University of California, San Diego
The functioning and well-being of any society and organisation hinges on norms of cooperation that regulate social activities. There is no empirical evidence on how such norms emerge and in which environments they thrive remains a clear void in the literature. We compare behaviour in Brazilian fishermen societies that differ in the workplace organisation. In one society (by the sea), fishermen are forced to work in groups, whereas in the adjacent society (on a lake) fishing is inherently an individual activity. We report that the sea fishermen trust and cooperate more and have greater ability to coordinate group actions than their lake counterparts.