We develop mathematical and simulation models in order to study the evolution of social behaviors; in particular helping behaviors (cooperation, altruism, benevolence) and harming behaviors (spite, warfare, malevolence, exploitation). We try to understand and disaggregate the role of several factors for the evolution of these behaviors:
Demography and life-history -- What are the life-cycle conditions and the population structures and processes that favor or inhibit the emergence of sociality?
Cultural transmission -- What types of social learning rule evolve? When does cultural transmission promotes cooperation?
Learning -- How does individual learning and experience shape social behaviors? Are benevolence and malevolence genetically determined or acquired during an individual's lifespan?
Why models are useful
The world is a misty region.
The first explorers used unaided vision.
Mathematics is the lantern by which what was before dimly visible now looms up in firm, bold outlines.
The old phantasmagoria disappear.
We see better.
We also see further.
Irving Fisher (1892)