[MARMAM] New publication on Bottlenose dolphins cooperation

Amir Perelberg aperelbe at cc.huji.ac.il
Wed Feb 25 23:43:00 PST 2009

Dear colleagues,

A new paper was recently published in the Journal of Comparative Psychology:

Perelberg Amir and Schuster Richard. 2009. Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops 
truncatus) prefer to cooperate when petted: Integrating proximate and 
ultimate explanations ii. Journal of Comparative Psychology 123(1):45-55.

pdf is available on the journal web site:

or upon request: aperelbe at cc.huji.ac.il

Cooperation poses theoretical problems because the behaviors of 
individuals can benefit others. Evolutionary and game-theory 
explanations that focus on maximizing one's own material outcomes are 
usually supported by experimental models with isolated and anonymous 
subjects. Cooperation in the natural world, however, is often a social 
act whereby familiar individuals coordinate behaviors for shared 
outcomes. Social cooperation is also associated with a cooperation bias 
expressed as a preference for cooperation even when noncooperation is 
immediately more beneficial. The authors report on evidence for such a 
bias in a captive group of bottlenose dolphins that voluntarily 
preferred to receive petting from human guides by using a pairwise 
coordinated approach, even though this was more difficult, and total 
petting amount was thereby reduced. To explain why this bias occurs, the 
authors propose an integrated behavioral-evolutionary approach whereby 
performance is determined by two kinds of immediate outcomes: material 
gains and intrinsic affective states associated with cooperating. The 
latter can provide reinforcement when immediate material gains are 
reduced, delayed, or absent. Over a lifetime, this proximate mechanism 
can lead to cooperative relationships whose long-term ultimate 
consequences can be adaptive.


Amir Perelberg, PhD
Post-doctoral fellow

The Department of Evolution, Systematics and Ecology
The Center for the Study of Rationality

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Edmond J. Safra Campus, Givat-Ram
Jerusalem 91904, Israel

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