The evolution of shared intentions

It has been hypothesized by Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology co-director Michael Tomasello and his co-authors that the sharing of intentions was an important factor in the evolution of humans’ unique cognitive abilities.

Using recent advances in game theoretic modeling, we model the evolution of the ability to undertake jointly intentional behaviour and show that this ability is likely to have evolved at a time when technological and cultural progress offered particularly high benefits to survival, such as might be thecase during a period of significant environmental change.

For further insight and analysis, please read the full paper here:

Emergence of shared intentionality is coupled to the advance of cumulative culture, S.D.Angus & J.Newton, PLOS Computational Biology (2015).

If you enjoy reading the paper and would like to think about the emergence of SI in different settings, you may also enjoy the following paper, which considers jointly intentional behaviour in general game theoretic environments and shows how both positive and negative externalities can, in certain situations, work against the evolution of collaborative behaviour.

Shared intentions: the evolution of collaboration, J.Newton, Games and Economic Behavior (2017).