Skip to Main Content

Human Cooperation and Social Networks Lab Group

An exploration of the pro-social behavior among humans, the conditions and strategies by which group living is made possible, and the obstacles to building cooperation and peace on a number of social scales.
led by Dr. John Ziker.

The Human Cooperation and Social Networks lab group addresses multiple methods including online and field experiments, behavioral economics, social network analysis, and ethnographic field research. Social networks play a central role in cooperative vs. non-cooperative behavior, such as learning, economic exchange, adoption of new products, the languages and terminologies we use, disease transmission, as well as whether or not we decide to become criminals or pious religious functionaries. Network analysis helps to understand how network structures impact behavior, and how networks structures develop in the first place.

The lab group focuses on discussions of classic and recently published studies, and developing research projects in collaboration with graduate and undergraduate students.

What will you learn from participating in this lab group?

  1. Gain familiarity with classic and recent literature on the evolution of cooperation.
  2. Gain familiarity with the design and implementation of research methods, including behavioral experiments, social network analysis, and ethnographic fieldwork.
  3. How to design and implement a research project.
  4. How to prepare data for coding and analysis.
  5. How to prepare a poster or paper presentation at a conference.

What will be required from you if you choose to participate?

  1. Attend weekly lab meetings (Fridays at noon) and a willingness to invest a total of three hours per week over the semester (per credit hour earned) in a disciplined, responsible manner, often requiring self-supervision.
  2. Dedication and responsibility focused on learning and following procedures, reporting your activities and findings in detail, and asking questions whenever uncertainties arise.

The lab is ongoing. Register for ANTH 479-002 Undergraduate Research to receive an upper-division anthropology elective credit that can be repeated. One credit hour equals 45 hours per semester, including readings and weekly meetings. For more information contact Dr. John Ziker at (208) 426-2121 or