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Cognitive Learning and the Emergence of Cooperation - An Simulation Approach


  • Thomas Brenner


In this paper it is argued that whether cooperation is established in a prisoner's dilemma-like situation is determined by cognitive learning processes. To prove this claim a simulation model is build. This model is based on knowledge about the cognitive learning process that has been gained in experiments. Experiments reveal the basis mechanisms of the cognitive learning process in the context of the prisoner's dilemma game. However, for the parameters of this learning process only distributions can be obtained experimentally. People differ with respect to the detailed characteristics of the cognitive learning process. These differences cause the different results that are obtained in experiments on the prisoner's dilemma game. With the help of simulations we are now able to match various kinds of people in a fictive game. We are able to study how the matching influences the outcome of the interaction. Especially, we study the influence of the structure of the matching, the impact of the history and the importance of experience for the emergence of cooperation. As a consequence, we are able to develop some understanding for why sometimes cooperation is established and sometimes not

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Brenner, 2004. "Cognitive Learning and the Emergence of Cooperation - An Simulation Approach," Computing in Economics and Finance 2004 88, Society for Computational Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sce:scecf4:88

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Learning; Cooperation; Cognitive Processes;

    JEL classification:

    • C15 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Statistical Simulation Methods: General
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness


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