Teamwork pp 33-55 | Cite as

Cognitive Cooperation: When the Going Gets Tough, Think as a Group

  • David Sloan Wilson
  • John J. Timmel
  • Ralph R. Miller


Cooperation is found throughout the animal kingdom and is especially common in our own species. For cooperation to evolve, there must first be a task that requires the coordinated action of more than one individual. Then it must be possible to solve the problems of cheating that often accompany coordinated action. Sometimes there is little incentive to cheat because cooperation produces large benefits for everyone at trivial individual cost. At other times cooperation is more costly and evolves only in groups where genetic relatedness is high or social control mechanisms are in place. Social insect colonies are one pinnacle of cooperation in the animal kingdom. Human social groups are another pinnacle, although the evolutionary pathways were not necessarily the same in the two cases (Sober and Wilson, 1998).


Social Insect Evolutionary Perspective Evolutionary Psychology Nominal Group Group Cognition 
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Copyright information

© David Sloan Wilson, John J. Timmel and Ralph R. Miller 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Sloan Wilson
  • John J. Timmel
  • Ralph R. Miller

There are no affiliations available

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