Cooperation Commons: Interdisciplinary study of cooperation and collective action.
Why Is Reciprocity So Rare in Social Animals? A Protestant Appeal
Summary of: Why Is Reciprocity So Rare in Social Animals? A Protestant Appeal
Game theoretic explanations of the evolution of cooperation in humans and other animals relies on assumptions -- rational players should never cooperate, cooperative behavior is explained by direct or diffuse reciprocity, animals can do the mental bookkeeping necessary to reciprocate with multiple partners over time -- that are not always or often borne out by data, necessitating new conceptual tools.
Game theoretic explanations of cooperation involving tit-for-tat strategies and reciprocal altruism are not supported by a large body of evidence. Only a small number of animal examples have been found. Simple models of repeated games do not match the circumstances of evolutionary change. Partner switching and mobility counter the assumptions necessary for reciprocal altruism as a stable evolutionary mechanism. Reciprocity requires significant mental machinery â€“ how do organisms determine whether the actions of others are intentionally or unintentionally cooperative or uncooperative? Alternative conceptual schemas such as partner markets â€“ making it unprofitable for partners to switch â€“ offer alternative conceptual schemas. Emotions may play a role in mediating complex interactions in which intentionality and reputation play a part.
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