Building bridges can foster cooperation between uncooperative groups

Wednesday, November 7, 2018 - 19:00 in Psychology & Sociology

When it comes to cooperation, science has shown, not all social networks are created equal. While some have been shown to intrinsically lead to cooperation, other studies have suggested that certain structures not only lead to a breakdown in cooperation, they can produce outright spite. But even in those most extreme cases, Harvard researchers say, it still may be possible to come back from the brink. If those noncooperating communities can be loosely connected to each other or to larger social networks, it is possible for cooperation to emerge, according to a study co-authored by Babak Fotouhi, a postdoctoral fellow in mathematical biology, and Martin Nowak, professor of mathematics and of biology and director of the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics. The study is described in a paper published earlier this year in Nature Human Behavior. In addition to Fotouhi and Nowak, the study’s authors include MIT researcher Naghmeh Momeni and Benjamin Allen from Emmanuel...

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