Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Selection for Cooperative Relationships

  • Matthew J. Johnson
  • Stephen M. ColarelliEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_3494-1



Individuals (or groups) working together for a mutual benefit.


“Many of the benefits sought by living things are disproportionately available to cooperating groups” (Axelrod and Hamilton 1981, p. 1391)

Cooperationinvolves individuals (or groups) working together for a mutual benefit, often at an initial cost to each participant, although the benefits from cooperation ultimately outweigh the costs to individuals. Cooperation is associated (conceptually and empirically) with altruism – behavior in which an individual forgoes a benefit to assist another. Some degree of altruism is necessary (at least initially) for cooperation to occur. To cooperate, an individual must initially give up a benefit. Altruism becomes cooperation when two or more individuals join in giving up benefits for a common goal, which they typically perceive as greater than the cost of the benefits they gave up. Our...

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Central Michigan UniversityMount PleasantUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kevin Kniffin
    • 1
  1. 1.Cornell UniversityIthacaUSA