The norm of reciprocity mirrors the concept of reciprocal altruism in evolutionary biology. However, evolutionary theory and therefore sociobiology was not well received by mainstream psychologists. This led to the revitalisation of reciprocal altruism underneath the new social psychological concept, norm of reciprocity.