Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

From inter-group conflict to inter-group cooperation: insights from social insects

Review article by António M. M. Rodrigues, Jessica L. Barker and Elva J. H. Robinson published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B

Introduction by Jessica L. Barker

This paper is part of a special issue on 'Inter-group conflict across taxa'. It follows on from a paper I worked on while at AIAS/IMC on inter-group cooperation in humans and other animals and IMC seed funding that I received in 2018 on inter-group cooperation from ants to humans. While cooperation within groups is very well studied, cooperation between groups is not, and in fact interactions between groups are generally assumed to involve conflict. In this new paper, we use social insects, which are model organisms for the study of cooperation, to show that many inter-group interactions do in fact involve cooperation. We present a mathematical model that predicts when inter-group interactions shift along the continuum from conflict to cooperation, finding that the predictions are similar to within-group interactions.

Read the full article here.