Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Psychologists define personality types involved in group projects

21.01.2005


Whether it is barn-raising or crafting a business plan, humans are among the few creatures that are able to work well cooperatively. According to an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, our success at cooperation results from three distinct personality types.

"In any given group of people, youl find three kinds of people: Cooperators, Free Riders, and what we call Reciprocators. Cooperators do the most work and Free Riders do as little as possible, but most of us are Reciprocators. We hold back a bit to determine the chances of success before devoting our full energy to a project," said Robert Kurzban, an assistant professor in Penn’s Department of Psychology. "We found that these traits remained fairly stable among people, and you could reliably predict how a group might perform if you know the percentage of each type of person in that group."

Kurzban and Daniel Houser of George Mason University present their findings this week in the Online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers used a computer-based experiment to assess the range of cooperative behaviors among people. While they cannot offer a complete explanation of how these traits might have evolved, they point to reciprocity as an important motive in human societal behavior. According to Kurzban, it could also provide a simple lesson on the power of internal communications to managers and group leaders.



"Our findings show that the vast majority of people, about 63 percent, are Reciprocators, and in any group you are likely to have a substantial number of Reciprocators," Kurzban said. "The simplest way to make use of a Reciprocator potential is to keep everyone apprised with information about the successful contributions of others within the group. This way you show them that there is something to gain from their efforts."

More than 80 subjects participated in the experiment in which they were given 50 tokens that they could choose to keep or place in a group pool. Tokens placed in the group pool doubled in value and, at the end of the time period, were distributed equally among members. About 17 percent of the participants could be classified as Cooperators, taking the most risk almost immediately. Free Riders, who prefer not to cooperate, made up 20 percent. "Overall, these personality traits remained strong through different games no matter which combinations of people were used.

ranted, if people are stuck working with a bunch of Free Riders, even the most highly cooperative among them will tend to take the ’wait-and-see’ approach," Kurzban said.

Kurzban and Houser are now replicating their experiments to determine if distributions of cooperative types are similar across cultures. If those similarities are found, it might help clarify the origins of these distinct personality types.

The Russell Sage Foundation and the International Foundation for Research in Experimental Economics provided support for this research.

Greg Lester | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.upenn.edu

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Sibling differences: Later-borns choose less prestigious programs at university
14.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung

nachricht Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ
09.11.2017 | Vanderbilt University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Polymers Based on Boron?

18.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Bioengineered soft microfibers improve T-cell production

18.01.2018 | Life Sciences

World’s oldest known oxygen oasis discovered

18.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>