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Description: Humans track the reputations of others and are motivated to compete for valuable social partners. The value a potential partner generates for others is a function of willingness to cooperate and ability to generate benefits. Moreover, preferences for either trait should be responsive to variance of each trait in the population. Here, we test the flexibility of partner choice psychology among Hadza hunter-gatherers of Tanzania. Ninety-two Hadza ranked their campmates on generosity and foraging ability and then shared resources with those campmates. We found Hadza with greater exposure to other cultures shared more with campmates ranked higher on generosity, whereas Hadza with lower exposure showed a smaller preference for sharing with generous campmates. This moderating effect was specific to generosity—regardless of exposure, Hadza showed only a small preference for sharing with better foragers. We argue this change in preferences is due to high exposure Hadza having more experience cooperating with others in the absence of strong norms of sharing, and thus are exposed greater variance in willingness to cooperate among potential partners. Under these conditions, participants place a greater emphasis on choosing more generous partners, highlighting the flexibility of partner preferences.

License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International


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