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The psychological foundations of reputation-based cooperation

Manrique, HM; Zeidler, H; Roberts, G; Barclay, P; Walker, M; Samu, F; Farina, A; ... Raihani, N; + view all (2021) The psychological foundations of reputation-based cooperation. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences , 376 (1838) , Article 20200287. 10.1098/rstb.2020.0287. Green open access

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Abstract

Humans care about having a positive reputation, which may prompt them to help in scenarios where the return benefits are not obvious. Various game-theoretical models support the hypothesis that concern for reputation may stabilize cooperation beyond kin, pairs or small groups. However, such models are not explicit about the underlying psychological mechanisms that support reputation-based cooperation. These models therefore cannot account for the apparent rarity of reputation-based cooperation in other species. Here, we identify the cognitive mechanisms that may support reputation-based cooperation in the absence of language. We argue that a large working memory enhances the ability to delay gratification, to understand others' mental states (which allows for perspective-taking and attribution of intentions) and to create and follow norms, which are key building blocks for increasingly complex reputation-based cooperation. We review the existing evidence for the appearance of these processes during human ontogeny as well as their presence in non-human apes and other vertebrates. Based on this review, we predict that most non-human species are cognitively constrained to show only simple forms of reputation-based cooperation. This article is part of the theme issue ‘The language of cooperation: reputation and honest signalling’.

Type: Article
Title: The psychological foundations of reputation-based cooperation
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2020.0287
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2020.0287
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 > 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: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10137360
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