A famed political scientist's classic argument for a more cooperative world We assume that, in a world ruled by natural selection, selfishness pays. So why cooperate? In The Evolution of Cooperation, political scientist Robert Axelrod seeks to answer this question. In 1980, he organized the famed Computer Prisoners Dilemma Tournament, which sought to find the optimal strategy for survival in a particular game. Over and over, the simplest strategy, a cooperative program called Tit for Tat, shut out the competition. In other words, cooperation, not unfettered competition, turns out to be our best chance for survival. A vital book for leaders and decision makers, The Evolution of Cooperation reveals how cooperative principles help us think better about everything from military strategy, to political elections, to family dynamics.
Seeking to help exchanges between researchers in different disciplines, the 90th Dahlem Workshop was convened. This book, which grew out of that meeting, addresses such topics as emotions in human co-operation, reciprocity, biological markets and co-operation and conflict in multi-cellularity.
This paper examines evolutionary dynamic behavior in the finitely repeated prisoner's dilemma. It is first noted that the fitness of cooperation found in the best known simulation of this type, that by Robert Axelrod, stems from strategy set restrictions that altered Nash equilibrium behavior: Axelrod's restricted game has a continuum of pure cooperation equilibria and no pure defection equilibrium. New simulations, maintaining the finite game's equilibrium structure, are presented here. It is found that although cooperation is ultimately exploited and extinguished, dynamic paths can pseudo converge in ways that allow partial cooperation to flourish for extended periods of time. (Author) (kr).
The question of how cooperation and social order can evolve from a Hobbesian state of nature of a “war of all against all” has always been at the core of social scientific inquiry. Social dilemmas are the main analytical paradigm used by social scientists to explain competition, cooperation, and conflict in human groups. The formal analysis of social dilemmas allows for identifying the conditions under which cooperation evolves or unravels. This knowledge informs the design of institutions that promote cooperative behavior. Yet to gain practical relevance in policymaking and institutional design, predictions derived from the analysis of social dilemmas must be put to an empirical test. The collection of articles in this book gives an overview of state-of-the-art research on social dilemmas, institutions, and the evolution of cooperation. It covers theoretical contributions and offers a broad range of examples on how theoretical insights can be empirically verified and applied to cooperation problems in everyday life. By bringing together a group of distinguished scholars, the book fills an important gap in sociological scholarship and addresses some of the most interesting questions of human sociality.
We examine a formal model of the way a growing population selects behavior. The members of the population engage in randomly-selected binary interactions, with payoffs representing a Prisoners' Dilemma. We assume that players can recognize each other if they have met before, and adopt one of two dynamic strategies; they either play the non-cooperative strategy (G) at every move, which we denote D, or they play a tit-for-tat strategy, in which they begin by playing the cooperative move(C) and continue playing C if the opponent's last move was C and G if the opponent's last move was G. This latter strategy is denoted T. The interactions are repeated, and two players meet again with probability delta epsilon (0,1). Formally, it is as if each player met a random member of the population and played a discounted supergame with discount factor delta forever afterwards. We assume that the population and the mix of behaviors changes over time in a simple fashion. These qualitative dynamics will allow us to say something about the stability of various regimes of behavior in terms of population size and behavior. The organization of the paper is as follows. Section II contains the model and definitions, and examines the evolution of cooperative behavior for the special case of a static population. Section III combines the dynamics of behavior with those of population growth. Finally, Section IV relates the present results to results of repeated play where players are rational.
Despite the depiction of nature "red in tooth and claw," cooperation is actually widespread in the animal kingdom. Various types of cooperative behaviors have been documented in everything from insects to primates, and in every imaginable ecological scenario. Yet why animals cooperate is still a hotly contested question in literature on evolution and animal behavior. This book examines the history surrounding the study of cooperation, and proceeds to examine the conceptual, theoretical and empirical work on this fascinating subject. Early on, it outlines the four different categories of cooperation -- reciprocal altruism, kinship, group-selected cooperation and byproduct mutualism -- and ties these categories together in a single framework called the Cooperator's Dilemma. Hundreds of studies on cooperation in insects, fish, birds and mammals are reviewed. Cooperation in this wide array of taxa includes, but is not limited to, cooperative hunting, anti-predator behavior, foraging, sexual coalitions, grooming, helpers-at-the nest, territoriality, 'policing' behavior and group thermoregulation. Each example outlined is tied back to the theoretical framework developed early on, whenever the data allows. Future experiments designed to further elucidate a particular type of cooperation are provided throughout the book.
The field of experimental evolution is burgeoning under the power of microbial systems. Our ability to manipulate experimental design for use with microbes is only limited by our imagination. This thesis is a study that uses Pseudomonas fluorescens, a soil dwelling bacterium, as an experimental tool for understanding evolutionary processes. The evolution of cooperation has been a thorny issue for many years, because it initially seems to contradict the intrinsically selfish concepts established in Darwin s theory of evolution by natural selection. Advances in microbiology and the ability to test important evolutionary theories using microbes, provides an exciting opportunity for those working in the field of experimental evolution.
Cooperation among humans is one of the keys to our great evolutionary success. Natalie and Joseph Henrich examine this phenomena with a unique fusion of theoretical work on the evolution of cooperation, ethnographic descriptions of social behavior, and a range of other experimental results. Their experimental and ethnographic data come from a small, insular group of middle-class Iraqi Christians called Chaldeans, living in metro Detroit, whom the Henrichs use as an example to show how kinship relations, ethnicity, and culturally transmitted traditions provide the key to explaining the evolution of cooperation over multiple generations.
Why do humans, uniquely among animals, cooperate in large numbers to advance projects for the common good? Contrary to the conventional wisdom in biology and economics, this generous and civic-minded behavior is widespread and cannot be explained simply by far-sighted self-interest or a desire to help close genealogical kin. In A Cooperative Species, Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis--pioneers in the new experimental and evolutionary science of human behavior--show that the central issue is not why selfish people act generously, but instead how genetic and cultural evolution has produced a species in which substantial numbers make sacrifices to uphold ethical norms and to help even total strangers. The authors describe how, for thousands of generations, cooperation with fellow group members has been essential to survival. Groups that created institutions to protect the civic-minded from exploitation by the selfish flourished and prevailed in conflicts with less cooperative groups. Key to this process was the evolution of social emotions such as shame and guilt, and our capacity to internalize social norms so that acting ethically became a personal goal rather than simply a prudent way to avoid punishment. Using experimental, archaeological, genetic, and ethnographic data to calibrate models of the coevolution of genes and culture as well as prehistoric warfare and other forms of group competition, A Cooperative Species provides a compelling and novel account of how humans came to be moral and cooperative.
This book explains the evolution of human cooperation in tribal societies using insights from game theory, ethnography and archaeology.
This original and timely monograph describes a unique self-contained excursion that reveals to the readers the roles of two basic cognitive abilities, i.e. intention recognition and arranging commitments, in the evolution of cooperative behavior. This book analyses intention recognition, an important ability that helps agents predict others’ behavior, in its artificial intelligence and evolutionary computational modeling aspects, and proposes a novel intention recognition method. Furthermore, the book presents a new framework for intention-based decision making and illustrates several ways in which an ability to recognize intentions of others can enhance a decision making process. By employing the new intention recognition method and the tools of evolutionary game theory, this book introduces computational models demonstrating that intention recognition promotes the emergence of cooperation within populations of self-regarding agents. Finally, the book describes how commitment provides a pathway to the evolution of cooperative behavior, and how it further empowers intention recognition, thereby leading to a combined improved strategy.
Abstract: We study the evolution of cooperation in a finite population interacting according to a simple model of like-with-like assortment. Evolution proceeds as a Moran process, and payoffs from the underlying cooperator–defector game are translated to positive fitnesses by an exponential transformation. These evolutionary dynamics can arise, for example, in a nest-structured population with rare migration. The use of the exponential transformation, rather than the usual linear one, is appropriate when interactions have multiplicative fitness effects, and allows for a tractable characterisation of the effect of assortment on the evolution of cooperation. We define two senses in which a greater degree of assortment can favour the evolution of cooperation, the first stronger than the second: (i) greater assortment increases, at all population states, the probability that the number of cooperators increases, relative to the probability that the number of defectors increases; and (ii) greater assortment increases the fixation probability of cooperation, relative to that of defection. We show that, by the stronger definition, greater assortment favours the evolution of cooperation for a subset of cooperative dilemmas: prisoners' dilemmas, snowdrift games, stag-hunt games, and some prisoners' delight games. For other cooperative dilemmas, greater assortment favours cooperation by the weak definition, but not by the strong definition. We also show that increasing assortment expands the set of games in which cooperation dominates the evolutionary dynamics. Our results hold for any strength of selection. Abstract : Highlights: We model evolution as a Moran process with assortment. Assortment is governed by a single parameter r . The results of interactions accord to a cooperative dilemma. These game payoffs translate to fitnesses exponentially. Greater r favours cooperation for most cooperative dilemmas.
Examines the importance of cooperation in human beings and in nature, arguing that this social tool is as an important aspect of evolution as mutation and natural selection.
Robert Axelrod is widely known for his groundbreaking work in game theory and complexity theory. He is a leader in applying computer modeling to social science problems. His book The Evolution of Cooperation has been hailed as a seminal contribution and has been translated into eight languages since its initial publication. The Complexity of Cooperation is a sequel to that landmark book. It collects seven essays, originally published in a broad range of journals, and adds an extensive new introduction to the collection, along with new prefaces to each essay and a useful new appendix of additional resources. Written in Axelrod's acclaimed, accessible style, this collection serves as an introductory text on complexity theory and computer modeling in the social sciences and as an overview of the current state of the art in the field. The articles move beyond the basic paradigm of the Prisoner's Dilemma to study a rich set of issues, including how to cope with errors in perception or implementation, how norms emerge, and how new political actors and regions of shared culture can develop. They use the shared methodology of agent-based modeling, a powerful technique that specifies the rules of interaction between individuals and uses computer simulation to discover emergent properties of the social system. The Complexity of Cooperation is essential reading for all social scientists who are interested in issues of cooperation and complexity.
In this 1982 book, the theory of games, first developed to analyse economic behaviour, is modified so that it can be applied to evolving populations. John Maynard Smith's concept of an evolutionarily stable strategy is relevant whenever the best thing for an animal or plant to do depends on what others are doing. The theory leads to testable predictions about the evolution of behaviour, of sex and genetic systems, and of growth and life history patterns. This book contains a full account of the theory, and of the data relevant to it. The account is aimed at senior undergraduate and graduate students, teachers and research workers in animal behaviour, population genetics and evolutionary biology. The book will also be of interest to mathematicians and game theorists; the mathematics has been largely confined to appendixes so that the main text may be easily followed by biologists.
Evolution, Games, and God explores how cooperation and altruism, alongside mutation and natural selection, play a critical role in evolution, from microbes to human societies. Inheriting a tendency to cooperate and self-sacrifice on behalf of others may be as beneficial to a population’s survival as the self-preserving instincts of individuals.