Exploration dynamics in evolutionary games

Traulsen, A., Hauert, C., De Silva, H., Nowak, M.A., & Sigmund, K. (2009). Exploration dynamics in evolutionary games. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106 (3) 709-712. 10.1073/pnas.0808450106.

[thumbnail of Exploration dynamics in evolutionary games.pdf]
Exploration dynamics in evolutionary games.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (439kB) | Preview


Evolutionary game theory describes systems where individual success is based on the interaction with others. We consider a system in which players unconditionally imitate more successful strategies but sometimes also explore the available strategies at random. Most research has focused on how strategies spread via genetic reproduction or cultural imitation, but random exploration of the available set of strategies has received less attention so far. In genetic settings, the latter corresponds to mutations in the DNA, whereas in cultural evolution, it describes individuals experimenting with new behaviors. Genetic mutations typically occur with very small probabilities, but random exploration of available strategies in behavioral experiments is common. We term this phenomenon "exploration dynamics" to contrast it with the traditional focus on imitation. As an illustrative example of the emerging evolutionary dynamics, we consider a public goods game with cooperators and defectors and add punishers and the option to abstain from the enterprise in further scenarios. For small mutation rates, cooperation (and punishment) is possible only if interactions are voluntary, whereas moderate mutation rates can lead to high levels of cooperation even in compulsory public goods games. This phenomenon is investigated through numerical simulations and analytical approximations.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cooperation; Costly punishment; Finite populations; Mutation rates
Research Programs: Evolution and Ecology (EEP)
Bibliographic Reference: PNAS; 106(3):709-712 (20 January 2009)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:42
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:20
URI: https://pure.iiasa.ac.at/8873

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item