Human Cooperation: A New Look at Helping Members of Other Groups

What motivations may drive people to help outgroup members?

  • Date: 16 MAY 2023  from 17:30 to 19:00

  • Event location: Online on Teams - Online event

  • Type: Lectures

This talk addresses the ways in which people can be motivated to help others we are least likely to help: members of other groups (outgroups). The topic of outgroup help is closely related to theories in disciplines such as economics, political science, philosophy, and psychology. Although scientists hold somewhat different theories, there appears to be an increasing consensus that people pursue not only their own interests, as in classic views of human nature, but also broader goals such as egalitarianism and solidarity. The talk consists of three parts. First, I focus on the concept of trust, its genetic and cultural influences, and how exactly one may build trust with strangers and members of other groups. Second, I address the origins of prosociality, their neuroscientific processes, along with a program of research that focuses on how prosocially we behave toward others from lower or higher social classes – a variable that is critical to ingroup and outgroup differences. Finally, I discuss differences between countries in terms of prosociality and how individuals regulate norms that enhance cooperation within and between groups. I conclude by highlighting trust, as well as fairness and empathy, in promoting outgroup help and discuss broader implications relevant to two societal challenges: climate change and refugees. 


ISA Visiting Fellow - Paul A.M. Van Lange

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands

Visit Prof. van Lange's web page

PhD students and researchers who are interested may request an attendance certificate.