Divorce is good for us

After all the bad press divorce has received recently by causing damage to the environment, some scientists are actually suggesting that it can be a good thing. This article in the Telegraph today reports that a group of mathematicians and biologists are proposing that when individuals in a population are choosy about their partners cooperativeness is rewarded and tends to increase, and divorce enables them to be choosy. As Professor John McNamara explains: "an individual's level of choosiness determines the level of cooperation demanded of its partner. If the current partner is not cooperative enough the individual stops interacting with this partner and seeks a better partner, even though finding a new partner incurs costs". Or, to put it another way: when an individual's cooperativeness is used by other individuals as a choice criterion, there can be competition to be more generous than others, a situation called 'competitive altruism'. Such a theory could help explain why humans tend to cooperate, in contravention of the 'selfishness' of natural selection.