Armyanskii ln., 4-2, Moscow, 101000, Russia


Victoria Rostovtseva1, Marina Butovskaya1,2, Anna Mezentseva 1, Araceli Rosa3,4, Tania Gonzalez3, Oleg Lazebny5
  • 1 Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences, 32a Leninskiy Ave., Moscow, 119334, Russian Federation
  • 2 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation
  • 3 Institute of Biomedicine, University of Barcelona , 643, Avinguda Diagonal, Barcelona, Spain, 08028
  • 4 Instituto de Salud Carlos III, 3–5 Av. Monforte de Lemos, Madrid, Spain, 28029
  • 5 Koltzov Institute of Developmental Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, 26, Vavilova Str., Moscow, Russian Federation, 119334

Leaders-Cheaters in Male Group Cooperation: Differences in Nonverbal Communication and Genetic Factors

2022. Vol. 19. No. 1. P. 124–149 [issue contents]
Here we report on the results of an experimental study investigating “who?” emerges as a leader in the context of male group cooperation and “how?” they do that. The study was designed based on the iterated Public Goods Game, played face-to-face in groups composed of four male strangers. The game involved interactions both with and without communication to allow the assessment of individual cooperative strategies, leadership potential, and individual features of positive nonverbal expressiveness during interactions. Along with the individual behavioural characteristics we have addressed personality traits (the Big Five) and an oxytocin receptor gene polymorphism (OXTR: SNP rs53576; A/G) as putative markers of individual sociability. Our results revealed that emergent leaders most often employed the strategy of unconditional cooperation (“altruism”) and were characterized by enhanced positive facial expressiveness and extraversion compared to non-leaders. However, a fraction of emergent leaders (25%) turned out to be occasional free-riders (“cheaters”). Their distinctive features were the highest scores on extraversion, exaggerated activity in negotiations, and over-expression of positive nonverbal elements. Given the high efficiency of leaders-cheaters’ behaviour, we consider this result as the evidence for supernormal stimuli functioning in humans. Moreover, leaders-cheaters were characterized by a specific allelic frequency of OXTR rs53576 (heterozygosity: AG). The homozygous GG variant of this SNP is argued to be associated with prosociality, and the AA, on the contrary, with poor sociability. The heterozygous variant (AG) probably is a compromise that enables its carriers to successfully combine high social skills with anti-social behavior (free-riding). This finding supports existing evidence on the role of OXTR rs53576 in human social behaviour.
Citation: Rostovtseva V., Butovskaya M., Mezentseva A., Rosa A., Gonzalez T., Lazebny O. (2022) Lidery-obmanshchiki v kontekste kooperatsii v muzhskikh kollektivakh: osobennosti neverbal'noy kommunikatsii i geneticheskie faktory [Leaders-Cheaters in Male Group Cooperation: Differences in Nonverbal Communication and Genetic Factors]. Psychology. Journal of Higher School of Economics, vol. 19, no 1, pp. 124-149
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