Tag Archives: cooperation

Cooperation emerges when groups are small and memories are long

The tragedy of the commons, a concept described by ecologist Garrett Hardin, paints a grim view of human nature. The theory goes that, if a resource is shared, individuals will act in their own self-interest, but against the interest of … Continue reading

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To build a Cooperative Society, is it better to punish or reward?

One of the basic components of a functional, cooperative society is a code of law, where the laws are usually enforced by some kind of incentive. Social incentives can either be positive (rewards) or negative (punishments), and a society must … Continue reading

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Why We Cooperate

Drop something in front of a two-year-old, and she’s likely to pick it up for you. This is not a learned behavior, psychologist Michael Tomasello argues. Through observations of young children in experiments he himself has designed, Tomasello shows that … Continue reading

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Camp stability predicts patterns of Hunter-gatherer Cooperation

Reciprocal food-sharing is more prevalent in stable hunter-gatherer camps, shows new UCL research that sheds light on the evolutionary roots of human cooperation. The research explores patterns of food-sharing among the Agta, a population of Filipino hunter-gatherers. It finds that … Continue reading

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Anthropology on Individualism or Altruism

Christopher Boehm has been studying the interplay between the desires of an individual and that of the larger group for more than 40 years. He has conducted fieldwork with both human and nonhuman primates and has published more than 60 … Continue reading

Posted in Altruism, Anthropology, Cooperation, Hunter-gatherer, Individualism, Moral, Selfishness, Sharing | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Costly rejection of Wrongdoers by Infants and Children

How unappealing are individuals who behave badly towards others? We show here that children and even infants, although motivated by material rewards, are nonetheless willing to incur costs to avoid “doing business” with a wrongdoer. When given the choice to … Continue reading

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Darwin Day Revelation: Evolution, Not Religion, is the Source of Morality

There you have it: the elemental fear that belief in evolution will cause morality to collapse. That fear is predicated on a powerful assumption: that morality comes to us from God via religion. This is false. It is demonstrably false. … Continue reading

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Wired for Culture: The Natural History of Human Cooperation

What explains the staggering diversity of cultures in the world? Why are there so many languages, even within small areas? Why do we rejoice in rituals and wrap ourselves in flags? In Wired for Culture Mark Pagel, the world’s leading … Continue reading

Posted in Cooperation, Cultural development, Cultural differences, Cultural diversity, Culture, Human evolution, Human intelligence | Tagged , , , , , ,

Fairness Expectations and Altruistic Sharing in 15-Month-Old Infants

Human cooperation is a key driving force behind the evolutionary success of our hominin lineage. At the proximate level, biologists and social scientists have identified other-regarding preferences – such as fairness based on egalitarian motives, and altruism – as likely … Continue reading

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21-Month-Olds Understand the Cooperative Logic of Requests

Human communication rests on a basic assumption of partner cooperativeness, including even requesting. In the current study, an adult made an ambiguous request for an object to 21-month-old infants, with one potential referent being right in front of her and … Continue reading

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