Textbooks on evolutionary psychology and biology cite the case of the Sharifian Emperor of Morocco, Moulay Ismael the Bloodthirsty (1672–1727) who was supposed to have sired 888 children. This example for male reproduction has been challenged and led to a still unresolved discussion. The scientific debate is shaped by assumptions about reproductive constraints which cannot be tested directly—and the figures used are sometimes arbitrary. Therefore we developed a computer simulation which tests how many copulations per day were necessary to reach the reported reproductive outcome. We based our calculations on a report dating 1704, thus computing whether it was possible to have 600 sons in a reproductive timespan of 32 years. The algorithm is based on three different models of conception and different social and biological constraints. In the first model we used a random mating pool with unrestricted access to females. In the second model we used a restricted harem pool. The results indicate that Moulay Ismael could have achieved this high reproductive success. A comparison of the three conception models highlights the necessity to consider female sexual habits when assessing fertility across the cycle. We also show that the harem size needed is far smaller than the reported numbers.
Why do people help strangers when there is a low probability that help will be directly reciprocated or socially rewarded? A possible explanation is that these acts are contagious: those who receive or observe help from a stranger become more likely to help others. We test two mechanisms for the social contagion of generosity among strangers: generalized reciprocity (a recipient of generosity is more likely to pay it forward) and third-party influence (an observer of generous behavior is more likely to emulate it). We use an online experiment with randomized trials to test the two hypothesized mechanisms and their interaction by manipulating the extent to which participants receive and observe help. Results show that receiving help can increase the willingness to be generous towards others, but observing help can have the opposite effect, especially among those who have not received help. These results suggest that observing widespread generosity may attenuate the belief that one’s own efforts are needed.
Recent findings have documented a negative relation of basal endogenous cortisol and aggression after a provocation (i.e., reactive aggression) in humans. We build on these findings and investigated the relation of endogenous cortisol and reactive aggression in a social dilemma situation, that is, costly punishment of individuals who did not appropriately contribute to a common group project. Specifically, we predicted that basal cortisol is negatively related to costly punishment of uncooperative individuals. In the present study, basal cortisol was assessed prior to a public goods game with the option to punish other group members. In line with previous research on reactive aggression and basal cortisol, we found that basal cortisol was indeed negatively related to costly punishment. The findings are important for understanding costly punishment because this tendency has been documented as a possible basis for the evolution of cooperation.
Simulators are commonly used to train complex tasks. In particular, simulators are applied to train dangerous tasks, to save costs, and to investigate the impact of different factors on task performance. However, in most cases, the transfer of simulator training to the real task has not been investigated. Without a proof for successful skill transfer, simulators might not be helpful at all or even counter-productive for learning the real task. In this paper, the skill transfer of complex technical aspects trained on a scull rowing simulator to sculling on water was investigated. We assume if a simulator provides high fidelity rendering of the interactions with the environment even without augmented feedback, training on such a realistic simulator would allow similar skill gains as training in the real environment. These learned skills were expected to transfer to the real environment. Two groups of four recreational rowers participated. One group trained on water, the other group trained on a simulator. Within two weeks, both groups performed four training sessions with the same licensed rowing trainer. The development in performance was assessed by quantitative biomechanical performance measures and by a qualitative video evaluation of an independent, blinded trainer. In general, both groups could improve their performance on water. The used biomechanical measures seem to allow only a limited insight into the rowers' development, while the independent trainer could also rate the rowers' overall impression. The simulator quality and naturalism was confirmed by the participants in a questionnaire. In conclusion, realistic simulator training fostered skill gains to a similar extent as training in the real environment and enabled skill transfer to the real environment. In combination with augmented feedback, simulator training can be further exploited to foster motor learning even to a higher extent, which is subject to future work.
An efficient algorithm that can properly identify the targets to immunize or quarantine for preventing an epidemic in a population without knowing the global structural information is of obvious importance. Typically, a population is characterized by its community structure and the heterogeneity in the weak ties among nodes bridging over communities. We propose and study an effective algorithm that searches for bridge hubs, which are bridge nodes with a larger number of weak ties, as immunizing targets based on the idea of referencing to an expanding friendship circle as a self-avoiding walk proceeds. Applying the algorithm to simulated networks and empirical networks constructed from social network data of five US universities, we show that the algorithm is more effective than other existing local algorithms for a given immunization coverage, with a reduced final epidemic ratio, lower peak prevalence and fewer nodes that need to be visited before identifying the target nodes. The effectiveness stems from the breaking up of community networks by successful searches on target nodes with more weak ties. The effectiveness remains robust even when errors exist in the structure of the networks.
To account for the widespread human tendency to cooperate in one-shot social dilemmas, some theorists have proposed that cooperators can be reliably detected based on ethological displays that are difficult to fake. Experimental findings have supported the view that cooperators can be distinguished from defectors based on “thin slices” of behavior, but the relevant cues have remained elusive, and the role of the judge's perspective remains unclear. In this study, we followed triadic conversations among unacquainted same-sex college students with unannounced dyadic one-shot prisoner's dilemmas, and asked participants to guess the PD decisions made toward them and among the other two participants. Two other sets of participants guessed the PD decisions after viewing videotape of the conversations, either with foreknowledge (informed), or without foreknowledge (naïve), of the post-conversation PD. Only naïve video viewers approached better-than-chance prediction accuracy, and they were significantly accurate at predicting the PD decisions of only opposite-sexed conversation participants. Four ethological displays recently proposed to cue defection in one-shot social dilemmas (arms crossed, lean back, hand touch, and face touch) failed to predict either actual defection or guesses of defection by any category of observer. Our results cast doubt on the role of “greenbeard” signals in the evolution of human prosociality, although they suggest that eavesdropping may be more informative about others' cooperative propensities than direct interaction.
When compared with more traditional instructional methods, Game-based e-learning (GbEl) promises a higher motivation of learners by presenting contents in an interactive, rule-based and competitive way. Most recent systematic reviews and meta-analysis of studies on Game-based learning and GbEl in the medical professions have shown limited effects of these instructional methods.
To compare the effectiveness on the learning outcome of a Game-based e-learning (GbEl) instruction with a conventional script-based instruction in the teaching of phase contrast microscopy urinalysis under routine training conditions of undergraduate medical students.
A randomized controlled trial was conducted with 145 medical students in their third year of training in the Department of Urology at the University Medical Center Freiburg, Germany. 82 subjects where allocated for training with an educational adventure-game (GbEl group) and 69 subjects for conventional training with a written script-based approach (script group). Learning outcome was measured with a 34 item single choice test. Students' attitudes were collected by a questionnaire regarding fun with the training, motivation to continue the training and self-assessment of acquired knowledge.
The students in the GbEl group achieved significantly better results in the cognitive knowledge test than the students in the script group: the mean score was 28.6 for the GbEl group and 26.0 for the script group of a total of 34.0 points with a Cohen's d effect size of 0.71 (ITT analysis). Attitudes towards the recent learning experience were significantly more positive with GbEl. Students reported to have more fun while learning with the game when compared to the script-based approach.
Game-based e-learning is more effective than a script-based approach for the training of urinalysis in regard to cognitive learning outcome and has a high positive motivational impact on learning. Game-based e-learning can be used as an effective teaching method for self-instruction.
Although the name-letter-effect has been demonstrated reliably in choice contexts, recent research has called into question the existence of the name-letter-effect–the tendency among people to make choices that bear remarkable similarity with the letters in their own name. In this paper, we propose a connection between the name-letter-effect and interpersonal, group-level behavior that has not been previously captured in the literature. Specifically, we suggest that sharing initials with other group members promotes positive feelings toward those group members that in turn affect group outcomes. Using both field and laboratory studies, we found that sharing initials with group members cause groups to perform better by demonstrating greater performance, collective efficacy, adaptive conflict, and accuracy (on a hidden-profile task). Although many studies have investigated the effects of member similarity on various outcomes, our research demonstrates how minimal a degree of similarity among members is sufficient to influence quality of group outcomes.
Social influence is the process by which individuals adapt their opinion, revise their beliefs, or change their behavior as a result of social interactions with other people. In our strongly interconnected society, social influence plays a prominent role in many self-organized phenomena such as herding in cultural markets, the spread of ideas and innovations, and the amplification of fears during epidemics. Yet, the mechanisms of opinion formation remain poorly understood, and existing physics-based models lack systematic empirical validation. Here, we report two controlled experiments showing how participants answering factual questions revise their initial judgments after being exposed to the opinion and confidence level of others. Based on the observation of 59 experimental subjects exposed to peer-opinion for 15 different items, we draw an influence map that describes the strength of peer influence during interactions. A simple process model derived from our observations demonstrates how opinions in a group of interacting people can converge or split over repeated interactions. In particular, we identify two major attractors of opinion: (i) the expert effect, induced by the presence of a highly confident individual in the group, and (ii) the majority effect, caused by the presence of a critical mass of laypeople sharing similar opinions. Additional simulations reveal the existence of a tipping point at which one attractor will dominate over the other, driving collective opinion in a given direction. These findings have implications for understanding the mechanisms of public opinion formation and managing conflicting situations in which self-confident and better informed minorities challenge the views of a large uninformed majority.
Participation in interpersonal competitions, such as fencing or Japanese martial arts, requires players to make instantaneous decisions and execute appropriate motor behaviors in response to various situations. Such actions can be understood as complex phenomena emerging from simple principles. We examined the intentional switching dynamics associated with continuous movement during interpersonal competition in terms of their emergence from a simple syntax. Linear functions on return maps identified two attractors as well as the transitions between them. The effects of skill differences were evident in the second- and third-order state-transition diagrams for these two attractors. Our results suggest that abrupt switching between attractors is related to the diverse continuous movements resulting from quick responses to sudden changes in the environment. This abrupt-switching-quick-response behavior is characterized by a joint action syntax. The resulting hybrid dynamical system is composed of a higher module with discrete dynamics and a lower module with continuous dynamics. Our results suggest that intelligent human behavior and robust autonomy in real-life scenarios are based on this hybrid dynamical system, which connects interpersonal coordination and competition.
Social dilemmas are situations in which collective interests are at odds with private interests: pollution, depletion of natural resources, and intergroup conflicts, are at their core social dilemmas. Because of their multidisciplinarity and their importance, social dilemmas have been studied by economists, biologists, psychologists, sociologists, and political scientists. These studies typically explain tendency to cooperation by dividing people in proself and prosocial types, or appealing to forms of external control or, in iterated social dilemmas, to long-term strategies. But recent experiments have shown that cooperation is possible even in one-shot social dilemmas without forms of external control and the rate of cooperation typically depends on the payoffs. This makes impossible a predictive division between proself and prosocial people and proves that people have attitude to cooperation by nature. The key innovation of this article is in fact to postulate that humans have attitude to cooperation by nature and consequently they do not act a priori as single agents, as assumed by standard economic models, but they forecast how a social dilemma would evolve if they formed coalitions and then they act according to their most optimistic forecast. Formalizing this idea we propose the first predictive model of human cooperation able to organize a number of different experimental findings that are not explained by the standard model. We show also that the model makes satisfactorily accurate quantitative predictions of population average behavior in one-shot social dilemmas.
Use of socially generated “big data” to access information about collective states of the minds in human societies has become a new paradigm in the emerging field of computational social science. A natural application of this would be the prediction of the society's reaction to a new product in the sense of popularity and adoption rate. However, bridging the gap between “real time monitoring” and “early predicting” remains a big challenge. Here we report on an endeavor to build a minimalistic predictive model for the financial success of movies based on collective activity data of online users. We show that the popularity of a movie can be predicted much before its release by measuring and analyzing the activity level of editors and viewers of the corresponding entry to the movie in Wikipedia, the well-known online encyclopedia.
Recent research has identified interactions between networks as crucial for the outcome of evolutionary games taking place on them. While the consensus is that interdependence does promote cooperation by means of organizational complexity and enhanced reciprocity that is out of reach on isolated networks, we here address the question just how much interdependence there should be. Intuitively, one might assume the more the better. However, we show that in fact only an intermediate density of sufficiently strong interactions between networks warrants an optimal resolution of social dilemmas. This is due to an intricate interplay between the heterogeneity that causes an asymmetric strategy flow because of the additional links between the networks, and the independent formation of cooperative patterns on each individual network. Presented results are robust to variations of the strategy updating rule, the topology of interdependent networks, and the governing social dilemma, thus suggesting a high degree of universality.
Psychopathic personality traits are linked with selfish and non-cooperative responses during economical decision making games. However, the possibility that these responses may vary when responding to members of the in-group and the out-group has not yet been explored. We aimed to examine the effects of primary (selfish, uncaring) and secondary (impulsive, irresponsible) psychopathic personality traits on the responses of non-offending participants to the in-group and the out-group (defined in terms of affiliation to a UK University) across a series of economical decision making games. We asked a total of 60 participants to act as the proposer in both the dictator game and the ultimatum game. We found that across both tasks, those who scored highly for secondary psychopathic traits showed an elevated intergroup bias, making more generous offers toward members of the in-group relative to the out-group. An exaggerated intergroup bias may therefore represent a motivational factor for the antisocial behavior of those with elevated secondary psychopathic traits.
Two general models for paradigm shifts, deterministic propagation model (DM) and stochastic propagation model (SM), are proposed to describe paradigm shifts and the adoption of new technological levels. By defining the order parameter based on the diversity of ideas, , it is studied when and how the phase transition or the disappearance of a dominant paradigm occurs as a cost in DM or an innovation probability in SM increases. In addition, we also investigate how the propagation processes affect the transition nature. From analytical calculations and numerical simulations is shown to satisfy the scaling relation for DM with the number of agents . In contrast, in SM scales as .
Previous research has shown that the matching of rhythmic behaviour between individuals (synchrony) increases cooperation. Such synchrony is most noticeable in music, dance and collective rituals. As well as the matching of behaviour, such collective performances typically involve shared intentionality: performers actively collaborate to produce joint actions. Over three experiments we examined the importance of shared intentionality in promoting cooperation from group synchrony. Experiment 1 compared a condition in which group synchrony was produced through shared intentionality to conditions in which synchrony or asynchrony were created as a by-product of hearing the same or different rhythmic beats. We found that synchrony combined with shared intentionality produced the greatest level of cooperation. To examinef the importance of synchrony when shared intentionality is present, Experiment 2 compared a condition in which participants deliberately worked together to produce synchrony with a condition in which participants deliberately worked together to produce asynchrony. We found that synchrony combined with shared intentionality produced the greatest level of cooperation. Experiment 3 manipulated both the presence of synchrony and shared intentionality and found significantly greater cooperation with synchrony and shared intentionality combined. Path analysis supported a reinforcement of cooperation model according to which perceiving synchrony when there is a shared goal to produce synchrony provides immediate feedback for successful cooperation so reinforcing the group’s cooperative tendencies. The reinforcement of cooperation model helps to explain the evolutionary conservation of traditional music and dance performances, and furthermore suggests that the collectivist values of such cultures may be an essential part of the mechanisms by which synchrony galvanises cooperative behaviours.
The Tea Party movement, which rose to prominence in the United States after the election of President Barack Obama, provides an ideal context in which to examine the roles of racial concerns and ideology in politics. A three-wave longitudinal study tracked changes in White Americans’ self-identification with the Tea Party, racial concerns (prejudice and racial identification), and ideologies (libertarianism and social conservatism) over nine months. Latent Growth Modeling (LGM) was used to evaluate potential causal relationships between Tea Party identification and these factors. Across time points, racial prejudice was indirectly associated with movement identification through Whites’ assertions of national decline. Although initial levels of White identity did not predict change in Tea Party identification, initial levels of Tea Party identification predicted increases in White identity over the study period. Across the three assessments, support for the Tea Party fell among libertarians, but rose among social conservatives. Results are discussed in terms of legitimation theories of prejudice, the “racializing” power of political judgments, and the ideological dynamics of the Tea Party.
The Voynich manuscript has remained so far as a mystery for linguists and cryptologists. While the text written on medieval parchment -using an unknown script system- shows basic statistical patterns that bear resemblance to those from real languages, there are features that suggested to some researches that the manuscript was a forgery intended as a hoax. Here we analyse the long-range structure of the manuscript using methods from information theory. We show that the Voynich manuscript presents a complex organization in the distribution of words that is compatible with those found in real language sequences. We are also able to extract some of the most significant semantic word-networks in the text. These results together with some previously known statistical features of the Voynich manuscript, give support to the presence of a genuine message inside the book.
Punishment may deter antisocial behavior. Yet to punish is costly, and the costs often do not offset the gains that are due to elevated levels of cooperation. However, the effectiveness of punishment depends not only on how costly it is, but also on the circumstances defining the social dilemma. Using the snowdrift game as the basis, we have conducted a series of economic experiments to determine whether severe punishment is more effective than mild punishment. We have observed that severe punishment is not necessarily more effective, even if the cost of punishment is identical in both cases. The benefits of severe punishment become evident only under extremely adverse conditions, when to cooperate is highly improbable in the absence of sanctions. If cooperation is likely, mild punishment is not less effective and leads to higher average payoffs, and is thus the much preferred alternative. Presented results suggest that the positive effects of punishment stem not only from imposed fines, but may also have a psychological background. Small fines can do wonders in motivating us to chose cooperation over defection, but without the paralyzing effect that may be brought about by large fines. The later should be utilized only when absolutely necessary.
Single-particle tracking (SPT) is widely used to study processes from membrane receptor organization to the dynamics of RNAs in living cells. While single-dye labeling strategies have the benefit of being minimally invasive, this comes at the expense of data quality; typically a data set of short trajectories is obtained and analyzed by means of the mean square displacements (MSD) or the distribution of the particles’ displacements in a set time interval (jump distance, JD). To evaluate the applicability of both approaches, a quantitative comparison of both methods under typically encountered experimental conditions is necessary. Here we use Monte Carlo simulations to systematically compare the accuracy of diffusion coefficients (D-values) obtained for three cases: one population of diffusing species, two populations with different D-values, and a population switching between two D-values. For the first case we find that the MSD gives more or equally accurate results than the JD analysis (relative errors of D-values <6%). If two diffusing species are present or a particle undergoes a motion change, the JD analysis successfully distinguishes both species (relative error <5%). Finally we apply the JD analysis to investigate the motion of endogenous LPS receptors in live macrophages before and after treatment with methyl-β-cyclodextrin and latrunculin B.
Zimbabwean villagers of distinct background have resettled in government-organized land reforms for more than three decades. Against this backdrop, I assess the level of social cohesion in some of the newly established communities by estimating the average preferences for fairness in a structural model of bounded rationality. The estimations are based on behavioral data from an ultimatum game field experiment played by 234 randomly selected households in 6 traditional and 14 resettled villages almost two decades after resettlement. Equal or higher degrees of fairness are estimated in all resettlement schemes. In one, or arguably two, out of three distinct resettlement schemes studied, the resettled villagers exhibit significantly higher degrees of fairness ( ) and rationality ( ) than those who live in traditional villages. Overall, villagers appear similarly rational, but the attitude toward fairness is significantly stronger in resettled communities ( ). These findings are consistent with the idea of an increased need for cooperation required in recommencement.
Darwinian selection should preclude cooperation from evolving; yet cooperation is widespread among organisms. We show how kin selection and reciprocal altruism can promote cooperation in diverse 2×2 matrix games (prisoner’s dilemma, snowdrift, and hawk-dove). We visualize kin selection as non-random interactions with like-strategies interacting more than by chance. Reciprocal altruism emerges from iterated games where players have some likelihood of knowing the identity of other players. This perspective allows us to combine kin selection and reciprocal altruism into a general matrix game model. Both mechanisms operating together should influence the evolution of cooperation. In the absence of kin selection, reciprocal altruism may be an evolutionarily stable strategy but is unable to invade a population of non-co-operators. Similarly, it may take a high degree of relatedness to permit cooperation to supplant non-cooperation. Together, a little bit of reciprocal altruism can, however, greatly reduce the threshold at which kin selection promotes cooperation, and vice-versa. To properly frame applications and tests of cooperation, empiricists should consider kin selection and reciprocal altruism together rather than as alternatives, and they should be applied to a broader class of social dilemmas than just the prisoner’s dilemma.
Cooperation is necessary in many types of human joint activity and relations. Evidence suggests that cooperation has direct and indirect benefits for the cooperators. Given how beneficial cooperation is overall, it seems relevant to investigate the various ways of enhancing individuals' willingness to invest in cooperative endeavors. We studied whether ascription of a transparent collective goal in a joint action promotes cooperation in a group.
A total of 48 participants were assigned in teams of 4 individuals to either a “transparent goal-ascription” or an “opaque goal-ascription” condition. After the manipulation, the participants played an anonymous public goods game with another member of their team. We measured the willingness of participants to cooperate and their expectations about the other player's contribution.
Between subjects analyses showed that transparent goal ascription impacts participants' likelihood to cooperate with each other in the future, thereby greatly increasing the benefits from social interactions. Further analysis showed that this could be explained with a change in expectations about the partner's behavior and by an emotional alignment of the participants.
The study found that a transparent goal ascription is associated with an increase of cooperation. We propose several high-level mechanisms that could explain the observed effect: general affect modulation, trust, expectation and perception of collective efficacy.
Suicide explains the largest number of death tolls among Japanese adolescents in their twenties and thirties. Suicide is also a major cause of death for adolescents in many other countries. Although social isolation has been implicated to influence the tendency to suicidal behavior, the impact of social isolation on suicide in the context of explicit social networks of individuals is scarcely explored. To address this question, we examined a large data set obtained from a social networking service dominant in Japan. The social network is composed of a set of friendship ties between pairs of users created by mutual endorsement. We carried out the logistic regression to identify users’ characteristics, both related and unrelated to social networks, which contribute to suicide ideation. We defined suicide ideation of a user as the membership to at least one active user-defined community related to suicide. We found that the number of communities to which a user belongs to, the intransitivity (i.e., paucity of triangles including the user), and the fraction of suicidal neighbors in the social network, contributed the most to suicide ideation in this order. Other characteristics including the age and gender contributed little to suicide ideation. We also found qualitatively the same results for depressive symptoms.
Within the animal kingdom, human cooperation represents an outlier. As such, there has been great interest across a number of fields in identifying the factors that support the complex and flexible variety of cooperation that is uniquely human. The ability to identify and preferentially interact with better social partners (partner choice) is proposed to be a major factor in maintaining costly cooperation between individuals. Here we show that the ability to engage in flexible and effective partner choice behavior can be traced back to early childhood. Specifically, across two studies, we demonstrate that by 3 years of age, children identify effective communication as “helpful” (Experiments 1 & 2), reward good communicators with information (Experiment 1), and selectively reciprocate communication with diverse cooperative acts (Experiment 2). Taken together, these results suggest that even in early childhood, humans take advantage of cooperative benefits, while mitigating free-rider risks, through appropriate partner choice behavior.