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Lecture 27: Human Cooperation


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Is cooperation based on kinship common or uncommon in the animal kingdom?
common. Cooperation with non-kin is less common.
What's interesting about humans and cooperation?
Humans regularly cooperate and trust non-kin members, and many groups rely on this non-kin cooperation.
Two or more individuals cooperating with each other are better off than individuals who do not cooperate, but what are the downfalls of cooperation?
systems of cooperation are vulnerable to invsion by "free-riders" who take the benefits of cooperation without paying the costs.
Thus, what should be true about altruism?
it should be selective: mutual cooperation requires the ability to detect and avoid or punish free-riders.
Explain the idea of direct reciprocity
1) Individuals return aid to those that aided them in past
2)learn to stop helping non-cooperators so non-cooperators don't receive benefits of extended mutual cooperation
3)people are less willing to accept help if they feel they will not be able to repay
Explain the idea of indirect reciprocity.
1) altruistic acts reciprocated by individuals other than the recipient
2)Each individual gets a good reputation for cooperating and only help other people with good reputations
3) Cooperators do well and free-riders are excluded from benefit
(people are more likely to help those who have aided others--could underlie human morality)
What is a public good?
something that people can altruistically expend time and effort to provide for their group (it's then available for all in the group even if they didnt contribute)
What's the dominant strategy in group cooperation and why?
contributing nothing becuase non-contributors benefit at the expense of those who provide the public good.
Why can't reciprocity solve this problem?
b/c altruistic acts cannot be targeted toward specific individuals, only the group
What usually happens in Public Goods Games (PGGs)?
people usually contribute at first but cooperation falls with repeated play
What's the way cooperation can be maintained
if people can selectively punish non-cooperators

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