Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

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

Reciprocal Altruism and Cooperation for Mutual Benefit

  • Kirsten BohnEmail author
  • Gerald CarterEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_1207-1

Synonyms

Definition

Cooperation is a behavior that is adaptive because it provides a benefit to another individual. Reciprocal altruism, or reciprocity, is cooperation that is conditional on receiving help from the recipient.

Introduction

How can “helpful” traits evolve when natural selection rewards selfish replicators? Generally speaking, the answer is through mutual benefit. If genes for a cooperative or “nice” behavior reduced reproduction of the individuals bearing them, those genes would eventually disappear. Thus, for cooperative behaviors to exist, cooperative genes must persist through direct fitness benefits to the individual cooperators or through indirect fitness benefits via relatives of the cooperator who share copies of those genes. Given this, cooperative traits can be explained by asking the question: how does a cooperators genes benefit from its actions? Below is an outline of the ways in which benefits arise from...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Axelrod, R., & Hamilton, W. D. (1981). The evolution of cooperation. Science, 211(4489), 1390–1396.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bshary, R., & Bergmüller, R. (2008). Distinguishing four fundamental approaches to the evolution of helping. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 21(2), 405–420.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Carter, G. (2014). The reciprocity controversy. Animal Behavior and Cognition, 1, 368–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Davies, N. B., Krebs, J. R., & West, S. A. (2012). An introduction to behavioural ecology. West Sussex: Wiley.Google Scholar
  5. Hamilton, W. (1964). The genetical evolution of social behaviour. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 7, 1–51.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Kokko, H., Johnstone, R. A., & Clutton-Brock, T. (2001). The evolution of cooperative breeding through group augmentation. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 268(1463), 187–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Noë, R., & Hammerstein, P. (1994). Biological markets: supply and demand determine the effect of partner choice in cooperation, mutualism and mating. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 35(1), 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Noë, R., & Hammerstein, P. (1995). Biological markets. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 10(8), 336–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Nowak, M. A., & Sigmund, K. (1998). Evolution of indirect reciprocity by image scoring. Nature, 393(6685), 573–577.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Trivers, R. L. (1971). The evolution of reciprocal altruism. Quarterly Review of Biology, 46, 35–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. West, S. A., Griffin, A. S., & Gardner, A. (2007). Evolutionary explanations for cooperation. Current Biology, 17(16), R661–R672. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2007.06.004.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Wilkinson, G. S., Carter, G. G., Bohn, K. M., & Adams, D. M. (2016). Non-kin cooperation in bats. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 371(1687), 20150095.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Smithsonian Tropical Research InstitutePanama CityPanama