Heritability of cooperative behavior in the trust game

David Cesarini, Christopher T. Dawes, James H. Fowler, Magnus Johannesson, Paul Lichtenstein, Björn Wallace

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Although laboratory experiments document cooperative behavior in humans, little is known about the extent to which individual differences in cooperativeness result from genetic and environmental variation. In this article, we report the results of two independently conceived and executed studies of monozygotic and dizygotic twins, one in Sweden and one in the United States. The results from these studies suggest that humans are endowed with genetic variation that influences the decision to invest, and to reciprocate investment, in the classic trust game. Based on these findings, we urge social scientists to take seriously the idea that differences in peer and parental socialization are not the only forces that influence variation in cooperative behavior.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)3721-3726
    Number of pages6
    JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
    Issue number10
    StatePublished - Mar 25 2008


    • Behavioral genetics
    • Cooperation
    • Experimental economics

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General


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