Navigation Links
We're in this together: A pathbreaking investigation into the evolution of cooperative behavior
Date:11/19/2012

Humans are much more inclined to cooperate than are their closest evolutionary relatives. The prevailing wisdom about why this is true has long been focused on the idea of altruism: we go out of our way to do nice things for other people, sometimes even sacrificing personal success for the good of others. Modern theories of cooperative behavior suggest that acting selflessly in the moment provides a selective advantage to the altruist in the form of some kind of return benefit.

A new study published by Current Anthropology offers another explanation for our unusual aptitude for collaboration. The authors of the study argue that humans developed cooperative skills because it was in their mutual interest to work well with othersindeed ecological circumstances forced them to cooperate with others to obtain food. In other words, altruism isn't the reason we cooperate; we must cooperate in order to survive, and we are altruistic to others because we need them.

Previous theories located the origin of cooperation in either small group settings or large, sophisticated societies. Based on results from cognitive and psychological experiments and research on human development, this study provides a comprehensive account of the evolution of cooperation as a two-step process, which begins in small hunter-gatherer groups and becomes more complex and culturally inscribed in larger societies later on.

The authors premise their theory of mutualistic cooperation on the principle of interdependence. They speculate that at some point in our evolution, it became necessary for humans to forage together, which meant that each individual had a direct stake in the welfare of his partners. In this context of interdependence, humans evolved special cooperative abilities that other apes do not possess, including dividing the spoils fairly, communicating goals and strategies, and understanding one's role in the joint activity as equivalent to another's. Good partnerswho were able to coordinate well with their fellow foragers and would pull their weight in the groupwere more likely to succeed.

As societies grew in size and complexity, their members became even more dependent on one another. In what the authors of this study define as a second evolutionary step, these collaborative skills and impulses were developed on a larger scale as humans faced competition from other groups. People became more "group-minded," identifying with others in their society even if they did not know them personally. This new sense of belonging brought about cultural conventions, norms, and institutions that incentivized and structured feelings of social responsibility.


'/>"/>
Contact: Dr. Michael Tomasello
tomasello@eva.mpg.de
University of Chicago Press Journals
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Heart-powered pacemaker could one day eliminate battery-replacement surgery
2. How old are these rocks, how were they made, and how long ago did these geologic changes happen?
3. They were what they ate
4. Dinosaurs were warm-blooded reptiles
5. A millimeter-scale, wirelessly powered cardiac device
6. Laser-powered needle promises pain-free injections
7. Newly demonstrated capabilities of low-powered nanotweezers may benefit cellular-level studies
8. Humans were already recycling 13,000 years ago
9. Were dinosaurs destined to be big? Testing Copes rule
10. Medical devices powered by the ear itself
11. These bots were made for walking: Cells power biological machines
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/18/2016)... Calif. , Jan. 18, 2016  Extenua ... software that simplifies the use and access of ... and go-to-market partnership with American Cyber.  ... brings extensive experience leading transformational C4ISR and Cyber ... and integrating the latest proven technology solutions," said ...
(Date:1/13/2016)... 2016 http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/7h6hnn/india_biometrics ... the  "India Biometrics Authentication & Identification ...  report to their offering.  ... the addition of the  "India Biometrics ... & Forecast (2015-2020)"  report to ...
(Date:1/8/2016)... Kingdom , Jan. 8, 2016   Bruin Biometrics, ... today announced the closing of a $9 million financing. The ... the financing will be used to accelerate the commercialization of ... early-stage pressure ulcers. United Kingdom ... Mark approval. The device,s introduction has been met with enthusiasm ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... 2016  Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: NBIX ) today announced ... 2015. --> --> For ... of $29.3 million, or $0.34 loss per share, compared to a ... the same period in 2014. For the year ended December 31, ... $1.05 loss per share, as compared to a net loss of ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016  Wellcentive today ... Portland, Oregon -based community care ... provide population health analytics, quality reporting and care ... FamilyCare strengthen its team of quality managers, analysts ... to the provider groups serving FamilyCare members. ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... York (PRWEB) , ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... instruments for more than 150 years, continues today to pursue the highest level ... line of analytical instruments: the AR9 Refractometer and the AR5 Refractometer. Accurate, ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... , Feb. 10, 2016  The Maryland House of ... has announced that University of Maryland School of Medicine ... and University of Maryland Medical System President and CEO ... "Speaker,s Medallion," the highest honor given to the public ... Dean Reece and Mr. Chrencik for ...
Breaking Biology Technology: