May 16, 2018
It is with great sadness that we share the news that Toshio Yamagishi passed away last week, due to illness at the age of 70. He is survived by his wife, Midori Yamagishi.
Education and career
Toshio Yamagishi received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Hitotsubashi University in sociology, and his doctoral degree in sociology from the University of Washington in 1981. Soon after, he started his teaching career at Hokkaido University, then moved to the University of Washington in 1985, and back in Japan at Hokkaido University in 1988. After retirement in 2012 from Hokkaido University, he moved to the Brain Science Institute at Tamagawa University, then to the Center for Research in Evolutionary Cognitive Sciences at the University of Tokyo, and finally to the current position at Hitotsubashi ICS.
Some examples of his major contributions
Toshio’s research has made landmark contributions to numerous topics. His early-career research on elementary and instrumental cooperation has been very influential, especially in the last 15 years or so when his insights were part of theorizing and research on reward and punishment in social dilemmas. His work on trust has always been strong in theory and research, and his ideas have become central to cross-national research on trust, including great attention to the differences between Japan and the United States. After his work on heuristics in social dilemmas, with an emphasis on reciprocity or exchange as a heuristic, he extended this work to make a novel theoretical and empirical contribution to intergroup cooperation (bounded generalized reciprocity). Throughout his career, Toshio bridged several disciplines, including sociology, economics, psychology, biology, and more recently, neuroscience.
Inspired by ideas and generosity
Most people probably know that Toshio’s research was always rich in terms of theory. He was inspiring and a wonderful mentor to numerous PhD students, who delivered fantastic presentations at conferences of social dilemmas. Toshio was also inspiring to many colleagues around the world: junior and senior, among economists, psychologists, and sociologists. He would invite many of these colleagues to Sapporo or Tokyo, and was always an incredibly generous host, not only in offering excellent food and accommodations, but also by being an inspirational colleague who was always ready and willing to discuss ideas for hours. Research meetings could easily go on for 12 hours or longer. Every now and then he would open his laptop and test these ideas on the spot. As a self-described “craftsman” in the art of experimental design, Toshio strived towards perfection in designing optimal studies to test his ideas. And anyone who was lucky enough to work next to him, quickly realized the level of detail he would approach thinking about his experiments. Indeed, he was a true craftsman, and an inspiration for us all.
We will remember Toshio not only as a truly amazing and inspiring scientist, but also as extremely generous and warm person who wanted to exchange, but above all, to give and share. Toshio will be deeply missed.
Daniel Balliet and Paul van Lange
New book on Social Dilemmas, Institutions, and the Evolution of Cooperation
For more info on this book, see this website.
New book in Oxford Series in Human Cooperation
Trust in Social Dilemmas, by Paul A.M. Van Lange, Bettina Rockenbach, and Toshio Yamagishi (Eds)
One of the key scientific challenges is the puzzle of human cooperation. Why do people cooperate with one another? What causes individuals to lend a helping hand to a stranger, even if it comes at a major cost to their own well-being? Why do people severely punish those who violate social norms and undermine the collective interest? Edited by Paul A.M. Van Lange, Bettina Rockenbach, and Toshio Yamagishi, Trust in Social Dilemmas carefully considers the role of trust in establishing, promoting, and maintaining overall human cooperation.
By exploring the impact of trust and effective cooperation on relationships, organizations, and communities, Trust in Social Dilemmas draws inspiration from the fact that social dilemmas, defined in terms of conflicts between self-interest and the collective interest, are omnipresent in today’s society. In capturing the breadth and relevance of trust to social dilemmas and human cooperation more generally, this book is structured in three effective parts for readers: the biology and development of trust; the importance of trust for groups and organizations; and how trust factors across the overall health of today’s society.
For a discount on the Oxford University Press Series in Human Cooperation, see:
17th International Conference on Social Dilemmas (2017)
The 17th International Conference on Social Dilemmas was held on Sicily (Italy) in June 2017. The primary organizers were Daniel Balliet, Nancy Buchan and the Amsterdam Cooperation Lab.
For more information about the program of this conference, see here.