Commentary

Cognitive foundations of cooperation revisited: Commentary on Rand et al. (2012, 2014)

Citation

Myrseth KOR & Wollbrant CE (2017) Cognitive foundations of cooperation revisited: Commentary on Rand et al. (2012, 2014). Commentary on: Rand, D. G. et al. Social heuristics shape intuitive cooperation. Nat. Commun. 5:3677 doi: 10.1038/ncomms4677 (2014) and Rand, D. G. et al. Spontaneous giving and calculated greed. Nature. 489:427-430 doi: 10.1038/nature11467 (2012).. Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, 69, pp. 133-138. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socec.2017.01.005

Abstract
We show that Rand et al. (2012, 2014)—who argue that cooperation is intuitive—provide an incorrect interpretation of their own data. They make the mistake of inferring intuition from relative decision times alone, without taking into account absolute decision times. We re-examine their data and find that the vast majority of their responses are slow, exceeding four seconds, even in time-pressure treatments intended to promote intuitive responses. Further, a plot of the average cooperation rates by decision time fails to yield a monotonically decreasing relationship. However, among the few decisions that were relatively fast, there appears to be a positive—not negative—association between decision time and cooperation. We conclude that the data presented by Rand et al. (2012, 2014) fail to provide evidence for the hypothesis that cooperation is intuitive. If anything, their data indicate the opposite.

Keywords
co-operation; intuition; decision times; pro-social behaviour;

Journal
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics: Volume 69

StatusPublished
FundersSwedish Research Council
Publication date31/08/2017
Publication date online31/01/2017
Date accepted by journal12/01/2017
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/28914
PublisherElsevier BV
ISSN2214-8043
Item discussedRand, D. G. et al. Social heuristics shape intuitive cooperation. Nat. Commun. 5:3677 doi: 10.1038/ncomms4677 (2014) and Rand, D. G. et al. Spontaneous giving and calculated greed. Nature. 489:427-430 doi: 10.1038/nature11467 (2012).