Despite much research regarding how animals and humans solve social problems, few studies have utilized comparable procedures, outcomes, or measures, thus little is known about the evolution of decision-making behavior. In this project, the Principal Investigators will investigate how primates, including humans, deal with problems that arise in interactions with other group members. Understanding what outcomes are achieved, and how they vary across species, has implications for theories of the evolution of sociality and our understanding of social decision-making. The research will examine strategic decisions involving costly conflict and trust, varying the cooperativeness or competitiveness of the frame. The results will provide shed light on the evolution of human decision-making behavior.
This research will help to clarify the similarities and differences between nonhuman primates and humans with respect to social decision-making and will more properly place nonhuman behavior in context with human behavior and to understand the roots from which human economic decision making emerged. In addition to the theoretical merits, this interdisciplinary research will be integrated into summer workshops for graduate, undergraduate, and high school students at the Economic Science Institute at Chapman University and disseminated to the general public through partnerships with schools and Zoo Atlanta. It will also provide training for multiple postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students.