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Created by John C. Thomas on Feb. 25, 2002

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Synonyms Group Bonding, In-Group Formation

Human beings are intrinsically social animals. Cooperative behavior allows groups of people to do much more collectively than they can do singly. Yet, not everyone is to be trusted in all circumstances. How can people balance the need for cooperation with the need to beware of those who would exploit them? One answer is to develop an “in-group”; that is, a set of people that is has a higher level of trust; a group that one gives to, perhaps altruistically. This group can be a mate-pair, a family, a team, a clan, a community, or a nation. Although bonding helps a group learn from each other, become more productive and defend against outsiders, it is also an end in itself.

Cooperation and collaboration can result in higher levels of pleasure and survival for the group and its members (as well as the entire species). Yet, some may take advantage of attempts to cooperate (e.g., by “defecting, in “Prisoner’s Dilemma” parlance) and hurt the individual or other members of the group. How can one help insure that cooperation attempts do not simply lead to being exploited?

People have differences in resources, skills, abilities or interests that lead them to specialize and trade. In many cases, it is too onerous, time-consuming, and inefficient to haggle over a monetary exchange for every single action in every single cooperative endeavor.

· People differ in their abilities, skills, interests, and resources.
· It takes an impractical amount of effort to monitor contributions made to a collaborative endeavor.
· Collaboration and cooperation may lead to better outcomes.
· Collaboration and cooperation may lead some people to take advantage by freeloading, stealing, defecting, etc.
· People enjoy bonding with others and are motivated to do so as an end in itself as well as a means to other ends.

Develop an in-group of identified people that enjoy a higher degree of trust and who, in turn, are likely to prove more trustworthy.

Examples Patterns that Support Social Bonding include the Categories:

Special Events.

and Special Places

An example of a "Special Place" is the Pattern: Abstract Social Proxy.

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