Are Humans Generous By Nature?

The Human Generosity Project is the first large-scale transdisciplinary research project to investigate the interrelationship between biological and cultural influences on human generosity. We use multiple methodologies to understand the nature and evolution of human generosity including fieldwork, laboratory experiments and computational modeling.

Colette Doing Fieldwork, 2015


From herders and hunter-gatherers in Africa, to Fijian fisher-horticulturalists and American ranchers, the HGP is asking fundamental questions about why humans share during times of need. Our team of anthropologists is working at seven sites around the world doing qualitative and quantitative studies of human generosity.

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Outreach Cattle Game Buttons Cropped


The HGP organizes outreach activities to apply our emerging understanding of human sharing in times of need to topics including resource management and disaster recovery. We are also working with the Exploratorium science museum in San Francisco to develop museum exhibits based on human sharing across societies.

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Exploratorium Cattle Game

News & Blog

“No way! I lost a lot of cows last year!” is not something you’d expect to hear on the floor of a science museum. But with the introduction of an interactive exhibit called The Survival Game, modeled on a resource-sharing system used by East African pastoralists, discussions about livestock are becoming more and more common at the Exploratorium … [Read more]

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The Human Generosity Project added 2 new photos — with Lee Cronk.

Project co-Directors Aktipis and Cronk visit Matt Gervais' fieldsite in the northern tip of the Yasawa Islands in Fiji.
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