This is just a collection of some quick links with comments, mostly for possible perusal by a specific journalist I have in mind.
UCSB prof Cosmides wrote a number of papers very early in her career about the Wason Selection Task and cognitive adaptations for social exchange, back in the mid to late 1980s. She is one of the main founders of the field of evolutionary psychology. A 44 page chapter pdf that she and her husband (and a co-founder of ev psych) John Tooby wrote in 2005 is here...
Also in 2005 there was a very large cross-cultural study (almost specifically excluding UCSB people it seems) by a lot of the top names from various fields related to social exchange. Many of these people in the last four years or so have gone on to become much more associated with ev psych, and a few to become quite antagonistic to it. So in many ways it's a paper "built by a committee" so to speak. Most of the 64 pages in the pdf linked to below is "open peer commentary". I also point out that the lead author, Henrich, seems to be the same person interviewed in the recent articles about the recent study where he appears to have been saying that markets are purely a result of culture having nothing to do with genes.
(Looking through the contributors I'm actually quite impressed all over again at the stature of the people writing in the 64 pages. Even Vernon Smith who is now a Nobel Prize winner in economics.)
(Sorry I don't have a lot of time to spend on this right now-- trying to finish writing a book on autism, along with participating in a course on evolutionary medicine, etcetera. Also, I feel a compulsion to apologize for suggesting such long papers. I remind myself that often the most interesting issues are more complex than normal human intuition comfortably allows and so long papers are justifiable.)
For a general listing of the works on social exchange (mostly be people associated with UCSB) you could try searching on the word "exchange" at...