Matthijs van Veelen (l) and Stephan Jagau (r)

Congratulations to PhD student Stephan Jagau (University of Amsterdam) and fellow Matthijs van Veelen (University of Amsterdam) whose article A general evolutionary framework for the role of intuition and deliberation in cooperation’ has been published in Nature Human Behavior, Vol 1. (8), Article number: 0152 (Agustus 2017). Read full study here.

The same issue of NHB also includes a comment on their paper by Adam Bear and David G. Rand.


In the experimental and theoretical literature on social heuristics, the case has been made for dual-process cooperation. Empirical evidence is thought to be consistent with the idea that people tend to be nice before thinking twice. A recent theoretical paper moreover suggests that this is also the type of dual process one would expect from evolution. In ‘Intuition, deliberation, and the evolution of cooperation’ by Bear and Rand1, natural selection never favours agents who use deliberation to override the impulse to defect, while deliberation can be favoured if it serves to undermine cooperation in interactions without future repercussions. Here we show that this conclusion depends on a seemingly innocuous assumption about the distribution of the costs of deliberation, and that with different distributions, dual-process defectors can also evolve. Dual-process defectors intuitively defect, but use deliberation to switch to cooperation when it is in their self-interest to do so (that is, when future repercussions exist). The more general model also shows that there is a variety of strategies that combine intuition and deliberation with Bayesian learning and strategic ignorance. Our results thereby unify and generalize findings from different, seemingly unrelated parts of the literature.

Article citation: Stephan Jagau and Matthijs van Veelen, ‘A general evolutionary framework for the role of intuition and deliberation in cooperation’, Nature Human Behavior, Vol. 1 (8)Article number: 0152 (Agustus 2017)