Men and women cooperate equally for the common good

Gender differences arise in different social contexts, according to meta-analysis

 

Washington, DC, USA (September 22, 2011) — Stereotypes suggest women are more cooperative than men, but an analysis of 50 years of research shows that men are equally cooperative, particularly in situations involving a dilemma that pits the interests of an individual against the interests of a group.

 

Additionally, men cooperate better with other men than women cooperate with each other, according to the research, published online by the American Psychological Association in Psychological Bulletin. Women tend to cooperate more than men when interacting with the opposite-sex, the analysis found.

 

The researchers conducted a quantitative review of 272 studies comprising 31,642 participants in 18 countries. Most of the studies were conducted in the United States, the Netherlands, England and Japan. The articles were written in English and had to contain at least one social dilemma. Social dilemma experiments involve two or more people who must choose between a good outcome for themselves or a good outcome for a group. If everyone chooses selfishly, everyone in the group ends up worse off than if each person had acted in the interest of the group.

 

While there was no statistical difference between the sexes when it came to cooperating when faced with a social dilemma, when the researchers drilled down they did find some differences. Specifically, women were more cooperative than men in mixed-sex studies and men became more cooperative than women in same-sex studies and when the social dilemma was repeated.

 

The "prisoner’s dilemma" was the most commonly used experiment in this meta-analysis. In this interaction, a pair of people must decide whether to cooperate or defect. If they both cooperate, each person receives a modest amount of money, such as $10. However, if only one person cooperates, then the defecting participant receives more money, such as $40, while the cooperating person receives nothing. If both people decide to defect, they would each receive a small amount – say, $2.

 

"It is a social dilemma because each individual gains more by defecting regardless of what the other person does, but they will both be better off if they both cooperate," said the study’s lead author, Daniel Balliet, Ph.D, of the VU University Amsterdam.

 

Even though most of these experiments were conducted in laboratories, social dilemma experiments have been shown to predict cooperation outside the laboratory very well. The authors used socio-cultural and evolutionary perspectives to explain some of the findings, particularly why men were found to be more cooperative than women during same-sex interactions.

 

"The argument is that throughout human evolutionary history, male coalitions have been an effective strategy for men to acquire resources, such as food and property," said Balliet. "Both hunting and warfare are social dilemmas in that they firmly pit individual and group interests against each other. Yet, if everyone acts upon their immediate self-interest, then no food will be provided, and wars will be lost. To overcome such social dilemmas requires strategies to cooperate with each other."

 

Evolutionary theory may also explain why women are less cooperative with other women when faced with a social dilemma, according to Balliet. "Ancestral women usually migrated between groups and they would have been interacting mostly with women who tended not to be relatives, and many were co-wives," he said. "Social dynamics among women would have been rife with sexual competition."

 

 

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world’s largest association of psychologists. APA’s membership includes more than 154,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.

 

Article: "Sex Differences in Cooperation: A Meta-Analytic Review of Social Dilemmas," Daniel Balliet, Ph.D, Singapore Management University and VU University, the Netherlands; Norman P. Li, Ph.D, Singapore Management University; Shane J. MacFarlan, Ph.D, Washington State University; Mark Van Vugt, Ph.D, VU University, the Netherlands; Psychological Bulletin, online.

 

Full text of the article is available from the APA Public Affairs Office and at http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/bul-ofp-balliet.pdf

 

Dr. Daniel Balliet can be contacted at d.p.balliet@vu.nl or 31-068-145-9096.

 

 


American Psychological Association, 22.09.2011 (tB).

MEDICAL NEWS

Inadequate sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 variants impedes global response to COVID-19
New meta-analysis finds cannabis may be linked to development of…
New guidance on how to diagnosis and manage osteoporosis in…
Starting the day off with chocolate could have unexpected benefits
Better mental health supports for nurses needed, study finds

SCHMERZ PAINCARE

Versorgung verbessern: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Schmerzmedizin fordert die Einführung des…
Pflegeexpertise im Fokus: Schmerzmanagement nach Operationen
Versorgung verbessern: Bundesweite Initiative der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Schmerzmedizin zu…
Jedes vierte Kind wünscht bessere Schmerzbehandlung
Lebensqualität von Patienten in der dauerhaften Schmerztherapie mit Opioiden verbessern

DIABETES

Bundestag berät über DMP Adipositas: DDG begrüßt dies als Teil…
Mit der Smartwatch Insulinbildung steuern
Verbände fordern bessere Ausbildung und Honorierung von Pflegekräften für Menschen…
Minimalinvasive Geräte warnen ungenügend vor Unterzuckerung
Typ-1-Diabetes und Hashimoto-Thyreoiditis treten häufig gemeinsam auf

ERNÄHRUNG

Wie eine Diät die Darmflora beeinflusst: Krankenhauskeim spielt wichtige Rolle…
DGEM plädiert für Screening und frühzeitige Aufbautherapie: Stationäre COVID-19-Patienten oft…
Führt eine vegane Ernährungsweise zu einer geringeren Knochengesundheit?
Regelmässiger Koffeinkonsum verändert Hirnstrukturen
Corona-Erkrankung: Fehl- und Mangelernährung sind unterschätze Risikofaktoren

ONKOLOGIE

Anti-Myelom-Therapie mit zusätzlich Daratumumab noch effektiver
Positive Ergebnisse beim fortgeschrittenen Prostatakarzinom: Phase-III-Studie zur Radioligandentherapie mit 177Lu-PSMA-617
Lymphom-News vom EHA2021 Virtual. Alle Berichte sind nun online verfügbar!
Deutsch-dänisches Interreg-Projekt: Grenzübergreifende Fortbildungskurse in der onkologischen Pflege
Sotorasib: Neues Medikament macht Lungenkrebs-Patienten Hoffnung

MULTIPLE SKLEROSE

NMOSD-Erkrankungen: Zulassung von Satralizumab zur Behandlung von Jugendlichen und Erwachsenen
Verzögerte Verfügbarkeit von Ofatumumab (Kesimpta®)
Neuer Biomarker bei Multipler Sklerose ermöglicht frühe Risikoeinschätzung und gezielte…
Multiple Sklerose beginnt oft lange vor der Diagnose
Goldstandard für Versorgung bei Multipler Sklerose

PARKINSON

Meilenstein in der Parkinson-Frühdiagnose
Parkinson-Erkrankte besonders stark von Covid-19 betroffen
Gangstörungen durch Kleinhirnschädigung beim atypischen Parkinson-Syndrom
Parkinson-Agenda 2030: Die kommenden 10 Jahre sind für die therapeutische…
Gemeinsam gegen Parkinson: bessere Therapie durch multidisziplinäre Versorgung