Human cooperation is unique in the animal kingdom. While many species exhibit cooperative behaviours (i.e. benefiting another individual at a cost to oneself), these are typically directed towards kin. However, human societies are characterised by large-scale cooperation between unrelated individuals, even strangers, setting us apart from other animals. But, how is this level of cooperation maintained when free-riders could easily exploit the generosity of others?

To explore this question, I study the biological and cultural evolution of human cooperation. I use methods from experimental economics and evolutionary game theory to shed light on how and why we give to others. By understanding the origins of human cooperation, and the mechanisms by which it evolved, I believe we can motivate generosity in each other and allow cooperation to flourish in our everyday lives.