Human coalitions frequently persist through multiple, overlapping membership generations,
requiring new members to cooperate and coordinate with veteran members. Does the mind
contain psychological adaptations for interacting within these intergenerational coalitions?
In this paper, we examine whether the mind spontaneously treats newcomers as a motivationally
privileged category. Newcomers—though capable of benefiting coalitions—may also impose
considerable costs (e.g., they may free ride on other members, they may be poor at
completing group tasks). In three experiments we show (1) that the mind categorizes
coalition members by tenure, including newcomers; (2) that tenure categorization persists
in the presence of orthogonal and salient social dimensions; and (3) that newcomers
elicit a pattern of impressions consistent with their probable ancestral costs. These
results provide preliminary evidence for a specialized component of human coalitional
psychology: an evolved concept of newcomer.