Evolutionary scientists argue that human cooperation is the product of a long history of competition among rival groups. There are various reasons to believe that this logic applies particularly to men. In three experiments, using a step-level public-goods task, we found that men contributed more to their group if their group was competing with other groups than if there was no intergroup competition. Female cooperation was relatively unaffected by intergroup competition. These findings suggest that men respond more strongly than women to intergroup threats. We speculate about the evolutionary origins of this gender difference and note some implications.

doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01842.x, hdl.handle.net/1765/14569
ERIM Article Series (EAS)
Psychological Science
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

van Vugt, M., de Cremer, D., & Janssen, D. (2007). Gender differences in cooperation and competition: The male-warrior hypothesis: Research report. Psychological Science, 18(1), 19–23. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01842.x