Explaining the evolution of cooperation is a fundamental goal of the evolutionary human sciences. The Social Evolution team aims to provide a natural forum for discussion and collaboration on topics related to the (genetic or cultural) evolution of social behaviors in general, and of large-scale human cooperation in particular. Our research team is currently pursuing two lines of research. The first aims to re-evaluate the theoretical foundations of the cultural evolution of human cooperation, focusing on identifying the limits of and finding alternatives to current mathematical models of cultural group selection. The second aims to study the bottom-up emergence and maintenance of institutions regulating collective action and cooperative behavior in human groups. Our research takes an interdisciplinary approach, bridging insights from evolutionary biology, economics, anthropology, and psychology while drawing on a variety of methodologies, including theoretical models, experiments, and ethnographic research.
Catherine Molho, Assistant Professor in Social Psychology at VU Amsterdam