Social Dilemmas: The Psychology of Human Cooperation

ISBN : 9780190276966

Paul A. M. van Lange; Daniel P. Balliet; Craig D. Parks; Mark van Vugt
212 ページ
155 x 235 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 is 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: Management and Organizations
Chapter 7: Environment, Politics, Security, and Health
Chapter 8: Prospects for the Future


Paul Van Lange is Professor of Social Psychology and Chair of the Department of Social and Organizational Psychology at the VU University at Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Most of his research on human cooperation and trust is grounded in interdependence theory, through which he seeks to understand the functions of forgiveness, generosity, empathy, fairness, retaliation, competition, as well as general beliefs of human nature in various situations.; 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. He also works as a consultant to 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.; 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.