Networking doesn't always mean cooperating

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Science  12 Dec 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6215, pp. 1339-1340
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6215.1339-b

The relationship between network structure and cooperation has been hard to define. Rand et al. arranged sets of volunteers in fixed networks, where they could only interact with specific players, in a Prisoner's dilemma game. In this game, “defectors” earned points and “cooperators” paid a cost so that each of their neighbors benefited. After each round, players learned what their neighbors had done. Not all network conformations increased cooperation—the rewards relative to costs had to be greater than the number of linked players in order for cooperation to increase and clusters of cooperators to form.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnas.1400406111 (2014).

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