Objectives The purpose of the present study was to examine the predictive capabilities of sportspersonship, moral competence, and emotional intelligence on cooperation in varying competitive conditions. Design An experimental study was conducted, examining responses in a prisoner's dilemma game with manipulated conditions. Method Forty-three participants were randomly assigned to an accumulative or competitive condition, in which they contested 10 rounds of choosing to cooperate or defect. Results Whether the condition was accumulative or competitive did not significantly predict cooperation. In the final round of each contest however, cooperation was significantly reduced. Sportspersonship predicted a significant amount of cooperation percentage, while final round cooperation was predicted by emotional intelligence. Conclusions Cooperation is in part determined by individual levels of sportspersonship in all conditions except when actions are free of future consequence. In such conditions, emotional intelligence appears to be a stronger indicator of cooperation. The implications of the study are that researchers and practitioners should consider how to develop sportspersonship and emotional intelligence to boost cooperation in various domains.