Advancing Evolutionary and Cultural Perspectives on Interdependence and Cooperation

  • Date: Nov 19, 2018
  • Time: 16:00
  • Speaker: Daniel Balliet
  • University of Amsterdam
  • Location: MPI
  • Room: Basement
Humans have lived intensely social lives for thousands of generations, just as they do now. All social interactions are characterized by various degrees of interdependence, and even though variation in interdependence is key to understanding variation in human behavior, little is known about how people detect and respond to the nature of interdependence in a given interaction. I will briefly discuss Functional Interdependence Theory (FIT) perspective on how people make interdependent inferences and its relevance to understanding cooperation (Balliet, Tybur, & Van Lange, 2017). I will discuss an instrument we developed to measure how people think about their interdependence in social interactions (Gerpott, Balliet, Columbus, Molho, & de Vries, 2018), and how we applied this measure in combination with experience sampling to understand the common forms of interdependence humans face in daily life and how this relates to cooperation (Molho, Columbus, Righetti, & Balliet, 2018). I will end by forwarding a program of research that leverages this theory, measure and method to advance our understanding about (a) how cross-societal variation in institutions can be understood by historical differences across social ecologies in human interdependence (e.g., different methods of subsistence farming; rice vs. wheat vs. herding) and (b) the implications this has for cross-societal variation in cooperation.
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