Joint commitments and joint action in humans and great apes
While cooperation is widespread in the animal kingdom, fully-fledged joint action is unique to humans. Joint action involves shared intentionality, or the ability to envision one’s individual actions as part of a larger endeavor, as well as a reciprocal, or joint, commitment to furthering that endeavor. Joint commitment can be described as both a product and a process. I will describe the state-of-the-art on how humans enter into, maintain, suspend, reinstate, and exit from joint commitments. The analysis of joint commitment-as-process provides a more comprehensive window on the extent to which our closest relatives, the great apes, exhibit a sense of commitment when engaging in cooperative actions.