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Plos Biology : Generalized Reciprocity in Rats, Volume 5

By Keller, Laurent

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Book Id: WPLBN0003926993
Format Type: PDF eBook :
File Size:
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: Plos Biology : Generalized Reciprocity in Rats, Volume 5  
Author: Keller, Laurent
Volume: Volume 5
Language: English
Subject: Journals, Science, Biology
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection (Contemporary), PLoS Biology
Publication Date:
Publisher: Plos


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Keller, L. (n.d.). Plos Biology : Generalized Reciprocity in Rats, Volume 5. Retrieved from

Description : The evolution of cooperation among nonrelatives has been explained by direct, indirect, and strong reciprocity. Animals should base the decision to help others on expected future help, which they may judge from past behavior of their partner. Although many examples of cooperative behavior exist in nature where reciprocity may be involved, experimental evidence for strategies predicted by direct reciprocity models remains controversial: and indirect and strong reciprocity have been found only in humans so far. Here we show experimentally that cooperative behavior of female rats is influenced by prior receipt of help, irrespective of the identity of the partner. Rats that were trained in an instrumental cooperative task (pulling a stick in order to produce food for a partner) pulled more often for an unknown partner after they were helped than if they had not received help before. This alternative mechanism, called generalized reciprocity, requires no specific knowledge about the partner and may promote the evolution of cooperation among unfamiliar nonrelatives.


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