Reciprocal cooperation - Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) as an example
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Many animals cooperate even with unrelated individuals in various contexts, like providing food or allogrooming others. One possibility to explain the evolution of such apparently altruistic behaviour is reciprocity. In reciprocal cooperative interactions, individuals help those partners that have been previously cooperative and therefore exchange favours. This conditional help follows rules like “I help you because you helped me.” These rules are often assumed to be so cognitively demanding that they may be limited to humans. In this chapter, I will shed light on the cognitive underpinnings of reciprocal cooperation by reviewing work on one of the yet best-studied animal in this research area, the Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus). Various studies have demonstrated that Norway rats reciprocally exchange different goods and services. They most likely form attitudes toward social partners that are based on the cooperation level of the last encounter, which they remember over long time spans. Cooperation decisions based on attitudes appear cognitively less complex than calculations of received and given favors. Thus, reciprocal cooperation based on this cognitive mechanism might be in fact more widespread among nonhuman animals than commonly believed.
Schweinfurth , M K 2021 , Reciprocal cooperation - Norway rats ( Rattus norvegicus ) as an example . in A B Kaufman , J Call & J C Kaufman (eds) , The Cambridge Handbook of Animal Cognition . Cambridge handbooks in psychology , Cambridge University Press , pp. 343-361 . https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108564113.019
The Cambridge Handbook of Animal Cognition
© Allison B. Kaufman, Josep Call and James C. Kaufman 2021. This work has been made available online in accordance with publisher policies or with permission. Permission for further reuse of this content should be sought from the publisher or the rights holder. This is the author created accepted manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108564113.019
DescriptionThe Swiss National Science Foundation provided funding (P2BEP3_175269).
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