As a species, human survival depends on cooperation, which our ancestors developed by banding together in small, close-knit groups of individuals who thrived by reciprocating help over time. But this evolutionary recipe for success seems at odds with modern societies, composed of millions of individuals who are strangers to each other.
Prof. Gabriele Camera and his colleagues devised a series of economic experiments to examine whether money affects human behavior in ways that help explain this seeming paradox. To measure cooperation in groups of strangers, participants from a group of undergraduate test subjects faced repeated opportunities to aid anonymous counterparts, at a personal cost. The choice to give help was based solely on trust that the good deed would be returned by another stranger in the future. To facilitate this cooperative process, participants could observe the behavior of the entire group.
Larger groups cooperate less
With cooperation isolated in this manner, the researchers then varied the group size and found that trust and cooperation decreased as groups grew larger. In larger groups subjects gave in to their opportunistic temptations and so cooperation significantly declined. This trend changed when researchers introduced intrinsically worthless tokens to the group. The participants spontaneously began to reward help with a token and to demand one in exchange for help. The exchange of tokens facilitated cooperation among large groups of strangers because participants trusted strangers to return help for a token, in the future.
Different types of trust
The experiment thus demonstrates that the lack of trust among strangers made money behaviorally essential. The exchange of symbolic objects sustained cooperation because participants considered tokens a form of compensation for their good deeds. «What is fascinating is that the use of money bolsters cooperation by replacing one type of trust with another, stronger, self-sustaining type of trust», explains Camera.
This cooperative scheme, however, displaced norms of voluntary help, which were strong and effective in small groups. As a result, the use of money sustained stable cooperation as groups got larger, but did so at the cost of reducing cooperation in smaller groups. According to the authors, the findings demonstrate how the influence of monetary systems extends beyond economic performance.Original citation
• Prof. Dr. Gabriele Camera, Chapman University, Phone: +1 714 625 2806. E-mail: email@example.comWeitere Informationen:
Reto Caluori | Universität Basel
The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences