Cooperation - Cooperation in People

Cooperation in People

Roots of human cooperation may be found in empathy. For example, when several infants are in a room, and one of them starts crying, others start crying too.

Language allows humans to cooperate on a very large scale. Certain studies have shown that fairness affects human cooperation; individuals are willing to punish at their own cost (altruistic punishment) if they believe that they are being treated unfairly. Sanfey, et al. conducted an experiment where 19 individuals were scanned using MRI while playing an Ultimatum Game in the role of the responder. They were receiving offers from other human partners and from a computer partner. Remarkably, responders refused unfair offers from human partners at a significantly higher rate than those by a computer partner. The experiment also showed that altruistic punishment is associated with negative emotions that are being generated in unfair situations by the anterior insula of the brain.

It has been observed that image scoring promotes cooperative behavior in situations where direct reciprocity is unlikely. In situations where reputation and status are involved, humans tend to cooperate more.

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