Coevolution of public goods game and networks based on survival of the fittest.
ABSTRACT: We introduce a random strategy update rule for the evolutionary public goods game on networks based on survival of the fittest. A survival cost parameter is introduced to public goods game. Players whose payoffs are below the survival cost will be deleted from the network. The same number of new nodes are randomly connected to the network and randomly designated cooperation or defection. Numerical results show that cooperation can flourish if the multiplication factor of the public goods game is greater than the network degree. We present a simple analytical method to explain this result. The fraction of cooperators reaches the maximum for a suitable survival cost. Furthermore, the initial random network has evolved into a heterogeneous network which facilitates the emergence of the cooperation. Our work could be helpful to understand how natural selection favors cooperation. It suggests a new method to investigate the impact of the survival cost on the evolution of cooperation.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Microbial communities are susceptible to the public goods dilemma, whereby individuals can gain an advantage within a group by utilizing, but not sharing the cost of producing, public goods. In bacteria, the development of quorum sensing (QS) can establish a cooperation system in a population by coordinating the production of costly and sharable extracellular products (public goods). Cooperators with intact QS system and robust ability in producing public goods are vulnerable to being undermined by QS-deficient defectors that escape from QS but benefit from the cooperation of others. Although microorganisms have evolved several mechanisms to resist cheating invasion in the public goods game, it is not clear why cooperators frequently coexist with defectors and how they form a relatively stable equilibrium during evolution. RESULTS:We show that in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, QS-directed social cooperation can select a conditional defection strategy prior to the emergence of QS-mutant defectors, depending on resource availability. Conditional defectors represent a QS-inactive state of wild type (cooperator) individual and can invade QS-activated cooperators by adopting a cheating strategy, and then revert to cooperating when there are abundant nutrient supplies irrespective of the exploitation of QS-mutant defector. Our mathematical modeling further demonstrates that the incorporation of conditional defection strategy into the framework of iterated public goods game with sound punishment mechanism can lead to the coexistence of cooperator, conditional defector, and defector in a rock-paper-scissors dynamics. CONCLUSIONS:These findings highlight the importance of behavioral heterogeneity in stabilizing the population structure and provide a potential reasonable explanation for the maintenance and evolution of cooperation in microbial communities.
Project description:It is often assumed that in public goods games, contributors are either strong or weak players and each individual has an equal probability of exhibiting cooperation. It is difficult to explain why the public good is produced by strong individuals in some cooperation systems, and by weak individuals in others. Viewing the asymmetric volunteer's dilemma game as an evolutionary game, we find that whether the strong or the weak players produce the public good depends on the initial condition (i.e., phenotype or initial strategy of individuals). These different evolutionarily stable strategies (ESS) associated with different initial conditions, can be interpreted as the production modes of public goods of different cooperation systems. A further analysis revealed that the strong player adopts a pure strategy but mixed strategies for the weak players to produce the public good, and that the probability of volunteering by weak players decreases with increasing group size or decreasing cost-benefit ratio. Our model shows that the defection probability of a "strong" player is greater than the "weak" players in the model of Diekmann (1993). This contradicts Selten's (1980) model that public goods can only be produced by a strong player, is not an evolutionarily stable strategy, and will therefore disappear over evolutionary time. Our public good model with ESS has thus extended previous interpretations that the public good can only be produced by strong players in an asymmetric game.
Project description:The occurrence and maintenance of cooperative behaviors in public goods systems have attracted great research attention across multiple disciplines. A threshold public goods game requires a minimum amount of contributions to be collected from a group of individuals for provision to occur. Here we extend the common binary-strategy combination of cooperation and defection by adding a third strategy, called insured cooperation, which corresponds to buying an insurance covering the potential loss resulted from the unsuccessful public goods game. Particularly, only the contributing agents can opt to be insured, which is an effort decreasing the amount of the potential loss occurring. Theoretical computations suggest that when agents face the potential aggregate risk in threshold public goods games, more contributions occur with increasing compensation from insurance. Moreover, permitting the adoption of insurance significantly enhances individual contributions and facilitates provision, especially when the required threshold is high. This work also relates the strategy competition outcomes to different allocation rules once the resulted contributions exceed the threshold point in populations nested within a dilemma.
Project description:This paper investigates cooperation games in which poor agents do not benefit from cooperation with wealthy agents. They instead benefit from considering wealth relative to decision payoffs of fitness or wealth. Of concern is the effect of cooperation on participants, their rational self-interest and choices, and not the evolution of cooperation directly. The accumulation of fitness or wealth has been shown in the literature to lead to different optimal strategies for wealthy and poor players in Chicken games. The effect could have important explanatory power if it were more broadly applicable. First we empirically compare two published results, one involving the temptation parameter vs. degree of cooperation in Prisoner's Dilemma, and the other a surprising result from a public goods game with participants from different cultures, networks and wealth in which a fixed rather than relative payoff scheme was used. Using the temptation data to calibrate the public goods behavior suggests wealth factors can provide an explanation for the results. Second we show using simulation that adding a survival threshold to a wealth or fitness accumulating Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma produces a wealth relative effect. We clarify previous results to show the poor must avoid survival risk, regardless of whether this is associated with cooperation or defection. We do this by introducing the Farmer's Game, a simulation of Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma with wealth accumulation and a survival threshold. This is used to evaluate the Tit-for-Tat strategy and four variants. Equilibrium payoffs keep the game scaled to social relevance, with a fraction of all payoffs externalized as a turn cost parameter. Findings include poor performance of Tit-for-Tat near the survival threshold, superior performance of low risk strategies for both poor and wealthy players, dependence of survival of the poor near the threshold on Tit-for-Tat forgiveness, unexpected optimization of forgiveness without encountering a social dilemma, improved performance of a diverse mix of strategies, and a more abrupt threshold of social catastrophe for the better performing mix. Lastly we compare cooperating and non-cooperating societies using the simulation and discover disturbing connections between cooperation and familiar non-egalitarian wealth distribution patterns.
Project description:An implicit assumption underpins basic models of the evolution of cooperation, mutualism and altruism: The benefits (or pay-offs) of cooperation and defection are defined by the current frequency or distribution of cooperators. In social dilemmas involving durable public goods (group resources that can persist in the environment-ubiquitous from microbes to humans) this assumption is violated. Here, we examine the consequences of relaxing this assumption, allowing pay-offs to depend on both current and past numbers of cooperators. We explicitly trace the dynamic of a public good created by cooperators, and define pay-offs in terms of the current public good. By raising the importance of cooperative history in determining the current fate of cooperators, durable public goods cause novel dynamics (e.g., transient increases in cooperation in Prisoner's Dilemmas, oscillations in Snowdrift Games, or shifts in invasion thresholds in Stag-hunt Games), while changes in durability can transform one game into another, by moving invasion thresholds for cooperation or conditions for coexistence with defectors. This enlarged view challenges our understanding of social cheats. For instance, groups of cooperators can do worse than groups of defectors, if they inherit fewer public goods, while a rise in defectors no longer entails a loss of social benefits, at least not in the present moment (as highlighted by concerns over environmental lags). Wherever durable public goods have yet to reach a steady state (for instance due to external perturbations), the history of cooperation will define the ongoing dynamics of cooperators.
Project description:Cooperation in biological, social, and economic groups is underpinned by public goods that are generated by group members at some personal cost. Theory predicts that public goods will be exploited by cheaters who benefit from the goods by not paying for them, thereby leading to the collapse of cooperation. This situation, described as the "public goods dilemma" in game theory, makes the ubiquity of cooperation a major evolutionary puzzle. Despite this generalization, the demonstration of genetic background and fitness effects of the public goods dilemma has been limited to interactions between viruses and between cells, and thus its relevance at higher levels of organismal complexity is still largely unexplored. Here we provide experimental evidence for the public goods dilemma in a social insect, the ant Pristomyrmex punctatus. In this species, all workers are involved in both asexual reproduction and cooperative tasks. Genetic cheaters infiltrate field colonies, reproducing more than the workers but shunning cooperative tasks. In laboratory experiments, cheaters outcompeted coexisting workers in both survival and reproduction, although a group composed only of cheaters failed to produce offspring. The operations of the public goods dilemma in P. punctatus showed a remarkable convergence with those in microbial societies, not only in fitness consequences but also in behavioral mechanisms. Our study reinforces the evolutionary impact of cheaters on diverse cooperative systems in the laboratory and in the field.
Project description:Two separate bodies of work have examined whether culture affects cooperation in economic games and whether cooperative or non-cooperative decisions occur more quickly. Here, we connect this work by exploring the relationship between decision time and cooperation in American versus Indian subjects. We use a series of dynamic social network experiments in which subjects play a repeated public goods game: 80 sessions for a total of 1,462 subjects (1,059 from the United States, 337 from India, and 66 from other countries) making 13,560 decisions. In the first round, where subjects do not know if connecting neighbors are cooperative, American subjects are highly cooperative and decide faster when cooperating than when defecting, whereas a majority of Indian subjects defect and Indians decide faster when defecting than when cooperating. Almost the same is true in later rounds where neighbors were previously cooperative (a cooperative environment) except decision time among Indian subjects. However, when connecting neighbors were previously not cooperative (a non-cooperative environment), a large majority of both American and Indian subjects defect, and defection is faster than cooperation among both sets of subjects. Our results imply the cultural background of subjects in their real life affects the speed of cooperation decision-making differentially in online social environments.
Project description:Humans benefit from extensive cooperation; however, the existence of free-riders may cause cooperation to collapse. This is called the social dilemma. It has been shown that punishing free-riders is an effective way of resolving this problem. Because punishment is costly, this gives rise to the second-order social dilemma. Without exception, existing solutions rely on some stringent assumptions. This paper proposes, under very mild conditions, a simple model of a public goods game featuring increasing returns to scale. We find that punishers stand out and even dominate the population provided that the degree of increasing returns to scale is large enough; consequently, the second-order social dilemma dissipates. Historical evidence shows that people are more willing to cooperate with others and punish defectors when they suffer from either internal or external menaces. During the prehistoric age, the abundance of contributors was decisive in joint endeavours such as fighting floods, defending territory, and hunting. These situations serve as favourable examples of public goods games in which the degrees of increasing returns to scale are undoubtedly very large. Our findings show that natural selection has endowed human kind with a tendency to pursue justice and punish defection that deviates from social norms.
Project description:Cooperation played a significant role in the self-organization and evolution of living organisms. Both network topology and the initial position of cooperators heavily affect the cooperation of social dilemma games. We developed a novel simulation program package, called 'NetworGame', which is able to simulate any type of social dilemma games on any model, or real world networks with any assignment of initial cooperation or defection strategies to network nodes. The ability of initially defecting single nodes to break overall cooperation was called as 'game centrality'. The efficiency of this measure was verified on well-known social networks, and was extended to 'protein games', i.e. the simulation of cooperation between proteins, or their amino acids. Hubs and in particular, party hubs of yeast protein-protein interaction networks had a large influence to convert the cooperation of other nodes to defection. Simulations on methionyl-tRNA synthetase protein structure network indicated an increased influence of nodes belonging to intra-protein signaling pathways on breaking cooperation. The efficiency of single, initially defecting nodes to convert the cooperation of other nodes to defection in social dilemma games may be an important measure to predict the importance of nodes in the integration and regulation of complex systems. Game centrality may help to design more efficient interventions to cellular networks (in forms of drugs), to ecosystems and social networks.
Project description:The environment has a strong influence on a population's evolutionary dynamics. Driven by both intrinsic and external factors, the environment is subject to continual change in nature. To capture an ever-changing environment, we consider a model of evolutionary dynamics with game transitions, where individuals' behaviors together with the games that they play in one time step influence the games to be played in the next time step. Within this model, we study the evolution of cooperation in structured populations and find a simple rule: Weak selection favors cooperation over defection if the ratio of the benefit provided by an altruistic behavior, b, to the corresponding cost, c, exceeds [Formula: see text], where k is the average number of neighbors of an individual and [Formula: see text] captures the effects of the game transitions. Even if cooperation cannot be favored in each individual game, allowing for a transition to a relatively valuable game after mutual cooperation and to a less valuable game after defection can result in a favorable outcome for cooperation. In particular, small variations in different games being played can promote cooperation markedly. Our results suggest that simple game transitions can serve as a mechanism for supporting prosocial behaviors in highly connected populations.