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Darwins Dangerous Idea, the Bankers Paradox, and the Playing of Non-Zero Sum Games: Developing an Integrated Model of Close Relational Functioning
Unformatted Document Text:  CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS 9 you’ll also bear the brunt of our anger; Fehr & Gachter, 2002). As can be seen, different adaptations operate in different contexts to produce collaborative non-zero sum gains. While different mechanisms are used in different situations, it is important to note that they all rely on emotional responses to regulate such processes (e.g., love, gratitude, sympathy, anxiety, guilt, shame, resentment, anger, etc). Collaboration and Interpersonal Relationships By definition, close and personal relationships can be thought of as a series of well-established interactions through which individuals collaboratively pursue their self-interest (Wright, 2000). Therefore, careful consideration of the mechanisms regulating cooperative behavior among dyadic partners will provide additional insight into how relationships work. It is hoped that developing a model of relational functioning based on this premise will stimulate new theoretical explanations about communicative behavior among highly interdependent parties. As such, our model focuses on the two fundamental mechanisms thought to underlie collaborative behavior in close relationships. Both of these non-zero sum mechanisms can be discussed using game theory terminology. Specifically, dyadic collaboration can be viewed as games involving the exchange of resources and games involving the coordination of joint activities. Games of Exchange The idea that collaboration among interdependent parties involves games of exchange is hardly novel. The notion that mutually beneficial exchange underlies all social and personal relationships has been articulated under several different guises including reciprocal altruism (Axelrod & Hamilton, 1981; Trivers, 1971), the norm of reciprocity (Gouldner, 1960), and social exchange (Blau, 1964; Cosmides, 1989; Cosmides & Tooby, 1992). For purposes here, a game theory analysis of this process, as outlined by Cosmides and Tooby (1992), will be drawn upon in order to explicate how mutually cooperative behavior meets evolutionary constraints (i.e., is in one’s self-interest). Building on the work of biologists (e.g., Axelrod 1984; Axelrod & Hamilton, 1981; Trivers 1971), Cosmides and Tooby (1992) identify the conditions in which collaboration between two interdependent parties can result in mutual self-gain (non- zero sumness). To begin with, collaborative exchange is advantageous when both parties experience “gains in trade” (Cosmides & Tooby, 1992, p. 169). In other words, there is an asymmetrical cost/benefit structure underlying the exchange of resources (Trivers, 1971). My act of helping you is more beneficial to you (Byou) than the cost incurred to you (Cyou) by helping me (i.e., you come out ahead). Likewise, your act of helping me is more beneficial to me (Bme) than the costs I accrued (Cme) by helping you (I come out ahead). In short, direct reciprocity can result in gains for all – a symbiotic activity (Axelrod & Hamilton, 1981; Trivers, 1971; Wright, 2000). For instance, if a friend invites you over for dinner and you return the favor later in the week – it is possible that the benefits received (a free meal) are greater than the costs

Authors: Teboul, JC. Bruno. and Cole, Tim.
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CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS 9
you’ll also bear the brunt of our anger; Fehr & Gachter, 2002). As can be seen, different adaptations
operate in different contexts to produce collaborative non-zero sum gains. While different mechanisms
are used in different situations, it is important to note that they all rely on emotional responses to regulate
such processes (e.g., love, gratitude, sympathy, anxiety, guilt, shame, resentment, anger, etc).
Collaboration and Interpersonal Relationships
By definition, close and personal relationships can be thought of as a series of well-established
interactions through which individuals collaboratively pursue their self-interest (Wright, 2000).
Therefore, careful consideration of the mechanisms regulating cooperative behavior among dyadic
partners will provide additional insight into how relationships work. It is hoped that developing a model
of relational functioning based on this premise will stimulate new theoretical explanations about
communicative behavior among highly interdependent parties. As such, our model focuses on the two
fundamental mechanisms thought to underlie collaborative behavior in close relationships. Both of these
non-zero sum mechanisms can be discussed using game theory terminology. Specifically, dyadic
collaboration can be viewed as games involving the exchange of resources and games involving the
coordination of joint activities.
Games of Exchange
The idea that collaboration among interdependent parties involves games of exchange is hardly novel.
The notion that mutually beneficial exchange underlies all social and personal relationships has been
articulated under several different guises including reciprocal altruism (Axelrod & Hamilton, 1981;
Trivers, 1971), the norm of reciprocity (Gouldner, 1960), and social exchange (Blau, 1964; Cosmides,
1989; Cosmides & Tooby, 1992). For purposes here, a game theory analysis of this process, as outlined
by Cosmides and Tooby (1992), will be drawn upon in order to explicate how mutually cooperative
behavior meets evolutionary constraints (i.e., is in one’s self-interest). Building on the work of biologists
(e.g., Axelrod 1984; Axelrod & Hamilton, 1981; Trivers 1971), Cosmides and Tooby (1992) identify the
conditions in which collaboration between two interdependent parties can result in mutual self-gain (non-
zero sumness).
To begin with, collaborative exchange is advantageous when both parties experience “gains in trade”
(Cosmides & Tooby, 1992, p. 169). In other words, there is an asymmetrical cost/benefit structure
underlying the exchange of resources (Trivers, 1971). My act of helping you is more beneficial to you
(Byou) than the cost incurred to you (Cyou) by helping me (i.e., you come out ahead). Likewise, your act
of helping me is more beneficial to me (Bme) than the costs I accrued (Cme) by helping you (I come out
ahead). In short, direct reciprocity can result in gains for all – a symbiotic activity (Axelrod & Hamilton,
1981; Trivers, 1971; Wright, 2000). For instance, if a friend invites you over for dinner and you return
the favor later in the week – it is possible that the benefits received (a free meal) are greater than the costs


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