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Evolving Ecological Social Dilemmas: A Spatial Individual-Based Model for the Evolution of Cooperation with a Minimal Number of Parameters

Author(s): H. Fort

Journal: Research Letters in Ecology
ISSN 1687-6768

Volume: 2007;
Date: 2007;
Original page

Cooperation, both intraspecific and interspecific, is a well-documented phenomenon in nature that is not well understood. Evolutionary game theory is a powerful tool to approach this problem. However, it has important limitations. First, very often it is not obvious which game is more appropriate to use. Second, in general, identical payoff matrices are assumed for all players, a situation that is highly unlikely in nature. Third, slight changes in these payoff values can dramatically alter the outcomes. Here, I use an evolutionary spatial model in which players do not have a universal payoff matrix, so no payoff parameters are required. Instead, each is equipped with random values for the payoffs, fulfilling the constraints that define the game(s). These payoff matrices evolve by natural selection. Two versions of this model are studied. First is a simpler one, with just one evolving payoff. Second is the “full” version, with all the four payoffs evolving. The fraction of cooperator agents converges in both versions to nonzero values. In the case of the full version, the initial heterogeneity disappears and the selected game is the “Stag Hunt.”
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