A new research has revealed that men and women cooperate equally, particularly in situations involving a dilemma that pits the interests of an individual against that of a group.
The research also claims that men cooperate better with each other as compared to women cooperating with each other, and that women tend to cooperate more than men when interacting with the opposite-sex.
The researchers conducted a quantitative review of 272 studies comprising of 31,642 participants in 18 countries and most of the studies were conducted in the United States, the Netherlands, England and Japan.
The articles were written in English and had to contain at least one social dilemma, wherein social dilemma experiments involve two or more people who must choose between a good outcome for themselves or a good outcome for a group and if everyone chooses selfishly, the entire group ends up worse off than if each person had acted in the interest of the group.
The study found that there was no statistical difference between the sexes in cooperating when faced with a social dilemma but when the researchers drilled down they did find some differences and found that women were more cooperative than men in mixed-sex studies and men became more cooperative than women in same-sex studies and when the social dilemma was repeated.
The most commonly used experiment in the meta-analysis was the "prisoner's dilemma" in which a pair of people must decide whether to cooperate or defect.
If they both cooperate, each person receives a modest amount of money, such as $10 and if only one person cooperates, then the defecting participant receives more money, such as $40, while the cooperating person receives nothing, whereas if both people decide to defect, they would each receive a small amount - say, $2.
"It is a social dilemma because each individual gains more by defecting regardless of what the other person does, but they will both be better off if they both cooperate," Daniel Balliet, the lead author, said.
The study has been published online by the American Psychological Association in Psychological Bulletin