Building a cooperative child: evidence and lessons cross-culturally

Tanya Broesch, Erin Robbins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Humans cooperate with one another to a degree that is unmatched in any other species on the planet. However, there is enormous variability in cooperative thinking and behaviour within and between cultures. Here, we identify the features of the early social environment that we know to be predictors of positive elements of cooperation and create a roadmap for parents, educators and policymakers to guide them through the process of encouraging cooperation in development. We identify four basic psychosocial skills that support cooperation: (1) perspective taking; (2) expanding the concept of self to include others; (3) ensuring a secure attachment through shared positive emotions; and (4) internalising the norms of society (thereby decreasing reliance on externally motivated behaviour). We take a policy-oriented approach with a focus on the practical implications of the research presented throughout the article.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalGlobal Discourse
VolumeEarly View
Early online date13 Oct 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Oct 2023


  • Collaboration
  • Cooperation
  • Sharing
  • Perspective taking
  • Culture


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