When it comes to fulfilling needs, human and animal might be almost similar in the lowest levels of the pyramid which is made up of the most basic need such as making shelter, earning food or protecting the group against the enemy or free-riders. However as people progress up the pyramid, needs become increasingly psychological and social. For instance, the need for friendship, belonging, and love become important and therefore people strive to cooperate to fulfill these needs. Since the growth needs such as belonging, love, group work, and reputation can only be fulfilled in communities or in cooperation with other human beings, one cannot avoid being involved in social cooperation and communication. These psychological needs also exist in some animals but it is not as strong a human beings. This might be due to a higher cognitive capacity of human brain.
In Bowles & Gintis (2013) , the authors described that for thousands of years cooperation has been an essential element in human survival. The authors believe that humans as moral being care about ethical values and some social emotions such as shame and guilt have also been evolved. Therefore, humans are now more likely to internalized social norms so that they act ethically based on their own personal beliefs not because they want to avoid the social punishment.
Self-interest and Social Motives in Humans and Animals
While a tendency to behave altruistically toward relatives is quiet common amongst animals, in human’s cooperation goes beyond this. Humans can form complex social interactions and cooperate with strangers to conduct rules in social institutions. Humans possess cognitive, psychological, linguistic and physical capacities that enable them to form moral and social norms and to cooperate in a large scale. They can even establish organizations to punish non-cooperative members to are violating these norms.
So for humans individual motives and social motives sometimes go hand in hand to perform a cooperative act. Living in large societies and creating complex social interactions make it inevitable to not join institutions or organizations. We are all members of some organizations or institutions either as students, workers, teachers, family member, etc. All communities and institutions favor cooperative members over free-riders or self-regarding members. Therefore, social motives also lead a person to be involved in cooperation even if the person does not have any personal motivation to do so. But are people always get socially motivated to cooperate in all societies? Taking a cross-cultural perspective would make it interesting to see to what extent free-riding is tolerated in different cultures and how different nations behaves towards social motives. What is quiet obvious is that it is always easier to succeed when you cooperate with another person rather than running towards it individually. This is something that all nations and cultures can agree upon, but may not act...