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Cooperation Theory & Practice
All aspects of theory & practice of cooperation
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Introduction to Social Dilemmas

Introduction to Social Dilemmas | Cooperation Theory & Practice | Scoop.it

"The health and vitality of relationships, groups, and the society at large is strongly challenged by social dilemmas, or conflicts between short-term self-interest and long-term collective interest.  Pollution, depletion of natural resources, and intergroup conflict, can be characterized as examples of urgent social dilemmas.  Social dilemmas are challenging because acting in one’s immediate self-interest is tempting to everyone involved, even though everybody benefits from acting in the longer-term collective interest. "

Howard Rheingold's insight:

I'm adding this to the syllabus of my literacy of cooperation course because it's straightforward, example-based, jargon-free, and descriptive of one of the most important lenses on human cooperation and obstacles to cooperation.

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Do trees communicate? Networks, networks…

Do trees communicate? Networks, networks… | Cooperation Theory & Practice | Scoop.it
UBC Professor Suzanne Simard on Mother Trees. I was unfamiliar with how mycorrhizal networks connect the roots of trees, facilitating the sharing of resources. Dr. Suzanne Simard writes: Graduate s...
Howard Rheingold's insight:

I introduce mycorrhizal networks in my literacy of cooperation course, as part of the  module surveying cooperative arrangements in biology at all levels from the subcellular to the ecosystemic.

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Co-operation vs. Competition (vs. Collaboration)

Co-operation vs. Competition (vs. Collaboration) | Cooperation Theory & Practice | Scoop.it

"For cooperation to happen, we need to be participating transparently with the idea that others can build upon what we share, reshare it, curate it, connect it or whatever else. In that vein, it’s why we need to promote a “network literacy” that supports our ability to find, analyze, synthesize and share information and knowledge in safe, effective and ethical ways."

Howard Rheingold's insight:

This is specifically about cooperation in education. When I first started using social media in education, I learned a lot from Will Richardson, who wrote this postl His writing about personal learning networks is key.

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Coop Gaming on the rise

Coop Gaming on the rise | Cooperation Theory & Practice | Scoop.it

"2012 was an watershed year in coop gaming. Minecraft – a sandbox game with no tutorial, hints, badges, levelups, or assigned missions – became a massive worldwide hit, raking in $80M amd evolving into a platform used by middle-school educators to teach collaboration in the classroom.  Foldit – a science game that enlists players to solve real-world protein-folding puzzles – announced that a self-organized team of expert players had solved an HIV structural puzzle that had stumped scientists for 10 years. And Kickstarter – a crowdfunding website that combines the power of peer networks with coop game mechanics – raised more arts funding $$ than the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

What’s going on here? These innovative, genre-busting games and services are early signs of the coming wave of NonZero Gaming - games and services where people SUCCEED by banding together in service of a larger goal or cause."

Howard Rheingold's insight:

Amy Jo Kim knows her stuff.

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stevenberlinjohnson.com: Bill Clinton On "Creative Networks of Collaboration"

stevenberlinjohnson.com: Bill Clinton On "Creative Networks of Collaboration" | Cooperation Theory & Practice | Scoop.it

"The great thing about the modern world -- and the Internet is both an instrument and a metaphor for it -- is that everybody’s connected and everything is connected. It’s like I said if you look at this precipitous drop in life expectancy among white high-school dropouts, there are clear medical reasons for it but there are also psychological and social reasons that have reinforced it. And if you look at what’s working where the places that are growing economically in America, places that are doing best around the world, you have these creative networks of cooperation." Bill Clinton, referring to the ideas in Steven Johnson's "Future Perfect."

Howard Rheingold's insight:

Steven Johnson's "Future Perfect" is recommended for those who are interested in the role of networks of cooperation in the political sphere. On his blog, Johnson quotes former President Bill Clinton quoting and referring to "Future Perfect." I dialogue between Steven Johnson and Bill Clinton! What more could a person interested in cooperation theory ask?

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Everything is connected

"Network politics are also often concerned with the issues raised by commons. The internet—means and motive for much activism—is a clear example of such a digital resource: anyone can access it under the same conditions and all traffic can, at least theoretically, be treated equally (a state which is known as “network neutrality”, and a great rallying cry). But here the externalities not captured by the market are more positive than negative. Often, the more people share and use such a commons, the more they all benefit."

Howard Rheingold's insight:

Net neutrality is a commons issue. It's not just about protecting it from enclosure. It's about deriving the broadest possible benefit from the cornucopia of the commons that can manifest when digital media, with their power to duplicate, distribute, and coordinate flows of information, meet human judgement in an "architecture of participation" can multiply individual acts of self-interest into public goods useful to all.

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Give And Take: How The Rule Of Reciprocation Binds Us : NPR

Give And Take: How The Rule Of Reciprocation Binds Us : NPR | Cooperation Theory & Practice | Scoop.it
Scientists say that whether tipping waiters or trading Christmas cards, we're programmed to reciprocate when we receive a gift. But the rule of reciprocity can also complicate politics and medicine.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

"Networks of trust and norms of reciprocity" are at the heart of the human ability to co-organize without formal institutions, aka "social capital." But reciprocity, according to Robert Cialdini, is universal: "There is not a single human culture that fails to teach its members in this rule."

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David Hain's curator insight, January 11, 2013 3:06 AM

Excellent stuff - why we do things for one another  and the implications of same.  A basic in relationships but not much taught in my experience...

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Shareable: Dog Parks, Humans and the Commons

Shareable: Dog Parks, Humans and the Commons | Cooperation Theory & Practice | Scoop.it

Dog owners, dog parks, dog poop, are a testing ground for tragedy of the commons and public goods dilemmas in many communities. Empirical studies like this one shed some light on design of successful commons. -- Howard

 

"A recent study conducted by Daniel Matisoff and Douglas Noonan of the Georgia Institute of Technology was set up to “test the relationship between the perception of the park as a successfully governed common resource pool (CRP), and behaviour which contributes to collective action, such as contributing time, money, or to the upkeep of the park and developing a sense of community.” In other words, they wanted to know if people were more likely to get involved in the maintenance and community of a dog park if it appeared to them to be a well-maintained dog park with a strong community."

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Does Evolution Favor Competition or Cooperation? Ask an Anarchist Jailbird Prince.

Does Evolution Favor Competition or Cooperation? Ask an Anarchist Jailbird Prince. | Cooperation Theory & Practice | Scoop.it

"Darwin’s publication of On the Origin of Species sparked major battles. The most famous may have been between science and religion, but there were disputes within science as well. One of the most heated was whether natural selection favored cooperative or competitive behaviors, a battle that still rages today. For almost 100 years, no single person did more to promote the study of the evolution of cooperation than Peter Kropotkin.
Kropotkin traveled the world talking about the evolution of cooperation, which he called “mutual aid,” in both animals and humans."

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A New Kind Of Social Science For The  21st century | Conversation | Edge

A New Kind Of Social Science For The  21st century | Conversation | Edge | Cooperation Theory & Practice | Scoop.it

Christakis has done important work on "contagion" in social networks and in this talk (transcript or video) touches on the interdisciplinary study of cooperation that I've been talking about for ten years. -- Howard

 

"Incidentally, related to that, it's not just that a biological hurricane is approaching the social sciences. Social sciences are generating questions that biologists are becoming interested in. One of my favorite examples of this is cooperation. This is a topic that social scientists have been interested in for a very long time, and evolutionary biologists as well. But now this is drilling down even to the cellular or molecular level, and people are beginning to ask questions about how sub-organismic biological entities “cooperate,” and what does it mean for biology?"

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[1208.4091] Wisdom of groups promotes cooperation in evolutionary social dilemmas

What social dilemmas theories have failed to take into account thus far is the way individuals internalize the sense of the group. This finding could be important. -- Howard

 

"Whether or not to change strategy depends not only on the personal success of each individual, but also on the success of others. Using this as motivation, we study the evolution of cooperation in games that describe social dilemmas, where the propensity to adopt a different strategy depends both on individual fitness as well as on the strategies of neighbors. Regardless of whether the evolutionary process is governed by pairwise or group interactions, we show that plugging into the "wisdom of groups" strongly promotes cooperative behavior. The more the wider knowledge is taken into account the more the evolution of defectors is impaired. We explain this by revealing a dynamically decelerated invasion process, by means of which interfaces separating different domains remain smooth and defectors therefore become unable to efficiently invade cooperators. This in turn invigorates spatial reciprocity and establishes decentralized decision making as very beneficial for resolving social dilemmas."

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Imaging Conflict Resolution | Conversation | Edge

Imaging Conflict Resolution | Conversation | Edge | Cooperation Theory & Practice | Scoop.it

Conflict is the obverse of cooperation.  Human sociality in general and specifically our complex institutions for collective action are multi-leveled, with neural, cognitive, interpersonal, and emergent network components. Only a multi-levelled approach to understanding it will be able to illuminate this phenomena -- simplistic explanations don't do it justice. The imaging techniques Saxe uses promise to be an important probe. -- Howard

 

"Our society is built of a bunch of minds trying to work together. It seems like having better, more scientific understanding of the mind is the only possible way to have a better functioning society. That's the big idea, which seems quite ludicrous. Then the question is to try to work it out in an example. The example is almost as ludicrous. The example I'm working on right now is conflict and conflict resolution: how to make groups of people that are suspicious of one another and on the brink of war with one another more tolerant, more accepting, more forgiving, and more capable of working together. There are a bunch of ways that the kind of neuroscience I've done could help in that context.

The science that I do is on how our brains let us think about other minds. There's at least three ways that that kind of science could help us think about conflict. One is the idea that conflict is actually conflict about other people's minds. What conflict is, in part, is the suspicion of other people's motives, the inability to trust and forgive, and the way that our expectations of group boundaries make us less empathetic and more damning of other people's actions."

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Elinor Ostrom

Elinor Ostrom | Cooperation Theory & Practice | Scoop.it

Every student of cooperation theory must read Ostrom. I was fortunate to have made the pilgrimage to Bloomington to meet her and Vincent Ostrom and to talk with her and her colleagues at their Workshop -- Howard

 

"IT SEEMED to Elinor Ostrom that the world contained a large body of common sense. People, left to themselves, would sort out rational ways of surviving and getting along. All these cases had taught her that, over time, human beings tended to draw up sensible rules for the use of common-pool resources. Neighbours set boundaries and assigned shares, with each individual taking it in turn to use water, or to graze cows on a certain meadow. Common tasks, such as clearing canals or cutting timber, were done together at a certain time. Monitors watched out for rule-breakers, fining or eventually excluding them. The schemes were mutual and reciprocal, and many had worked well for centuries."

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Practical benefits of studying the biological evolution of cooperation

Practical benefits of studying the biological evolution of cooperation | Cooperation Theory & Practice | Scoop.it
Questions that we have been asked to focus on this week in Howard Rheingold’s class – Towards a Literacy of Cooperation are: 1. Are there practical benefits of studying the biological evolution of ...
Howard Rheingold's insight:

One of the co-learners in my online class on literacy of cooperation blogged about one of our "missions" -- each learner posed a question they would like all to answer, then I selected one, learners emailed me their answers, and I posted them in the forum all at once.

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From Occupation to Co-operation

From Occupation to Co-operation | Cooperation Theory & Practice | Scoop.it
Co-op Think Tank organizes to expand member-owned movement
Howard Rheingold's insight:

I agree with this quote (although getting co-ops to work can be difficult and contentious -- c.f., the failure of the Berkeley co-op): "people were asking for an alternative model that was focused on the individual, the community, and being good for the environment. For hardcore co-op people, it's like, 'We're right here.'" The key is to enlist and keep the enthusiasm of non-hardcore co-op people.

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Airbnb And The Unstoppable Rise Of The Share Economy - Forbes

Airbnb And The Unstoppable Rise Of The Share Economy - Forbes | Cooperation Theory & Practice | Scoop.it
Consumers are building multibillion-dollar marketplaces for sharing cars, homes, bicycles, driveways and tools. In looking for a better deal and extra income, they're reshaping business.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

I collected resources on "the sharing economy" for years (http://delicious.com/hrheingold/sharing_economy) and Joi Ito (now director of the Media Lab) and I tried and failed to sell a book proposal about the idea six or seven years ago. But technologically mediated markets are now making it possible. This isn't about socialism. It's about using the knowledge and coordination power enabled by digital networks to extract value for ourselves and others from what we know, own, and do in our self-interest.

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Crystal Arnold's curator insight, January 30, 2013 12:12 AM

The sharing economy gets some mainstream recognition, its just a more intelligent way to coordinate our actions and things.

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Toolbox for Education & Social Action » Co-opoly: The Game of Cooperatives

Toolbox for Education & Social Action » Co-opoly: The Game of Cooperatives | Cooperation Theory & Practice | Scoop.it

"In Co-opoly: The Game of Cooperatives, players collaborate to found and run a democratic business. In order to survive as individuals and to strive for the success of their co-op, players make tough choices regarding big and small challenges while putting their teamwork abilities to the test. This is an exciting game of skill and solidarity, where everyone wins – or everybody loses. By playing Co-opoly, players discover the unique benefits, challenges, and operations of the cooperative world – as well as the skills needed to participate in a co-op!"

Howard Rheingold's insight:

I haven't tried this, but may test it with one of my literacy of cooperation courses ( http://socialmediaclassroom.com/host/cooperation4/lockedwiki/main-page ;)

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Human -- for better or worse

Are people, by nature, kind or rotten? This question has kept philosophers, theologians, social scientists and writers busy for millenniums.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

Sapolsky is a superstar at Stanford, both for his research and his presentations. Here he describes economic games at Harvard that showed that when people had to make rapid, hence intuitive decisions, levels of cooperation rose; time to reflect had the opposite effect.

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Are We Born With a Sense of Fairness? -

"Does fairness come standard with every newborn, or is it something that we (hopefully) develop as we mature? Here’s a multimedia attempt to answer that question."

Howard Rheingold's insight:

Very clever experiments on 15 month olds provides evidence that even very young pre-verbal children have a sense of fairness.The concept of altruistic sharing is a useful expansion of vocabulary around cooperation theory.

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Who's Trustworthy? A Robot Can Help Teach Us

Who's Trustworthy? A Robot Can Help Teach Us | Cooperation Theory & Practice | Scoop.it

"Both groups demonstrated the same level of cooperation. Whether the students met face to face or online didn’t change their decisions about how many tokens to give away or keep. But students who met in person were far better at predicting the trustworthiness of the partner; that suggested they were relying on visual cues.

“Lack of face-to-face contact didn’t make people more selfish,” said the study’s lead author, David DeSteno, a professor of psychology at Northeastern. “But a person’s ability to predict what their partner was going to do was greater face to face than online. There is something the mind is picking up that gives you greater accuracy and makes you better able to identify people who are going to be trustworthy.”

Howard Rheingold's insight:

Face to face, NOT face to face, and online experiments with prisoner's dilemma and other cooperation games have furnished one lens on the nature of human cooperation. This research probes the visual cues that strangers may use to decide whether or not to cooperate.

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Making music together connects brains

Making music together connects brains | Cooperation Theory & Practice | Scoop.it

William Benzon wrote extensively about this hypothesis years ago in his book (recommended) "Beethoven's Anvil" -- Howard

 

"Anyone who has ever played in an orchestra will be familiar with the phenomenon: the impulse for one's own actions does not seem to come from one's own mind alone, but rather seems to be controlled by the coordinated activity of the group. And indeed, interbrain networks do emerge when making music together -- this has now been demonstrated by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin. The scientists used electrodes to trace the brain waves of guitarists playing in duets. They also observed substantial differences in the musicians' brain activity, depending upon whether musicians were leading or following their companion."

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Groups and Gossip Drove the Evolution of Human Nature

Groups and Gossip Drove the Evolution of Human Nature | Cooperation Theory & Practice | Scoop.it

Altruistic punishment and the spread of information about non-cooperators through gossip appears to be important components of human cooperation (and Robin Dunbar has made the case that gossip may be at the root of human spoken communication). -- Howard

 

"What makes these violations of moral rules so instructive is how societies choose to deal with them. Ultimately, it all comes down to gossip. More than tool-making, art, or even language, gossip is a human universal that is a defining feature of our species (though this could change if we ever learn to translate the complex communication system in whales or dolphins). Gossip is intimately connected with the moral rules of a given society, and individuals gain or lose prestige in their group depending on how well they follow these rules. This formation of group opinion is something to be feared, particularly in small rural communities where ostracism or expulsion could mean death. "Public opinion, facilitated by gossiping, always guides the band's decision process," Boehm writes, "and fear of gossip all by itself serves as a preemptive social deterrent because most people are so sensitive about their reputations." A good reputation enhances the prestige of those individuals who engage in altruistic behavior, while marginalizing those with a bad reputation. Since prestige is intimately involved with how desirable a person is to the opposite sex, gossip serves as a positive selection pressure for enhancing traits associated with altruism. That is, being good can get you laid, and this will perpetuate your altruistic genes (or, at least, those genes that allow you to resist cheating other members of your group)."

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How Culture Drove Human Evolution | Conversation | Edge

How Culture Drove Human Evolution | Conversation | Edge | Cooperation Theory & Practice | Scoop.it

Henrich's work on the evolution of culture and culture as an evolutionary force is fundamental to interdisciplinary theory of cooperation. -- Howard

 

"We've begun to pursue this idea called the cultural brain hypothesis—the idea that the real driver in the expansion of human brains was this growing cumulative body of cultural information."

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The Emerging Revolution in Game Theory - Technology Review

The Emerging Revolution in Game Theory - Technology Review | Cooperation Theory & Practice | Scoop.it

Rethinking Prisoner's Dilemma strategies is a big deal because of the huge body of work, but you can't get more prestigious than Freeman Dyson. --Howard

 

"The world of game theory is currently on fire. In May, Freeman Dyson at Princeton University and William Press at the University of Texas announced that they had discovered a previously unknown strategy for the game of prisoner's dilemma which guarantees one player a better outcome than the other.

 

That's a monumental surprise. Theorists have studied Prisoner's Dilemma for decades, using it as a model for the emergence of co-operation in nature. This work has had a profound impact on disciplines such as economics, evolutionary biology and, of course, game theory itself. The new result will have impact in all these areas and more.?

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Peer-to-peer production and the coming of the commons | Red Pepper

Peer-to-peer production and the coming of the commons | Red Pepper | Cooperation Theory & Practice | Scoop.it

Bauwens has been thinking about the big picture around p2p everything for a long time. He's been developing a non-Marxist alternative to capitalism for a while. His philosophy has distilled over the years. -- Howard

 

"Commons-based peer production, by contrast, is emerging as a proto-mode of production in which the value is created by productive publics or ‘produsers’ in shared innovation commons, whether they are of knowledge, code or design. It occurs wherever people can link up horizontally and without permission to create common value together. It has the most potential as a leverage to transform what is now a proto-mode of production into a real mode of production beneficial to workers and ‘commoners’. To achieve this, strategic and tactical breaks with capitalism are necessary, though not necessarily with market forms."

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