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Departmental Colloquium: Keith Jensen (University of Manchester)

The CEU Campus
Wednesday, February 8, 2017, 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm

That humans cooperate with unrelated individuals on a scale not seen in other species pretty much goes without saying (although it is said a lot). The fact that you will be sitting together with other members of your species just to listen to someone say so is already quite remarkable. However, in addition to cooperating and behaving prosocially in ways that might be fundamentally different to what we see in other species, humans are also remarkably antisocial. We compare ourselves to others, we are averse to inequity to the point of behaving irrationally (at least as far as standard economic models are concerned), we punish noncooperators, we compete spitefully and we take pleasure in them misfortunes of others. The claim that humans are unique in our social behaviour   has been challenged on several fronts, with some people suggesting that nonhuman primates (and possibly other animals) help others, share resources, show a sensitivity to unfairness, punish noncooperative behaviour and so on. Here, I will present work on chimpanzees and children that challenges these challenges. In particular, I will look at whether chimpanzees help others, as has sometimes been claimed, and whether they punish uncooperative behaviour. I hope to suggest that a key factor underlying differences in social behaviour between our closest living relatives and humans is motivational, namely other-regarding concerns.