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Journal Article

Reputation and socio-ecology in humans


Hagel,  Kristin
Department of Human Behavior Ecology and Culture, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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Romano, A., Giardini, F., Columbus, S., de Kwaadsteniet, E. W., Kisfalusi, D., Triki, Z., et al. (2021). Reputation and socio-ecology in humans. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 376: 20200295. doi:10.1098/rstb.2020.0295.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0009-5BCC-C
Reputation is a fundamental feature of human sociality as it sustains cooperative relationships among unrelated individuals. Research from various disciplines provides insights on how individuals form impressions of others, condition their behaviours based on the reputation of their interacting partners and spread or learn such reputations. However, past research has often neglected the socio-ecological conditions that can shape reputation systems and their effect on cooperation. Here, we outline how social environments, cultural values and institutions come to play a crucial role in how people navigate reputation systems. Moreover, we illustrate how these socio-ecological dimensions affect the interdependence underlying social interactions (e.g. potential recipients of reputational benefits, degree of dependence) and the extent to which reputation systems promote cooperation. To do so, we review the interdisciplinary literature that illustrates how reputation systems are shaped by the variation of prominent ecological features. Finally, we discuss the implications of a socio-ecological approach to the study of reputation and outline potential avenues for future research.

This article is part of the theme issue ‘The language of cooperation: reputation and honest signalling’.