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Cooperation in apes and humans

Brinck, Ingar LU and Gärdenfors, Peter LU (2003) In On Mind and Consciousness p.365-376
Abstract
Human consciousness serves many roles. It helps us imagine, dream, and think rationally. One capacity that human consciousness enables is cooperation. Here, we will focus on the interplay between cooperation and how subjects understand the minds of others. The aim is to compare and elucidate the similarities and differences between humans and apes as concerns cooperative behaviour. One difference can be described with the two terms ‘competitive cooperation’ and ‘collaborative cooperation’. Apes cooperate in competitive contexts, where the resource is available and accessible, but not yet in possession. Humans can as well cooperate in order to achieve something that is not manifest, but mainly desirable. Humans can imagine what is not... (More)
Human consciousness serves many roles. It helps us imagine, dream, and think rationally. One capacity that human consciousness enables is cooperation. Here, we will focus on the interplay between cooperation and how subjects understand the minds of others. The aim is to compare and elucidate the similarities and differences between humans and apes as concerns cooperative behaviour. One difference can be described with the two terms ‘competitive cooperation’ and ‘collaborative cooperation’. Apes cooperate in competitive contexts, where the resource is available and accessible, but not yet in possession. Humans can as well cooperate in order to achieve something that is not manifest, but mainly desirable. Humans can imagine what is not there, and make their imaginations known to each other. Another difference is that apes cannot represent the goal without the means to reach them. Humans, on the contrary, can reflect about different ways of reaching the goal. Language gives human beings a great advantage in cooperative behaviour, especially in communication about goals and the way to reach them. Another aspect to the difference between humans and apes that concerns a more basic capacity than language-use is joint attention. It is necessary for cooperation for it to be possible for different subjects to attend to a common goal. Apes can engage in joint attention, but do not achieve the same complexity of joint attention as humans. For one thing, they can jointly attend only to things that are present in the context. This makes it difficult to cooperate in order to achieve a goal that is not present or implicated in the immediate environment. An application of our analysis of different kinds of cooperation is game theory. However, cooperative and non-cooperative games, considered in the traditional theory, are only the extremes of the possible levels of cooperation. By taking into account different levels of joint attention and communication, a more fine-grained analysis of different kinds of cooperation in game theory is possible. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding
publication status
published
subject
in
On Mind and Consciousness
editor
Chakraborti, C.; Mandal, M.K. and Chatterjee, R.B.
pages
365 - 376
publisher
Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla
ISBN
81-7986-013-0
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
47780394-ebfc-476c-8b6a-bfb1c1595ff8 (old id 960456)
date added to LUP
2008-01-28 08:29:49
date last changed
2016-04-16 08:53:40
@misc{47780394-ebfc-476c-8b6a-bfb1c1595ff8,
  abstract     = {Human consciousness serves many roles. It helps us imagine, dream, and think rationally. One capacity that human consciousness enables is cooperation. Here, we will focus on the interplay between cooperation and how subjects understand the minds of others. The aim is to compare and elucidate the similarities and differences between humans and apes as concerns cooperative behaviour. One difference can be described with the two terms ‘competitive cooperation’ and ‘collaborative cooperation’. Apes cooperate in competitive contexts, where the resource is available and accessible, but not yet in possession. Humans can as well cooperate in order to achieve something that is not manifest, but mainly desirable. Humans can imagine what is not there, and make their imaginations known to each other. Another difference is that apes cannot represent the goal without the means to reach them. Humans, on the contrary, can reflect about different ways of reaching the goal. Language gives human beings a great advantage in cooperative behaviour, especially in communication about goals and the way to reach them. Another aspect to the difference between humans and apes that concerns a more basic capacity than language-use is joint attention. It is necessary for cooperation for it to be possible for different subjects to attend to a common goal. Apes can engage in joint attention, but do not achieve the same complexity of joint attention as humans. For one thing, they can jointly attend only to things that are present in the context. This makes it difficult to cooperate in order to achieve a goal that is not present or implicated in the immediate environment. An application of our analysis of different kinds of cooperation is game theory. However, cooperative and non-cooperative games, considered in the traditional theory, are only the extremes of the possible levels of cooperation. By taking into account different levels of joint attention and communication, a more fine-grained analysis of different kinds of cooperation in game theory is possible.},
  author       = {Brinck, Ingar and Gärdenfors, Peter},
  editor       = {Chakraborti, C. and Mandal, M.K. and Chatterjee, R.B.},
  isbn         = {81-7986-013-0},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {365--376},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x96f2498)},
  series       = {On Mind and Consciousness},
  title        = {Cooperation in apes and humans},
  year         = {2003},
}