Two people can learn to cooperate with each other intuitively – without communication or any conscious intention to cooperate. But this process breaks down in groups of three or more.
A study by members of the University of Leicester’s School of Psychology and Department of Economics set out to explain how two people learn to cooperate without even knowing that they are interacting with each other. In larger groups, explicit communication is needed to coordinate actions.
“Married couples or pairs of business partners may be able to rely on this type of intuitive cooperation, to an extent, but larger groups need explicit communication and planning. Mechanisms need to be put in place to facilitate it. Intuitive cooperation is really a case of two’s company, but three’s a crowd.”