Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientific study reveals that individuals cooperate according to their emotional state and their prior experiences

Date:
July 4, 2012
Source:
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid - Oficina de Información Científica
Summary:
When deciding whether to cooperate with others, people do not act thinking of their own reward, as had been previously believed, but rather individuals are more influenced by their own mood at the time and by the number of individuals with whom they have cooperated before.

A study by researchers at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and Universidad de Zaragoza has determined that when deciding whether to cooperate with others, people do not act thinking about their own reward, as had been previously believed, but rather individuals are more influenced by their own mood at the time and by the number of individuals with whom they have cooperated before.

In addition to previous studies, this research is also based on an experiment carried out by the Institute for Biocomputation and Physics of Complex Systems (BIFI) at the Universidad de Zaragoza, together with the Fundación Ibercivis and Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M), the largest study of its kind to date in real time regarding cooperation in society. It was carried out during this past December, with 1,200 Aragon secondary students participating, who interacted electronically in real time via a social conflict prototype known as the "Prisoner's Dilemma." This game shows that the greatest benefit for individuals who interact is produced when both of them collaborate, but if one collaborates and the other does not, the latter will receive more benefits than the one who cooperates. On occasion, this allows an individual to take advantage of the cooperation of others, but if this tendency is extended, in the end, no one cooperates and as such, nobody obtains rewards.

After analyzing the information, the main conclusion drawn by the researchers is that in a situation where cooperating with others is beneficial, the way the individuals involved are organized into one social structure or another is irrelevant. A first analysis contradicts what many researchers have held based on theoretical studies.

In the experiment, the degree of cooperation in a network in which each subject interacts with four other individuals is compared to a network in which the number of connections vary between 2 and 16, that is, one that is more similar to a social network. What has been observed is that the results in the two networks are identical. "This happens because, contrary to what has been proposed in the majority of studies, people do not make their decisions based on the rewards obtained (by them or by their neighbors), but rather based on how many people have recently cooperated with them, as well as on their own mood at the time," the researchers explained.

These results help understand how people make decisions, above all in the context in which one has to decide between collaborating with or taking advantage of others. "Understanding why we do one thing or another can help in designing incentives that induce people to cooperate," the authors of the research pointed out. On the other hand, the fact that the networks are not important has implications, for organizational design, for example. The experiment revealed that people are not going to cooperate more because of being organized in a certain way. In this respect, it can be inferred that we do not have to be concerned with the design of organizational structure, but rather with motivating people individually to cooperate.

Ruling out that network organization influences in the cooperation of people, and having discovered that what is important is reciprocity, that is, cooperating according to cooperation received, will radically change the focus of a significant number of researchers who are developing theories on the emergence of cooperation among individuals.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Universidad Carlos III de Madrid - Oficina de Información Científica. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid - Oficina de Información Científica. "Scientific study reveals that individuals cooperate according to their emotional state and their prior experiences." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120704124059.htm>.
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid - Oficina de Información Científica. (2012, July 4). Scientific study reveals that individuals cooperate according to their emotional state and their prior experiences. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120704124059.htm
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid - Oficina de Información Científica. "Scientific study reveals that individuals cooperate according to their emotional state and their prior experiences." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120704124059.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins