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Guest Speaker - Dr. Pat Barclay

Thu., Apr. 11, 2013 2:30 p.m.

Location: Education Auditorium Wing, ED 106.2

Dr. Pat Barclay, Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Guelph will be presenting "Biological markets and the evolution of human cooperation"


A first-pass glance at natural selection would suggest that "nice guys finish last" whenever helping others is costly. Nevertheless, many species regularly help non-relatives, and humans do this particularly often. What factors cause this generous behaviour to arise and be maintained despite the cost, and why do humans possess a psychology that triggers helping behavior? My work focuses on the personal benefits of helping others, and in particular on the power of reputation for promoting cooperative behaviour. Helping behaviour is one way of competing with others within a market for friends, allies, and associates, such that people may even engage in "competitive altruism" where they strive to be more generous than others around them. I will present data from a variety of methods showing how these reputational factors can support the existence of helping behaviour, and how they can be harnessed to increase generosity.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Barclay.