Maxwell Burton-Chellew

Maxwell Burton-Chellew
University of Lausanne | UNIL ·  Département d'économétrie et d'économie politique (DEEP)

PhD

About

48
Publications
12,001
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Introduction
Maxwell Burton-Chellew currently works jointly at the Département d'économétrie et d'économie politique (DEEP), and the department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Lausanne. Maxwell does research in Social Evolution, Evolutionary Psychology, Behavioural Science and Behavioural Economics. Their most recent publication is 'Cooperation and Learning in Unfamiliar Situations'.
Additional affiliations
October 2009 - present
University of Oxford
Position
  • PostDoc Position
October 2008 - September 2009
University of Oxford
Position
  • PostDoc Position
October 2003 - April 2008
The University of Edinburgh
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (48)
Article
Full-text available
It has become an accepted paradigm that humans have "prosocial preferences" that lead to higher levels of cooperation than those that would maximize their personal financial gain. However, the existence of prosocial preferences has been inferred post hoc from the results of economic games, rather than with direct experimental tests. Here, we test h...
Article
Full-text available
Economic experiments are often used to study if humans altruistically value the welfare of others. A canonical result from public-good games is that humans vary in how they value the welfare of others, dividing into fair-minded conditional cooperators, who match the cooperation of others, and selfish noncooperators. However, an alternative explanat...
Article
Full-text available
What motivates human behaviour in social dilemmas? The results of public goods games are commonly interpreted as showing that humans are altruistically motivated to benefit others. However, there is a competing ‘confused learners’ hypothesis: that individuals start the game either uncertain or mistaken (confused) and then learn from experience how...
Article
Economic experiments have suggested that cooperative humans will altruistically match local levels of cooperation (conditional cooperation) and pay to punish non-cooperators (altruistic punishment). Evolutionary models have suggested that if altruists punish non-altruists this could favour the evolution of costly helping behaviours (cooperation) am...
Article
Human cooperation is often claimed to be special and requiring explanations based on gene–culture coevolution favouring a desire to copy common social behaviours. If this is true, then individuals should be motivated to both observe and copy common social behaviours. Previous economic experiments, using the public goods game, have suggested individ...
Preprint
Could human cooperation be the result of evolution favouring groups where altruists punish non-altruists 1-4? While punishment can benefit groups through increased cooperation, it often costs more than it is worth, challenging group level explanations 1,5,6. We therefore tested if altruistic punishment could spread among groups via imitation (socia...
Preprint
Full-text available
The strategy method is often used in public goods games to measure individuals’ willingness to cooperate depending on the level of cooperation by others (conditional cooperation). However, while the strategy method is informative, it risks being suggestive and inducing elevated levels of conditional cooperation that are not motivated by concerns fo...
Preprint
Full-text available
Why does human cooperation often unravel in economic experiments despite a promising start? Previous studies have interpreted the decline as the reaction of disappointed cooperators retaliating in response to lesser cooperators (conditional cooperation). This interpretation has been considered evidence of a uniquely human form of cooperation, motiv...
Preprint
Full-text available
Economic experiments, and evolutionary models, have suggested that human cooperation is sustained by altruistically motivated cooperators paying to punish non-cooperators. Consequently, punishment allows cooperators to happily match each other (conditionally cooperate), confident that they will not be exploited by non-cooperators. However, it is no...
Preprint
Full-text available
ABSTRACT. It is often claimed that human cooperation is special, and can only be explained by gene-culture co-evolution favouring a desire to follow pro-social norms. If this is true then individuals should be motivated to both observe, and copy, common social behaviours (social norms). Previous economic experiments, using the public goods game, ha...
Preprint
It is often claimed that human cooperation is special, and can only be explained by gene-culture co-evolution favouring a desire to follow pro-social norms. If this is true then individuals should be motivated to both observe, and copy, common social behaviours (social norms). Previous economic experiments, using the public goods game, have suggest...
Article
Human social life is rife with uncertainty. In any given encounter, one can wonder whether cooperation will generate future benefits. Many people appear to resolve this dilemma by initially cooperating, perhaps because (a) encounters in everyday life often have future consequences, and (b) the costs of alienating oneself from long-term social partn...
Preprint
Human social life is rife with uncertainty. In any given social interaction, one can wonder: Is cooperating with this person in my long-term best interest? Many people resolve to play it safe by cooperating rather than behaving selfishly, likely because (a) most social interactions in everyday life have long-term consequences and (b) the costs of a...
Article
Full-text available
Humans may cooperate strategically, cooperating at higher levels than expected from their short-term interests, to try and stimulate others to cooperate. To test this hypothesis, we experimentally manipulated the extent an individual’s behaviour is known to others, and hence whether or not strategic cooperation is possible. In contrast with many pr...
Chapter
In many situations across biology and economics, there is often one individual, or “agent,” that invests effort into a beneficial task and also one individual that, in contrast, foregoes the effort of investing, and instead simply exploits the efforts of another. What makes an individual choose to invest in production versus exploiting the efforts...
Article
Full-text available
Humans have a sophisticated ability to learn from others, termed social learning, which has allowed us to spread over the planet, construct complex societies, and travel to the moon. It has been hypothesized that social learning has played a pivotal role in making human societies cooperative, by favouring cooperation even when it is not favoured by...
Article
We study behavior in repeated interactions when agents have no information about the structure of the underlying game and they cannot observe other agents’ actions or payoffs. Theory shows that even when players have no such information, there are simple payoff-based learning rules that lead to Nash equilibrium in many types of games. A key feature...
Article
Full-text available
Close social relationships provide the primary source of many important, beneficial forms of social support. However, such relationships can deteriorate without regular contact and communication and therefore entail maintenance costs. Consequently, the number of close network members that an individual can afford to maintain is likely to be constra...
Article
Full-text available
Economic games such as the public goods game are increasingly being used to measure social behaviours in humans and non-human primates. The results of such games have been used to argue that people are pro-social, and that humans are uniquely altruistic, willingly sacrificing their own welfare in order to benefit others. However, an alternative exp...
Article
Full-text available
Humans are an intensely social species, frequently performing costly behaviors that benefit others. Efforts to solve the evolutionary puzzle of altruism have a lengthy history, and recent years have seen many important advances across a range of disciplines. Here we bring together this interdisciplinary body of research and review the main theories...
Conference Paper
Evolutionary stability is the defining problem of animal signaling theory (Maynard Smith & Harper, 2003). If it pays a signaler to signal dishonestly, at least on average, then we should expect dishonest signals to evolve. If this occurs, the receivers best reaction is, again on average, simply to ignore signals from these signallers, and so we sho...
Article
Full-text available
Hamilton’s rule predicts that individuals should be more likely to altruistically help closer kin and this theory is well supported from zoological studies of nonhumans. In contrast, there is a paucity of relevant human data. This is largely due to the difficulties of either experimentally testing relatives or of collecting data on genuinely costly...
Article
Full-text available
The virulence and fitness in vivo of the major human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus are associated with a cell-to-cell signaling mechanism known as quorum sensing (QS). QS coordinates the production of virulence factors via the production and sensing of autoinducing peptide (AIP) signal molecules by the agr locus. Here we show, in a wax moth larva...
Article
Full-text available
It is generally agreed that the risk of catastrophic climate change can only be reduced if agents cooperate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the course of the 21st Century. Previous economic experiments have suggested that sufficient cooperation can often be achieved providing individuals are adequately and convincingly informed of the conse...
Article
Full-text available
Many interactive environments can be represented as games, but they are so large and complex that individual players are in the dark about what others are doing and how their own payo s are a ected. This paper analyzes learning behavior in such 'black box' environments, where players' only source of information is their own history of actions taken...
Article
Full-text available
Economic games are often used in an attempt to reveal the underlying preferences or motivations that govern human behaviour. However, this approach relies on the implicit assumption that individuals are rational and fully aware of the consequences of their decisions. We examined behaviour in a standard economic game that is often used to measure so...
Article
Full-text available
Bacterial growth and virulence often depends upon the cooperative release of extracellular factors excreted in response to quorum sensing (QS). We carried out an in vivo selection experiment in mice to examine how QS evolves in response to variation in relatedness (strain diversity), and the consequences for virulence. We started our experiment wit...
Article
Full-text available
Explaining cooperation between non-relatives is a puzzle for both evolutionary biology and the social sciences. In humans, cooperation is often studied in a laboratory setting using economic games such as the prisoners' dilemma. However, such experiments are sometimes criticized for being played for low stakes and by misrepresentative student sampl...
Article
Full-text available
Affines (or “in-laws”) have long been recognized within anthropology as a special kind of kin. Evolutionary biology, in contrast, has typically treated affines as though they were unrelated: only direct genetic kinship counts. However, Hughes (1988) argued that Hamilton’s concept of inclusive fitness naturally includes affinal kin as kin because tr...
Article
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Arising from M. A. Nowak, C. E. Tarnita & E. O. Wilson 466, 1057-1062 (2010); Nowak et al. reply. Nowak et al. argue that inclusive fitness theory has been of little value in explaining the natural world, and that it has led to negligible progress in explaining the evolution of eusociality. However, we believe that their arguments are based upon a...
Article
Full-text available
The results of numerous economic games suggest that humans behave more cooperatively than would be expected if they were maximizing selfish interests. It has been argued that this is because individuals gain satisfaction from the success of others, and that such prosocial preferences require a novel evolutionary explanation. However, in previous ga...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the ultimate and proximate mechanisms that favour cooperation remains one of the greatest challenges in the biological and social sciences. A number of theoretical studies have suggested that competition between groups may have played a key role in the evolution of cooperation within human societies, and similar ideas have been discus...
Article
A new study has shown that mixed-sex pairs of cleaner fish provide a better - more cooperative - service than singletons despite pairs facing an apparent Prisoner's dilemma.
Article
Full-text available
Sex ratio theory offers excellent opportunities to examine the extent to which individuals adaptively adjust their behavior in response to local conditions. Hamilton's theory of local mate competition, which predicts female-biased sex ratios in structured populations, has been extended in numerous directions to predict individual behavior in respon...
Article
Full-text available
The parasitic wasp Nasonia vitripennis has been used extensively in sex allocation research. Although laboratory experiments have largely confirmed predictions of local mate competition (LMC) theory, the underlying assumptions of LMC models have hardly been explored in nature. We genotyped over 3500 individuals from two distant locations (in the Ne...
Article
Full-text available
The evolution and maintenance of multiple mating in females (polyandry) is an adaptive puzzle since females typically obtain all the resources they need from males in only one or a few matings. Females should therefore limit superfluous copulations to avoid the well-documented costs of mating. Previous studies have tended to focus on the maintenanc...
Article
Full-text available
Question: Does male size affect fitness in gregarious parasitoids? Hypothesis: Larger males achieve higher reproductive success by obtaining more matings when in a competitive scenario and by living longer. Although mating can be costly, larger males are better able to withstand these costs. Methods: Three experiments: two assessed the effect of si...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the evolution of female multiple mating (polyandry) is crucial for understanding sexual selection and sexual conflict. Despite this interest, little is known about its genetic basis or whether genetics influences the evolutionary origin or maintenance of polyandry. Here, we explore the quantitative genetic basis of polyandry in the pa...
Article
Full-text available
Explaining cooperation is one of the greatest challenges for evolutionary biology. It is particularly a problem in species such as humans, where there is cooperation between nonrelatives. Numerous possible solutions have been suggested for the problem of cooperation between nonrelatives, including punishment, policing, and various forms of reciproc...

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