Focus on Cooperation

Latest Research

  • Letter |

    Shortly after retrieval, memory undergoes a labile period during which it can be modified. This study shows that this reconsolidation phase shows the same behavioural and neural characteristics as the initial learning phase.

    • Ji Won Bang
    • , Kazuhisa Shibata
    • , Sebastian M. Frank
    • , Edward G. Walsh
    • , Mark W. Greenlee
    • , Takeo Watanabe
    •  & Yuka Sasaki
  • Review Article |

    Fehr and Schurtenberger show that the prevailing evidence supports the view that social norms are causal drivers of human cooperation and explain major cooperation-related regularities. Norms also guide peer punishment and people have strong preferences for institutions that support norm formation.

    • Ernst Fehr
    •  & Ivo Schurtenberger
  • Letter |

    Experiments using economic games and hypothetical infectious disease scenarios show that uncertainty about a decision’s outcome reduces prosocial actions, but when the impact on others is made uncertain, prosociality increases.

    • Andreas Kappes
    • , Anne-Marie Nussberger
    • , Nadira S. Faber
    • , Guy Kahane
    • , Julian Savulescu
    •  & Molly J. Crockett
  • Letter |

    Through mathematical analysis, simulations and examples from real-world social networks, Fotouhi et al. demonstrate how establishing sparse interconnections between previously segregated, uncooperative societies can support the evolution of cooperation globally.

    • Babak Fotouhi
    • , Naghmeh Momeni
    • , Benjamin Allen
    •  & Martin A. Nowak
  • Letter |

    Analyses of twin and genomic data show a significant influence of genetic factors on the co-development of conduct and emotional problems from childhood to adolescence. Those with co-developing symptoms may represent a clinical subgroup with higher genetic risk.

    • Laurie J. Hannigan
    • , Jean-Baptiste Pingault
    • , Eva Krapohl
    • , Tom A. McAdams
    • , Frühling V. Rijsdijk
    •  & Thalia C. Eley
  • Letter |

    Category learning has been traditionally viewed as a high-level cognitive process independent of sensory systems. Rosedahl and colleagues demonstrate that procedural category learning is in fact dependent on low-level visual representations.

    • Luke A. Rosedahl
    • , Miguel P. Eckstein
    •  & F. Gregory Ashby

News & Comment

  • Comment |

    Although important steps have been taken to prevent publication of a disproportionate number of non-reproducible chance findings, null findings are usually still considered disappointing. There is every reason to change this perception, because lack of associations can teach us just as much as significant ones.

    • Albertine J. Oldehinkel
  • Comment |

    Through cooperation we are able to thrive, build societies, culture and technology. But history also reveals our potential for selfishness, spite and prejudice. Studying the neural processes that drive choice behaviour is essential to understand this paradox and develop means to curb greed and extend the limits of cooperation.

    • Carolyn H. Declerck
    •  & Christophe Boone
  • Comment |

    Some acts of human cooperation are not easily explained by traditional models of kinship or reciprocity. Fitness interdependence may provide a unifying conceptual framework, in which cooperation arises from the mutual dependence for survival or reproduction, as occurs among mates, risk-pooling partnerships and brothers-in-arms.

    • Athena Aktipis
    • , Lee Cronk
    • , Joe Alcock
    • , Jessica D. Ayers
    • , Cristina Baciu
    • , Daniel Balliet
    • , Amy M. Boddy
    • , Oliver Scott Curry
    • , Jaimie Arona Krems
    • , Andrés Muñoz
    • , Daniel Sullivan
    • , Daniel Sznycer
    • , Gerald S. Wilkinson
    •  & Pamela Winfrey
  • Comment |

    Many species face the problems of how, when and with whom to cooperate. Comparing responses across species can reveal the evolutionary trajectory of these decisions, including in humans. Using nearly identical economic game methods to compare species could identify the evolutionary constraints and catalysts to cooperation.

    • Sarah F. Brosnan

About the Journal

  • Nature Human Behaviour publishes research of outstanding significance into any aspect of human behaviour: its psychological, biological, and social bases, as well as its origins, development, and disorders. The journal aims to enhance the visibility of research into human behaviour, strengthening its societal reach and impact.
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  • Witchcraft beliefs are and have been widespread in human societies, but what impact do they have on social interactions and what cultural evolutionary function might they serve? Field experiments and network data show that the witchcraft label ‘Zhu’ influences labour-sharing and reproductive choices in a large network of southwest Chinese villages. Zhu is not an indicator of prosociality, but may function to spite or damage rivals.


Focus on Cooperation


Focus on Cooperation

Cooperation lies at the heart of human lives and society. Understanding how and when it succeeds and fails is key to solving global challenges. In this Focus issue, we pull together papers from across the journal's broad disciplinary scope to understand the state of knowledge on cooperation and highlight future research directions.

John Carson

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