The language of cooperation: Reputation and honest signalling

S. Számadó*, D. Balliet, F. Giardini, E. A. Power, K. Takács

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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Large-scale non-kin cooperation is a unique ingredient of human success. This type of cooperation is challenging to explain in a world of self-interested individuals. There is overwhelming empirical evidence from different disciplines that reputation and gossip promote cooperation in humans in different contexts. Despite decades of research, important details of reputation systems are still unclear. Our goal with this theme issue is to promote an interdisciplinary approach that allows us to explore and understand the evolution and maintenance of reputation systems with a special emphasis on gossip and honest signalling. The theme issue is organized around four main questions: What are the necessary conditions for reputation-based systems? What is the content and context of reputation systems? How can reputations promote cooperation? And, what is the role of gossip in maintaining reputation systems and thus cooperation? This article is part of the theme issue 'The language of cooperation: reputation and honest signalling'.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20200286
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1838
Early online date4 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
S.S. and K.T. were supported by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office—NKFIH (OTKA) grant no. K 132250. K.T. was supported by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement no. 648693). Acknowledgements

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s).


  • cooperation
  • gossip
  • honest signalling
  • reputation


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