A unique approach to understanding competition, conflict, and war may include an appreciation of the nature of cooperation. Social scientists are interested in understanding for whom and under what conditions cooperative relationships exist. Above and beyond individuals’ own personal inclinations toward forming and maintaining cooperative relationships, there are also many group and situational factors that influence one’s desire to cooperate.

A cooperative relationship can be defined as when two or more individuals or groups must work together to achieve an equally beneficial, shared goal that could not be achieved by any one entity alone. Cooperation can be defined by four characteristics: The interests of the individuals and groups are interdependent; they must coordinate their actions; they must work toward common goal(s); and once the goal(s) have ...

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