Psychology speaker series kicks off with talk on altruism and desirability

Do nice guys really finish last?  The Department of Psychology invites you to find out the answer at their speaker series event on Monday, September 24 featuring University of Guelph psychologist, Pat Barclay, Ph.D.   

The lecture, titled “Reputation and Evolution of (Human) Generosity” will take place at 2 p.m. in the Weaver Auditorium (B200). 

Barclay is an award-winning evolutionary psychologist who uses experimental games and mathematical game theory to understand what forces promote cooperation, when, and why, and how we can harness these forces to promote cooperation.

Refreshments will be served.  All are welcome.

Below is a more in-depth description of the talk:

Popular wisdom says that “nice guys finish last”. Similarly, most people’s perceptions of natural selection is of a cutthroat “survival of the fittest” where niceness gets ruthlessly winnowed out. Is this how evolution actually works? In contrast to this stark view, modern evolutionary researchers have shown that natural selection often results in the evolution of cooperation: cooperating with others is a very effective strategy which – if done well under the right conditions – can bring great benefits to those who help others. Helpful behaviour provides information to others about one’s ability and willingness to help others – qualities which are useful to broadcast. People (and other organisms) who help others acquire a good reputation that makes others more willing to help, trust, associate with, and even mate with helpers. These reputational benefits result in high levels of cooperation, and even cause people to compete to be more generous than others.

Psychology DepartmentSeminar Series