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  Collective narratives catalyse cooperation

Gokhale, C. S., Bulbulia, J., & Frean, M. (2020). Collective narratives catalyse cooperation. SocArXiv. doi:10.31235/osf.io/jnu87.

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 Creators:
Gokhale, Chaitanya S.1, Author              
Bulbulia, Joseph2, Author              
Frean, Marcus, Author
Affiliations:
1Research Group Evolutionary Theory, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society, ou_1445641              
2Linguistic and Cultural Evolution, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society, ou_2074311              

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Free keywords: social evolution; culture; narratives; beliefs; stag-hunt
 Abstract: Humans invest in fantastic stories -- mythologies. Recent evolutionary theories suggest that cultural selection may favour moralising stories that motivate prosocial behaviours. A key challenge is to explain the emergence of mythologies that lack explicit moral exemplars or directives. Here, we resolve this puzzle with an evolutionary model in which arbitrary mythologies transform a collection of egoistic individuals into a cooperative. Importantly, in finite populations, reflecting relative to contemporary population sizes of hunter-gatherers, the model is robust to the cognitive costs in adopting fictions. This approach resolves a fundamental problem across the human sciences by explaining the evolution of otherwise puzzling amoral, nonsensical, and fictional narratives as exquisitely functional coordination devices.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2020-10-072020-10-082020-10-07
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: 30
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 Identifiers: DOI: 10.31235/osf.io/jnu87
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Title: SocArXiv
Source Genre: Journal
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