• Discover Interdisciplinary Cooperation at ASU

    ASU Interdisciplinary Study of Cooperation Winter School

  • January 6-10, 2020

    Arizona State University, Tempe

    The ASU Interdisciplinary Study of Cooperation Winter School

    Cooperation is an inherently interdisciplinary topic, and one that can only be effectively studied through multiple methods and with the engagement of diverse scholars across many disciplines. The ASU Interdisciplinary Study of Cooperation Winter School provides a forum for learning about the fundamental processes underlying cooperation across diverse systems and disciplines including Psychology, Evolutionary Biology, Anthropology, Sociology and Computational Modeling. Through lectures, seminars and small tutorial sessions, students in the Winter School have the opportunity to learn from leading cooperation researchers, build new skills and develop projects.

    Who can attend

    The ASU Interdisciplinary Study of Cooperation Winter School is aimed at graduate students and postdoctoral fellows but is also open to advanced undergraduates and early career faculty in any disciplinary field. Approximately 20 students will be accepted into this winter school.


    The registration fee of $550 includes attendance at all presentations, tutorials, lodging during the school and most meals. We are able to offer this low registration fee to students because of funding provided by the Interdisciplinary Cooperation Initiative at ASU and the President's Office. In addition to this subsidized registration fee, additional monetary assistance is available for students with financial need. Students who are accepted into the winter school will have the opportunity to apply for travel grants ($300 domestic, $500 international) and discounted registrations ($300 off the regular registration cost) if they are unable to cover the costs of attendance.

    Application process

    Prospective students are required to submit application materials including an application form, an essay, an abstract for a poster and a letter of recommendation. Click on the "Apply" link on our website to complete your application. Please send the letter of recommendation via email at cooperation@asu.edu with the subject line "ICI Winter School Letter of Recommendation." The due date for applications is October 11, 2019. Applications will be evaluated by the Scientific Organizing Committee and student will be informed of acceptance by October 18, 2019.


    Contact Cristina Baciu at cbaciu@asu.edu

  • How to be a part of the ASU ISC Winter School



    Submit your application and request a letter of recommendation from your advisor before Oct 11, 2019.



    If you are accepted into the winter school (you will hear by Oct 18), you will register and have the opportunity to apply for financial assistance.



    Create a poster about your work and do background reading

    (up to 6 hours).



    Learn from leaders in cooperation theory through lectures and tutorials; meet students who share your interests.

  • Apply by Oct 11, 2019

    Follow the link below to submit your application for the ASU Interdisciplinary Cooperation Winter School.

  • Lecturers

    Lecturers provide extensive training to students during the Winter School

    Athena Aktipis

    Cooperation across systems

    Athena Aktipis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Arizona State University, the Director of the Interdisciplinary Cooperation Initiative at ASU and co-Director of The Human Generosity Project. She studies cooperation across systems from human sharing to cancer. She is also the chair of the Zombie Apocalypse Medicine Alliance; and host of the new podcast, Zombified. Learn more about Dr. Aktipis here.

    Lee Cronk

    Cultural and biological influences on cooperation

    Lee Cronk, a Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and is co-director of the Human Generosity Project. Dr. Cronk is the author of several books including Meeting at Grand Central: Understanding the Social and Evolutionary Roots of Cooperation. Cronk maintains research interests on such topics as parenting, signaling, and the relationship between culture and behavior. Learn more about Dr. Cronk here.

    Aurora Nedelcu

    The evolution of multicellularity and major transitions

    Aurora Nedelcu is a Professor of Biology at the University of New Brunswick. Her research centers on understanding the evolution of cooperation in the transition to multicellularity , including the evolution of complexity, cell differentiation, programmed death, and many other topics. She uses experimental and theoretical methods across many levels of biological organization (including genes, genomes, cells, individuals, and groups) and bridges many fields including genetics/genomics, molecular, cell and developmental biology, ecology and evolution. Learn more about Dr. Nedelcu here.

    Nichola Raihani

    Mechanisms that maintain cooperation

    Nichola Raihani is a Professor at University College London in the Department of Experimental Psychology. She studies mechanisms that maintain cooperation in interactions where partners may otherwise be tempted to exploit one another, working on both humans and non-humans. Raihani studies these mechanisms as well as the ecological causes and evolutionary consequences of individual variation in cooperation. Learn more about Dr. Raihani here.

  • Speakers

    Speakers give talks and lead tutorial sessions during the Winter School

    Arvid Ågren

    Genomic conflict and social evolution

    Arvid  Ågren is an evolutionary biologist studying the causes and consequences of genomic conflicts. He is currently a Wenner-Gren Fellow at Harvard at the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. Learn more about Dr. Ågren here.

    Regis Ferrier

    Cooperation in fluctuating environments

    Regis Ferrier works at the intersection of ecology and evolution as applied to cooperation. He uses mathematical modeling to understand the evolution of cooperation at the gene, cell, organism and population levels. He also works on life history evolution, the evolution of species interactions; as well as the eco-evolutionary responses of populations, and communities and ecosystems to environmental change. Dr. Ferrier is also developing the CNRS-ENS Ecotron in Paris, in a partnership with Biosphere 2 at the University of Arizona, to promote next-generation large-scale experiments on complex ecological systems under highly controlled environmental conditions.

    Jennifer Fewell

    Division of labor and cooperation in insect societies

    Jennifer Fewell is a President’s Professor and faculty leader for the Organismal, Integrative and Systems Biology Group in the School of Life Sciences. Her research centers around the organization and evolution of insect societies. She is particularly interested in the topics of work organization and the emergence of the division of labor in social groups. Fewell also studies the roles of self-organization and selection in shaping social cooperation. Learn more about Dr. Fewell here. 

    Tamar Kugler

    Trust, cooperation and emotions in decision making

    Tamar Kugler is an Associate Professor in the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona, Tucson. She uses economic games to look at the role of emotions and trust in cooperation and decision making more generally. She also works on interactive decision-making, group decision-makingand intergroup conflict.

    Shade Shutters

    Cooperation in practice and policymaking

    Shade Shutters is a complexity scientist who uses various computational and data-intensive methods to (1) Understand fundamental aspects of social dilemmas across all scales of life; (2) Develop a deeper understanding of social dynamics and complex systems to create solutions to pressing societal issues, particularly in urban systems; and (3) Work with practitioners/policy-makers to design decision tools, implement solutions, and effect change. He is currently a Research Scientist in the Global Security Initiative at ASU. Learn more about Dr. Shutters here. 

    Jessica Phillips-Silver

    The role of rhythm and music in human cooperation 

    Jessica Phillips-Silver is currently an associate researcher in the Department of Neuroscience at Georgetown University. Jessica conducts research on entrainment in music and movement, with interests in typical development as well as groups of individuals who are blind or deaf; tone-deaf or beat-deaf. She has examined what it means to feel the beat in music: how rhythmic entrainment develops in infancy, what defines the musical disorder beat deafness, how sensory deprivation and cortical plasticity impact rhythm perception, and the sensorimotor brain circuit that supports connection and cooperation through feeling the beat. She also studies the development of executive functioning in early childhood and the role of music and rhythm in cooperation and social interaction.

    Arunas Radzvilavicius

    Mathematical modeling of cooperation across systems

    Arunas L Radzvilavicius is a mathematical modeler at the University of Pennsylvania and a visiting researcher at ASU, with degrees in theoretical physics and evolutionary biology. Arunas has worked on theoretical aspects of cooperation in major evolutionary events like the origins of complex cell and multicellularity. He is now investigating altruism, social norms and moral emotions in human societies. Learn more about Dr. Radzvilavicius here.

    Joan Silk

    The evolution of social behavior in primates

    Joan Silk studies the evolution of social behavior in primates, especially the behavioral and reproductive strategies of female baboons. She recently initiated a comparative study of the structure and function of close social bonds in four baboon species (anubis, hamadryas, gelada, and chacma). In particular, Silk is interested in questions that explicitly link studies of nonhuman primates to humans. Silk is also working with chimpanzees and children to understand the phylogenetic origins and ontogenetic development of prosocial preferences. learn more about Dr. Silk here. 

    Roger White

    Cooperation and cheating in markets

    Roger White is an Assistant Professor in the W. P. Carey School of Business. His studies the incentives and institutions that maintain the viability of markets. He uses big data to investigate fraud and other forms of cheating, as well as the roles of regulation and communication in maintaining cooperation. Learn more about Dr. White here.

    Polly Wiessner

    Culture, cooperation and traditional institutions

    Polly Wiessner is a Professor of Anthropology at the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, a Research Professor at the University of Utah and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Her recent work has been on the anthropology of the night: how firelight conversations transmit essential information on kinship connections, social networks, sharing and other social institutions to promote cooperation. Her second field site is among the Enga of Papua New Guinea where she has conducted 30 years of ethnohistorical research on exchange, ritual and warfare. She is currently studying the breakdown of traditional cultural institutions with the introduction of new technology and rapid economic change and how the Enga are applying restorative justice based to rebuild communities and maintain harmony through reciprocity. Wiessner has authored, co-authored or edited four books. Learn more about Dr. Wiessner here.

  • Tutorials

    Students will have opportunities to work closely with instructors during multiple tutorial sessions throughout the week.

    Cooperation Databank meta-analyses

    The Amsterdam Cooperation Lab has recently developed the Cooperation Databank (CoDa) – a databank that contains an annotation of the entire history of lab and field research on human cooperation using social dilemma paradigms (~ 3,000 studies, published in English, Chinese, and Japanese). The CoDa platform involves a semantic-based search tool for people to conduct a targeted searched of these studies and compute their own on-demand meta-analyses. At this workshop, developers of the Cooperation Databank (CoDa) will give a tutorial and exercise in using the platform, and participants will have a hands on experience in doing in their own meta-analyses of cooperation literature and learn how this can be used to enhance their own research programs.

    Accessing and analyzing big data

    Taught by Roger White

    In this tutorial, students will learn how to access and analyze existing data from public and private business-related sources to answer questions about cooperation and cheating in markets. The tutorial will cover a variety of data sources, including the Wharton Research Data Services (WRDS) which is a source of big data often used in business schools to investigate human behavior in markets. 

    Mathematical modeling of public goods games

    Taught by Arunas Radzvilavicius

    From managing fisheries to tackling climate change, human interactions can be modeled as public goods games – everyone is better off if the whole society contributes, but because cooperation is costly, individuals are tempted to act selfishly. In this computational modeling tutorial, we will build an evolutionary public goods game model illustrating the infamous ‘tragedy of the commons’. We will look for solutions to this collective action problem by modifying the model to include multilevel selection, conditional cooperation strategies or peer punishment.

    Rhythm and music as a tool for cooperation

    Taught by Jessica Phillips-Silver

    Rhythm is a major tool for human connection and cooperation, and the benefits go far beyond our enjoyment of music and dance. From infancy, rhythm integrates sound with movement using a brain circuit for anticipation, timing and action (the Auditory Dorsal Stream). This brain circuit enables rhythmic entrainment, which refers to synchronization in time (to the beat) and in affect (shared emotion). Rhythmic entrainment facilitates bonding and prosocial behavior including cooperation. Examining rhythm as a tool for connection can help us to understand how the human brain evolved for cooperation, and what needs to be done to foster it further.

    Evolutionary modeling of genetic conflict

    Taught by Arvid Ågren

    For the past half-century, the gene’s-eye view of evolution, also known as selfish gene theory, has been an indispensable tool in the study of conflict and cooperation. In particular, it is a powerful heuristic to develop new hypothesis about the genetics of social evolution. However, intuition can only take us so far. This tutorial will focus on translating verbal ideas into simple population genetic models to test the logic of an argument.

    Adaptive Dynamics Modeling for Cooperation

    Taught by Regis Ferrier

    This tutorial will provide a short introduction to adaptive dynamics modeling and show student how to apply it to the evolution of cooperation.

    Design and analysis of economic games

    Taught by Tamar Kugler

    Description coming soon.

    Additional Tutorials TBD

    Coming soon.

  • Travel, lodging and logistics


    Students in the summer school should fly in and out of Phoenix Skyharbor Airport (PHX). Travel grants will be available for students in need to help cover the costs for domestic travel (up to $300 US) and international travel (up to $500 US). Students should plan to arrive the day before the winter school begins (Jan 5) and leave either the day after it ends (Jan 11) or the following day (Jan 12) if they wish to join the Grand Canyon Tour (see below). Do not make travel arrangements until you have received an official acceptance to the winter school.


    Lodging will be provided at double occupancy for all students. This is included in the cost of registration.


    Registration for the winter school is heavily subsidized by the Interdisciplinary Cooperation Initiative at ASU and the President's Office. The cost to students for registration, which includes attendance in all sessions, and tutorials, as well as lodging and most meals, is $550 US. Registration grants are available for students in need to cover an additional $300 US of the registration cost.

    Optional Grand Canyon Tour

    Students will be invited to join an optional day tour of the Grand Canyon at a small additional cost on January 11th. This tour is operated by a professional tour company and will include several stops in Northern Arizona. 

  • Scientific Planning Committee

    The Scientific Planning Committee for the ASU Interdisciplinary Cooperation Winter School

    Athena Aktipis

    Psychology, ASU

    Aktipis is the Director of the Interdisciplinary Cooperation Initiative at ASU and the co-Director of the Human Generosity Project . She is a lecturer in the winter school as well.

    Lee Cronk

    Anthropology, Rutgers U

    Cronk is the co-Director of the Human Generosity Project and a lecturer in the winter school.

    Nichola Raihani

    Psychology, UCL

    Raihani is a Professor and author. She is a lecturer in the winter school as well as being on the scientific planning committee.

    Michael Hechter

    Political Science, ASU

    Hechter is the Associate Director of the Interdisciplinary Cooperation Initiative at ASU and assisted with planning this winter school.

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