The Cooperation Lab was founded in 2019 by Dr Manon Schweinfurth and focuses on the evolutionary and psychological origins of cooperation. Specifically, we aim at understanding how and why seemingly altruistic behaviours emerge and persist in a competitive world. To this end, we study several species. Our current focus lies on chimpanzees and Norway rats in lab, zoo and sanctuary settings in addition to humans.


We are based in the School of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of St Andrews. Our lab is part of the Origins of Mind Research Group, the Centre for Social Learning and Cognitive Evolution and the Institute of Behavioural and Neural Sciences. We are an international, collaborative and interdisciplinary lab, working on a range of exciting questions, while combining different disciplines and collecting data on animals and humans. We benefit from shared seminars and close collaborations within and between different schools of the University of St Andrews. In addition, there is an interactive Comparative Primatology community within Scotland, i.e. the Scottish Primate Research Group.

We are over the moon to announce that our Special Issue The Principle of Reciprocation has been published in Ethology! It has been a truly wonderful experience collecting contributions on reciprocal cooperation in a wide range of species across academic disciplines while covering empirical and theoretical evidence. A huge shout out to all authors and reviewers for making this possible. We might be biased, but it's a great read...

We are very grateful to have received generous funding to conduct our research from: