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The evolution of universal cooperation


Gross, Jörg; Méder, Zsombor Z; De Dreu, Carsten K W; Romano, Angelo; Molenmaker, Welmer E; Hoenig, Laura C (2023). The evolution of universal cooperation. Science Advances, 9(7):eadd8289.

Abstract

Humans work together in groups to tackle shared problems and contribute to local club goods that benefit other group members. Whereas benefits from club goods remain group bound, groups are often nested in overarching collectives that face shared problems like pandemics or climate change. Such challenges require individuals to cooperate across group boundaries, raising the question how cooperation can transcend beyond confined groups. Here, we show how frequent intergroup interactions allow groups to transition from group-bound to universal cooperation. With frequent intergroup interactions, reciprocity of cooperative acts permeates group boundaries and enables the evolution of universal cooperation. As soon as intergroup interactions take place frequently, people start to selectively reward cooperation aimed at benefitting everyone, irrespective of their group membership. Simulations further show that it becomes more difficult to overcome group-bound cooperation when populations are fragmented into many small groups. Our findings reveal important prerequisites for the evolution of universal cooperation. + Figures

Abstract

Humans work together in groups to tackle shared problems and contribute to local club goods that benefit other group members. Whereas benefits from club goods remain group bound, groups are often nested in overarching collectives that face shared problems like pandemics or climate change. Such challenges require individuals to cooperate across group boundaries, raising the question how cooperation can transcend beyond confined groups. Here, we show how frequent intergroup interactions allow groups to transition from group-bound to universal cooperation. With frequent intergroup interactions, reciprocity of cooperative acts permeates group boundaries and enables the evolution of universal cooperation. As soon as intergroup interactions take place frequently, people start to selectively reward cooperation aimed at benefitting everyone, irrespective of their group membership. Simulations further show that it becomes more difficult to overcome group-bound cooperation when populations are fragmented into many small groups. Our findings reveal important prerequisites for the evolution of universal cooperation. + Figures

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Multidisciplinary
Uncontrolled Keywords:Multidisciplinary
Language:English
Date:17 February 2023
Deposited On:28 Feb 2023 10:20
Last Modified:30 Mar 2024 02:34
Publisher:American Association for the Advancement of Science
ISSN:2375-2548
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.add8289
PubMed ID:36800427
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)