Dynamic social networks facilitate cooperation in the N-player Prisoner’s Dilemma
Understanding how cooperative behaviour evolves in network communities, where the individual members interact via social dilemma games, is an on-going challenge. In this paper, we introduce a social network based model to investigate the evolution of cooperation in the N-player Prisoner’s Dilemma game. As such, this work complements previous studies focused on multi-player social dilemma games and endogenous networks. Agents in our model, employ different game-playing strategies reflecting varying cognitive capacities. When an agent plays cooperatively, a social link is formed with each of the other N−1 group members. Subsequent cooperative actions reinforce this link. However, when an agent defects, the links in the social network are broken. Computational simulations across a range of parameter settings are used to examine different scenarios: varying population and group sizes; the group formation process (or partner selection); and agent decision-making strategies under varying dilemma constraints (cost-to-benefit ratios), including a “discriminator” strategy where the action is based on a function of the weighted links within an agent’s social network. The simulation results show that the proposed social network model is able to evolve and maintain cooperation. As expected, as the value of N increases the equilibrium proportion of cooperators in the population decreases. In addition, this outcome is dependent on the dilemma constraint (cost-to-benefit ratio). However, in some circumstances the dynamic social network plays an increasingly important role in promoting and sustaining cooperation, especially when the agents adopt the discriminator strategy. The adjustment of social links results in the formation of communities of “like-minded” agents. Subsequently, this local optimal behaviour promotes the evolution of cooperative behaviour at the system level.
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Volume (Year): 391 (2012)
Issue (Month): 23 ()
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