Co–operation and communication in apes and humans

Mind and Language 18 (5):484–501 (2003)
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Abstract

We trace the difference between the ways in which apes and humans co–operate to differences in communicative abilities, claiming that the pressure for future–directed co–operation was a major force behind the evolution of language. Competitive co–operation concerns goals that are present in the environment and have stable values. It relies on either signalling or joint attention. Future–directed co–operation concerns new goals that lack fixed values. It requires symbolic communication and context–independent representations of means and goals. We analyse these ways of co–operating in game–theoretic terms and submit that the co–operative strategy of games that involve shared representations of future goals may provide new equilibrium solutions.

Author Profiles

Ingar Brinck
Lund University
Peter Gärdenfors
Lund University

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