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Topic Area 8.5: The Social Structural Foundations of Reputation, Cooperation and Prosocial Behavior

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Technical Report,17 Apr 2015,16 Oct 2018

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University of South Carolina Columbia United States

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Major Goals A fundamental issue confronting any group or society is the problem of social order how to reconcile tensions between individual and collective interests to achieve cooperative and prosocial outcomes As Kollock 1998 notes, these conflicts between individual and collective interests are ubiquitous, occurring in everyday interpersonal exchanges, the mobilization of team efforts, the de-escalation of intergroup-conflicts, and international agreements. Given both the ubiquity and the stakes, understanding the mechanisms through which these conflicts can be resolve has been a critical question for the biological and social sciences. Existing research has yielded a number of critical insights into how these conflicts between individual and collective interests get resolved. These insights have largely followed disciplinary lines. For instance, while there are obviously exceptions, psychologists have largely focused on other-regarding or altruistic values and emotions. Economists and political scientists, on the other hand, have tended to focus on incentives. Perhaps because much of the theoretical and empirical work on cooperation and prosocial behavior developed outside of sociology, it traditionally assumed unstructured populations, in which any given actor has an equal chance of meeting any other actor in a population. But researchers have recently begun to address how social structure or the pattering of ties between actors impacts cooperation or prosocial behavior more generally. This project addresses four general questions about social structure and social order via multi-methods, namely computer simulations i.e., agent based models and laboratory and web-based experiments.

Subject Categories:

  • Psychology
  • Sociology and Law

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