Solving the puzzle of collective action through inter-individual differences

Chris von Rueden, Sergey Gavrilets, Luke Glowacki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Models of collective action infrequently account for differences across individuals beyond a limited set of strategies, ignoring variation in endowment (e.g. physical condition, wealth, knowledge, personality, support), individual costs of effort, or expected gains from cooperation. However, behavioural research indicates these inter-individual differences can have significant effects on the dynamics of collective action. The papers contributed to this theme issue evaluate how individual differences affect the propensity to cooperate, and how they can catalyse others’ likelihood of cooperation (e.g. via leadership). Many of the papers emphasize the relationship between individual decisions and socio-ecological context, particularly the effect of group size. All together, the papers in this theme issue provide a more complete picture of collective action, by embracing the reality of inter-individual variation and its multiple roles in the success or failure of collective action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20150002
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1683
StatePublished - Dec 5 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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