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Humans had to cooperate early in their evolution in order to survive. But what’s one really great way to secure other people’s cooperation? As anybody who has ever watched Survivor knows, it’s by deceiving other people about what your real intentions are. As the authors of a study published earlier this year in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B put it, “Tactical deception, the misrepresentation of the state of the world to another individual, may allow cheaters to exploit conditional cooperation by tactically misrepresenting their past actions and/or current intentions.” Lies are one pillar of our greatest altruistic creation as a species, cooperation. –Annalee Newitz and Joseph Bennington-Castro

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story or scene using this information about lying and cooperation

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time when you’ve used a lie to get cooperation from others, or write about a time when someone else did this to you.

Art Prompt: Cooperation and Lies

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about cooperation and the various motivations that drive it.

Photo Credit: Kong SG on Flickr

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