Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

The neuroeconomics of cooperation

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.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1.

    Rilling, J. K. et al. Neuron 35, 395–405 (2002).

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Fehr, E. & Camerer, C. F. Trends Cogn. Sci. 11, 419–427 (2007).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Park, S. Q. et al. Nat. Commun. 8, 15964 (2017).

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Declerck, C. H. & Boone, C. Neuroeconomics of Prosocial Behaviour: The Compassionate Egoist (Academic Press, San Diego, CA, 2016).

  5. 5.

    Emonds, G., Declerck, C. H., Boone, C., Vandervliet, E. & Parizel, P. M. J. Neurosci. Psychol. Econ. 4, 11–24 (2011).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Morishima, Y., Schunk, D., Bruhin, A., Ruff, C. C. & Fehr, E. Neuron 75, 73–79 (2012).

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Hein, G., Morishima, Y., Leiberg, S., Sul, S. & Fehr, E. Science 351, 1074–1078 (2016).

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Fermin, A. et al. Sci. Rep. 6, 20982 (2016).

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Peysakhovich, A. & Rand, D. G. Manag. Sci. 62, 631–647 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Gross, J., Emmerling, F., Vostroknutov, A. & Sack, A. T. Sci. Rep. 8, 1827 (2018).

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information




The authors contributed equally to this work

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Carolyn H. Declerck.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Declerck, C.H., Boone, C. The neuroeconomics of cooperation. Nat Hum Behav 2, 438–440 (2018).

Download citation

Further reading


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing