Groups often struggle to balance incentives for individual members with incentives for the collective group. In standard common pool resource problems , , individuals are tempted to maximize individual resources, but this behavior destroys the resource and ultimately harms everyone. Conflicting incentives in real world situations such as pollution and harvesting of natural resources understandably stretch a group’s ability to coordinate for the common good, but it is still unclear how group members coordinate their actions in more constrained situations where only a shared goal exists.
Humans routinely form groups to achieve goals that no individual can accomplish alone, and presumably groups must flexibly and adaptively coordinate members’ efforts in order to achieve shared goals. For example, research labs rely on the combined contributions of individuals to develop a research program and lab reputation that leads to grant funding, which may in turn benefit all of the lab’s researchers. Similarly, statistical analyses in baseball and basketball increasingly value players based on the team’s performance while the player is in the game, rather than individual statistics such as points scored .