An Easy Way To Improve Cooperation

A word for today — onymity.   Don’t worry, it’s not an insult.  The clue to its meaning is it’s the opposite of anonymity (not being named).  Onymity simply means being named.

So what?  A recent article in the journal Science Advances is entitled “Onymity Promotes Cooperation in Social Dilemma Experiments”.   This work reports on a two-player experiment in which the most logical strategy would be betrayal.  But what actually happened was the subjects who knew each other’s names chose cooperation instead.  Specifically, when players were unnamed, the rate of cooperation was about 25 percent of the time.   When names were known, the rate of cooperation increased to 50-75 percent.  To quote directly, “onymity entices cooperation”.

So perhaps the best way to heal this nation’s political divisions is to learn the names of those around you.

Seems like a good idea to me.

Read the full report at  http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/3/e1601444.full.

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