The Development of Cooperation in Evolving Populations through Social Importance

Pedro Sequeira, Samuel Mascarenhas, Francisco S. Melo and Ana Paiva

In Proceedings of the 5th Joint IEEE International Conference on Development and Learning and on Epigenetic Robotics (ICDL-EpiRob 2015), 2015

The Development of Cooperation in Evolving Populations through Social Importance

Abstract:
Several agent-based frameworks have been proposed to investigate the possible reasons that lead humans to act in the interest of others while giving up individual gains. In this paper we propose a novel framework for analyzing this phenomenon based on the notions of social importance (SI) and local discrimination. We analyze such mechanism in the context of a “favors game” where a recipient agent can “claim” a favor to a donor agent, which may in turn “confer” its request at the expense of a certain cost. We perform several agent- based simulations and study both the conditions under which cooperation occurs and the dynamics of the relationships formed within a population. The results of our study indicate that the SI mechanism can promote cooperation in populations where all individuals share a common social predisposition towards the favors game, and also in initially mixed-strategy populations evolving by means of mutation and natural selection. We also show that the framework predicts the emergence of a conservative strategy that makes individuals to be “cautious” when interacting with “acquaintances”.