AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Sept. 30 (UPI) — Stereotypes suggest women are more cooperative than men, but a meta-analysis shows men are equally cooperative, Dutch researchers say.
The study, published online in Psychological Bulletin, found men cooperate better with other men than women cooperate with each other, while women tend to cooperate more than men when interacting with the opposite-sex.
Daniel Balliet of the VU University Amsterdam and colleagues conducted a quantitative review of 272 studies involving 31,642 participants in 18 countries — most in the United States, the Netherlands, England and Japan. The studies chosen included at least one social dilemma — for example, the “prisoner’s dilemma,” in which two people must decide whether to cooperate or defect.
If they both cooperate, each person receives a modest amount of money, such as $10. However, if only one person cooperates, then the defecting participant receives more money, such as $40, while the cooperating person receives nothing.
If both people decide to defect, they would each receive a small amount — say, $2, Balliet said.
“It is a social dilemma because each individual gains more by defecting regardless of what the other person does, but they will both be better off if they both cooperate,” Balliet said in a statement. “While there was no statistical difference between the sexes when it came to cooperating when faced with a social dilemma, women were more cooperative than men in mixed-sex studies and men became more cooperative than women in same-sex studies and when the social dilemma was repeated.”