Why Humans Cooperate: A Cultural and Evolutionary Explanation (Evolution and Cognition)
Joseph Henrich, Natalie Henrich
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Cooperation among humans is one of the keys to our great evolutionary success. Natalie and Joseph Henrich examine this phenomena with a unique fusion of theoretical work on the evolution of cooperation, ethnographic descriptions of social behavior, and a range of other experimental results. Their experimental and ethnographic data come from a small, insular group of middle-class Iraqi Christians called Chaldeans, living in metro Detroit, whom the Henrichs use as an example to show how kinship relations, ethnicity, and culturally transmitted traditions provide the key to explaining the evolution of cooperation over multiple generations.
without the markers. Both interviews and observations show a clear preference for interacting with coethnics in social and professional relationships. 4. In addition to this preferential interaction, we show that Chaldeans preferentially direct beneWts toward other Chaldeans. We also demonstrate that not only do Chaldeans cooperate with coethnics but also that this cooperation is closely linked with their ethnic identity. Here, we present three indices measuring strengths of cooperation and
for a loan, yielding a total of 82 answers.6 Of these 82 answers, only 10 were ‘‘the bank’’ (88 percent of answers were not formal lending institutions). Eight of these 10 ‘‘bank’’ answers were given Wrst. These 10 responses were removed in 96 Why Humans Cooperate constructing table 5.2 so that the table reXects only individuals to whom a person would go for a loan. Focusing only on people’s Wrst answers (the Wrst thing to come to mind), not only is the average r ¼ 0:40, but 16 of the 22
immigrant families well. When Chaldeans were recent arrivals in the United States, parents may have needed the extra income that the children brought in so that they could aVord to move from Detroit to the suburbs, buy cars, expand their stores, and so on. A 27-year-old man with ten siblings explained that his parents were already old when they brought his family to Detroit, so the grown children supported the family. He described the money and property of the immediate family as ‘‘all one
than a cooperator in a pair of cooperators—each receiving $1 (better than $0), with the group netting $2. If the game is played only once (no repeated interactions), and the players are anonymous (no reputations), a purely self-interested individual who understands the game will always defect. Interestingly, however, when one-shot anonymous games were implemented among university students, and among small-scale farmers in rural Chile, about 50 percent of players cooperate and 50 percent defect.
(without being asked) that she returns the help; she isn’t comfortable giving cash to the people who help her because she doesn’t have enough money to give them an amount that she feels is adequate, but she does buy them things she can aVord and helps them in other ways. Rita appeared to be announcing that she doesn’t free-ride and that she is a good person with whom to form a reciprocal relationship. As expected, this kind of close-knit reciprocity is not conWned to a single domain (people