Social Dilemmas: Understanding Human Cooperation

ISBN : 9780199897612

Paul Van Lange; Daniel P. Balliet; Craig D. Parks; Mark van Vugt
208 ページ
163 x 240 mm

One of the key scientific challenges is the puzzle of human cooperation. Why do people cooperate? Why do people help strangers, even sometimes at a major cost to themselves? Why do people want to punish people who violate norms and undermine collective interests? This book is inspired by the fact that social dilemmas, defined in terms of conflicts between (often short-term) self-interest and (often longer-term) collective interest, are omnipresent. The book centers on two major themes. The first theme centers on the theoretical understanding of human cooperation: are people indeed other-regarding? The second theme is more practical, and perhaps normative: how can cooperation be promoted? This question is at the heart of the functioning of relationships, organizations, as well as the society as a whole. In capturing the breadth and relevance of social dilemmas and psychology of human cooperation, this book is structured in three parts. The first part focuses on the definition of social dilemmas, along with the historical development of scientific theorizing of human cooperation and the development of social dilemma as a game in which to study cooperation. The second part presents three chapters, each of which adopts a relatively unique perspective on human cooperation: an evolutionary perspective, a psychological perspective, and a cultural perspective. The third part focuses on applications of social dilemmas in domains as broad and important as management and organizations, environmental issues, politics, national security, and health. Social Dilemmas is strongly inspired by the notion that science is never finished. Each chapter therefore concludes with a discussion of two (or more) basic issues that are often inherently intriguing, and often need more research and theory. The concluding chapter outlines avenues for future directions.


PART ONE: Introduction to Social Dilemmas
Chapter 1: Introduction and Definition
Chapter 2: History, Methods, and Paradigms
PART TWO: Perspectives to Social Dilemmas
Chapter 3: Evolutionary Perspectives
Chapter 4: Psychological Perspectives
Chapter 5: Cultural Perspectives
PART THREE: Applications and Future of Social Dilemmas
Chapter 6: Organizations and Management
Chapter 7: Environment, Politics, Security, and Health
Chapter 8: Prospects for the Future


Paul van Lange has been a Professor of Social Psychology at the VU since 2000 (and Special Professor at Leiden University from 1999-2008). He has published articles on topics closely linked to trust and human cooperation in journals such as Annual Review of Psychology, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and Psychological Bulletin.; Craig D. Parks is Professor of Psychology at Washington State University. His research focuses on cooperation and noncooperation, and reaction to non-normative actors, in mixed-motive situations. energy companies in the Pacific Northwest on social psychological factors underlying resistance to energy conservation.; Daniel Balliet is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social and Organizational Psychology at the VU University at Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Dr. Balliet's research applies experimental methods and meta-analytic techniques to study cooperation and conflict resolution. His research has examined theoretical perspectives on trust, incentives, social values, and forgiveness. Dr. Balliet has published his research in top journals in Psychology and Political Science, including Psychological Bulletin, Perspectives on Psychological Science, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and Journal of Conflict Resolution. Mark Van Vugt is Professor of Evolution, Work and Organizational Psychology at the Department of Social and Organizational Psychology at the VU University at Amsterdam, The Netherlands. His; expertise is in evolutionary psychology, group dynamics, leadership, status, conflict and cooperation, and in applications of evolutionary psychology to societal issues such as business and management, environmental sustainability, water conservation, politics, war and peace. His publications have appeared in journals such as the American Psychologist, Proceedings of Royal Society-B, and Psychological Science. With various colleagues,Van Vugt has published several books, including a trade book entitled Naturally Selected: The Evolutionary Science of Leadership (Published by Harper Business, 2010), and a textbook entitled Applying Social Psychology: From Problems to Solutions (Published by Sage, 2008). He served as Associate Editor for Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and is a research fellow at University of Oxford.