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13:00 - 14:00 6 February 2018

Experimental Psychology Seminar - "Cooperation in large-scale human societies — What, if anything, makes it unique, and how did it evolve?"


Room 305 (link Map)
26 Bedford Way | London | United Kingdom

Open to: Academic | Student

Speaker: Simon T. Powers, School of Computing, Edinburgh Napier University

There is much controversy about whether the cooperation underlying the functioning of human societies is explained by self-interest. Confusion over this has frustrated the understanding of how large-scale societies could ever have arisen and been maintained. To clarify this situation, I will present a conceptual framework showing that two factors need to be disentangled and resolved. First, how small- and large-scale societies differ in cooperation needs to be ascertained. Second, whether the decision-making mechanisms used by individuals are incentive-driven and/or domain-general needs to be determined. I will use this framework to review the literature on cooperation across societal scales and decision-making mechanisms. This then allows us to delineate between the cultural group selection and the institutional-path hypotheses for explaining the origin of large-scale cooperative societies.


Antonietta Esposito
Please email | a.esposito@ucl.ac.uk


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