The Evolution of Cooperation

Dennis L. Krebs

in The Origins of Morality

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199778232
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897261 | DOI:
The Evolution of Cooperation

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This chapter reviews theory and research on the evolution of several forms of cooperation, including incidental helping, mutualism, sharing, turn-taking, direct reciprocity, and indirect reciprocity. Although game theorists have found that Tit for Tat reciprocity is a winning strategy in conducive contexts, evidence of reciprocity among social species other than humans is relatively rare. Kinder, gentler forms of reciprocity that enable players to correct their mistakes and that induce them to forgive those who have cheated them once produce greater gains than inflexible Tit for Tat strategies do. One of the keys to understanding how cooperative strategies have evolved is to recognize the significance of selective interaction. Evolutionary theorists have accounted the tendency for people to help their friends over long periods of time without any expectation of immediate return in terms of the value of upholding beneficial relationships, cultivating credit, and fostering long-term security.

Keywords: cooperation; mutualism; direct reciprocity; indirect reciprocity; game theory; tit for tat; selective interaction

Chapter.  9770 words. 

Subjects: Psychology

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