About Cooperation

The Social Maintenance of Cooperation through Hypocrisy

“Cooperation is widespread in human societies, but its maintenance at the group level remains puzzling if individuals benefit from not cooperating. Explanations of the maintenance of cooperation generally assume that cooperative and non-cooperative behavior in others can be assessed and copied accurately. However, humans have a well known capacity to deceive and thus to manipulate how others assess their behavior. Here, we show that hypocrisy – claiming to be acting cooperatively while acting selfishly – can maintain social cooperation because it prevents the spread of selfish behavior. We demonstrate this effect both theoretically and experimentally. Hypocrisy allows the cooperative strategy to spread by taking credit for the success of the non-cooperative strategy.”

A very inspiring paper,at the interface between game theory, social sciences and business practice, submitted to ArXiv by the group of Marcel Salathé (Penn State University). Based on previous observation showing that: “hypocritical behavior is indeed observed commonly in psychological studies, where it is argued that hypocrites benefit not only from reaping the rewards of selfish behavior, but also garner the social and selfrewards of being seen and seeing oneself as upstanding and moral“. Salathe’s paper supports the view that: “ hypocrisy can promote the maintenance of cooperation in the population: even if a hypocrite acts selfishly, hypocrisy masks the selfish behavior, preventing it from spreading“. Kind of enlightening and optimistic views for all activities involving building partnership, consortia, etc…

Hypo

 

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