Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Providing incentives to cooperate can turn swords into ploughshares

Date:
December 8, 2010
Source:
National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS)
Summary:
When two individuals face off in conflict, the classic problem in evolutionary biology known as the prisoner's dilemma says that the individuals are not likely to cooperate even if it is in their best interests to do so. But a new study suggests that with incentives to cooperate, natural selection can minimize conflict, changing the game from one of pure conflict to one of partial cooperation.

When two individuals face off in conflict, the classic problem in evolutionary biology known as the prisoner's dilemma says that the individuals are not likely to cooperate even if it is in their best interests to do so. But a new study suggests that with incentives to cooperate, natural selection can minimize conflict, changing the game from one of pure conflict to one of partial cooperation.

The findings, published online in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, suggest that the prisoner's dilemma game, which has reigned as the dominant theoretical paradigm used to explain the costs and benefits of the evolution of cooperation, is not as evolutionarily stable a strategy as once assumed.

In the prisoner's dilemma game, both players have the incentive not to cooperate independently. Collectively, they would be better off if they did cooperate. Evolutionary biologists have long sought to explain how cooperation can be maintained in such conflict by considering conditional behaviors in repeated interactions such as reciprocity. The new study, on the other hand, tries a different tack. Instead of accepting the underlying conflict of the prisoner's dilemma game as immutable, they consider whether so-called "mutants" can invade a population of prisoner's dilemma players and change the nature of the game.

"We wanted to look at how payoffs from social interactions can evolve, and what we found was that in the case of prisoner's dilemma, mutants that provide incentives to each other for cooperating can invade, which changes the game to one of partial cooperation or coordination," said Erol Akηay, the study's lead author and postdoctoral researcher at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis.

Akηay and co-author Joan Roughgarden, professor of biology at Stanford University, developed a mathematical model to illustrate how payoffs evolve in behavioral games as a result of evolution of individual traits. The model showed that when animals are able to recognize their payoffs and have the potential to react to incentives, the problem of the prisoner's dilemma is less likely to occur and instead the game becomes more cooperative.

The results also showed that polymorphism, a genetic variant which can change the way a particular gene functions, is possible under a wide range of conditions, which results in a single population playing a variety of different behavioral games. The findings suggest that diversity in behavioral games could be more common in nature than previously recognized and might account for the diverse behavioral traits seen in nature.

The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) brings together researchers from around the world to collaborate across disciplinary boundaries to investigate solutions to basic and applied problems in the life sciences. NIMBioS is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Akcay E, Roughgarden J. The evolution of payoff matrices: providing incentives to cooperate. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 8 December 2010

Cite This Page:

National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). "Providing incentives to cooperate can turn swords into ploughshares." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101207205233.htm>.
National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). (2010, December 8). Providing incentives to cooperate can turn swords into ploughshares. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101207205233.htm
National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). "Providing incentives to cooperate can turn swords into ploughshares." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101207205233.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Free Math App Is A Teacher's Worst Nightmare

Free Math App Is A Teacher's Worst Nightmare

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — New photo-recognition software from MicroBlink, called PhotoMath, solves linear equations and simple math problems with step-by-step results. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rate Hike Worries Down on Inflation Data

Rate Hike Worries Down on Inflation Data

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Inflation remains well under control according to the latest consumer price index, giving the Federal Reserve more room to keep interest rates low for awhile. Bobbi Rebell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins