Articles

The evolution of cooperation

Science  27 Mar 1981:
Vol. 211, Issue 4489, pp. 1390-1396
DOI: 10.1126/science.7466396

Abstract

Cooperation in organisms, whether bacteria or primates, has been a difficulty for evolutionary theory since Darwin. On the assumption that interactions between pairs of individuals occur on a probabilistic basis, a model is developed based on the concept of an evolutionarily stable strategy in the context of the Prisoner's Dilemma game. Deductions from the model, and the results of a computer tournament show how cooperation based on reciprocity can get started in an asocial world, can thrive while interacting with a wide range of other strategies, and can resist invasion once fully established. Potential applications include specific aspects of territoriality, mating, and disease.

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