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Helping in humans and other animals: a fruitful interdisciplinary dialogue.

Bshary, R; Raihani, NJ; (2017) Helping in humans and other animals: a fruitful interdisciplinary dialogue. Proc Biol Sci , 284 (1863) , Article 20170929. 10.1098/rspb.2017.0929. Green open access

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Abstract

Humans are arguably unique in the extent and scale of cooperation with unrelated individuals. While pairwise interactions among non-relatives occur in some non-human species, there is scant evidence of the large-scale, often unconditional prosociality that characterizes human social behaviour. Consequently, one may ask whether research on cooperation in humans can offer general insights to researchers working on similar questions in non-human species, and whether research on humans should be published in biology journals. We contend that the answer to both of these questions is yes. Most importantly, social behaviour in humans and other species operates under the same evolutionary framework. Moreover, we highlight how an open dialogue between different fields can inspire studies on humans and non-human species, leading to novel approaches and insights. Biology journals should encourage these discussions rather than drawing artificial boundaries between disciplines. Shared current and future challenges are to study helping in ecologically relevant contexts in order to correctly interpret how payoff matrices translate into inclusive fitness, and to integrate mechanisms into the hitherto largely functional theory. We can and should study human cooperation within a comparative framework in order to gain a full understanding of the evolution of helping.

Type: Article
Title: Helping in humans and other animals: a fruitful interdisciplinary dialogue.
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.0929
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2017.0929
Language: English
Additional information: © 2017 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: Altruism, comparative approach, cooperation, game theory, helping, humans
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10025204
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