Indirect Reciprocity With Negative Assortment and Limited Information Can Promote Cooperation

Brush E, Brännström A, Dieckmann U, & Brännström Å (2018). Indirect Reciprocity With Negative Assortment and Limited Information Can Promote Cooperation. Journal of Theoretical Biology 443: 56-65. DOI:10.1016/j.jtbi.2018.01.005.

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Abstract

Cooperation is ubiquitous in biological and social systems, even though cooperative behavior is often costly and at risk of exploitation by non-cooperators. Several studies have demonstrated that indirect reciprocity, whereby some members of a group observe the behaviors of their peers and use this information to discriminate against previously uncooperative agents in the future, can promote prosocial behavior. Some studies have shown that differential propensities of interacting among and between different types of agents (interaction assortment) can increase the effectiveness of indirect reciprocity. No previous studies have, however, considered differential propensities of observing the behaviors of different types of agents (information assortment). Furthermore, most previous studies have assumed that discriminators possess perfect information about others and incur no costs for gathering and storing this information. Here, we (1) consider both interaction assortment and information assortment, (2) assume discriminators have limited information about others, and (3) introduce a cost for information gathering and storage, in order to understand how the ability of discriminators to stabilize cooperation is affected by these steps toward increased realism. We report the following findings. First, cooperation can persist when agents preferentially interact with agents of other types or when discriminators preferentially observe other discriminators, even when they have limited information. Second, contrary to intuition, increasing the amount of information available to discriminators can exacerbate defection. Third, introducing costs of gathering and storing information makes it more difficult for discriminators to stabilize cooperation. Our study broadens the set of circumstances in which it is known that cooperation can be maintained and is one of only a few studies to date that show how negative interaction assortment can promote cooperation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Evolution; Game theory; Knowledge; Replicator dynamics; reputation
Research Programs: Evolution and Ecology (EEP)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2018 09:29
Last Modified: 19 Apr 2018 07:16
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/15047

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