Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 509048
Title The early evolution of cooperation in humans : On cheating, group identity and group size
Author(s) Czárán, T.; Aanen, Duur K.
Source Behaviour 153 (2016)9-11. - ISSN 0005-7959 - p. 1247 - 1266.
Department(s) Laboratory of Genetics
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Keyword(s) allorecognition - Altruism - cooperation - cultural inheritance - human evolution - kin selection - levels of selection - reciprocal altruism

The evolution of cooperation is difficult to understand, because cheaters-individuals who profit without cooperating themselves-have a benefit in interaction with cooperators. Cooperation among humans is even more difficult to understand, because cooperation occurs in large groups, making cheating a bigger threat. Restricting cooperation to members of one's own group based on some tag-based recognition of non-group members (allorecognition) has been shown to stabilise cooperation. We address how spatial structure and group size affect the opportunities for cheating such tag-based cooperation in a spatially explicit simulation. We show that increased group diversity, under conditions of limited dispersal, reduces the selective opportunities for cheaters. A small number can already be sufficient to keep cheating at a low frequency. We discuss how marginal additional benefits of increased group size, above the benefits of local cooperation, can provide the selective pressure to reduce the number of group identities and discuss possible examples.

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