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A friend in need is a friend indeed: Need-based sharing, rather than cooperative assortment, predicts experimental resource transfers among Agta hunter-gatherers

Smith, D; Dyble, M; Major, K; Page, AE; Chaudhary, N; Salali, GD; Thompson, J; ... Mace, R; + view all (2019) A friend in need is a friend indeed: Need-based sharing, rather than cooperative assortment, predicts experimental resource transfers among Agta hunter-gatherers. Evolution and Human Behavior , 40 (1) pp. 82-89. 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2018.08.004. Green open access

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Abstract

Despite much theorizing, the evolutionary reasons why humans cooperate extensively with unrelated individuals are still largely unknown. While reciprocity explains many instances of non-kin cooperation, much remains to be understood. A recent suite of models based upon ‘cooperative assortativity’ suggest that non-kin cooperation can evolve if individuals preferentially assort with certain cooperative phenotypes, such as helping those who help others. Here, we test these assortative hypotheses among the Agta, a population of Filipino hunter-gatherers, using an experimental resource allocation game in which individuals divide resources between themselves and camp-mates. Individuals preferentially shared with less cooperative individuals, arguing against cooperative assortativity as a mechanism sustaining resource transfers in this population. Rather, sharing was often based on the recipient's level of need, in addition to kin-based transfers and reciprocal sharing. Contrary to several recent theoretical accounts, in this real-world setting we find no evidence for cooperative assortativity influencing patterns of cooperation. These results may reflect the demands of living in a foraging ecology characterized by high resource stochasticity, necessitating need-based sharing as a system of long-term reciprocity to mitigate repeated subsistence shortfalls.

Type: Article
Title: A friend in need is a friend indeed: Need-based sharing, rather than cooperative assortment, predicts experimental resource transfers among Agta hunter-gatherers
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2018.08.004
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2018.08.0...
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10057092
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