The Evolutionary Origin of Cooperators and Defectors

  title={The Evolutionary Origin of Cooperators and Defectors},
  author={Michael Doebeli and Christoph Hauert and Timothy Killingback},
  pages={859 - 862}
Coexistence of cooperators and defectors is common in nature, yet the evolutionary origin of such social diversification is unclear. Many models have been studied on the basis of the assumption that benefits of cooperative acts only accrue to others. Here, we analyze the continuous snowdrift game, in which cooperative investments are costly but yield benefits to others as well as to the cooperator. Adaptive dynamics of investment levels often result in evolutionary diversification from… 

Cooperation, Collectives Formation and Specialization

The evolutionary dynamics driven by mutation and selection can lead to spontaneous diversification and specialization into high and low investing individuals which provides a natural explanation for the origin of cooperators and defectors.

Adaptive Dynamics of Altruistic Cooperation in a Metapopulation: Evolutionary Emergence of Cooperators and Defectors or Evolutionary Suicide?

We investigate the evolution of public goods cooperation in a metapopulation model with small local populations, where altruistic cooperation can evolve due to assortment and kin selection, and the

Effects of Relatedness on the Evolution of Cooperation in Nonlinear Public Goods Games

This investigation gives a comprehensive picture of how relatedness affects the evolution of cooperation with continuous investments and finds that the scope for evolutionary branching is reduced by either higher average degree of, or higher uncertainty in, relatedness with interaction partners.

Consequences of fluctuating group size for the evolution of cooperation

The results show that the effects of fluctuating group size on evolutionary dynamics critically depend on the structure of payoff functions, and a general classification scheme is derived based on second derivatives of the payoff function, to elucidate when fluctuations in group size help or hinder cooperation.

Heterogeneity Improves Cooperation in Continuous Snowdrift Game

We study the networking effects on the population divergence and the increased level of cooperation in the continuous snowdrift game (CSG). In the regular world, limited interaction inhibits the


  • H. Stark
  • Economics
    Evolution; international journal of organic evolution
  • 2010
The evolution of partial cooperation is studied by deriving the respective conditions under which coexistence of cooperators and defectors, that is, partial cooperation, can be a stable outcome of evolutionary dynamics in these scenarios.

Adaptive dynamics of cooperation may prevent the coexistence of defectors and cooperators and even cause extinction

  • K. Parvinen
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2010
Evolutionary branching, which could result in the evolutionary emergence of cooperators and defectors, can occur only with locally convex functional responses, but it is illustrated that it can also result in coevolutionary extinction.

Evolution of cooperation and costly incentives in the continuous snowdrift game

It is shown that not evolutionary merging but evolutionary branching can promote the emergence of pool reward, which can then enhance social welfare in the continuous snowdrift game.

Unchecked strategy diversification and collapse in continuous voluntary public good games

The analysis casts light on the mechanisms which underpin the unexpected and surprising evolutionary dynamics of these behavioral traits in the individual level using adaptive-dynamics techniques.



The Continuous Prisoner’s Dilemma and the Evolution of Cooperation through Reciprocal Altruism with Variable Investment

Understanding the evolutionary origin and persistence of cooperative behavior is a fundamental biological problem. The standard “prisoner’s dilemma,” which is the most widely adopted framework for

Volunteering as Red Queen Mechanism for Cooperation in Public Goods Games

This work presents a simple but effective mechanism operating under full anonymity that shows that in voluntary public goods interactions, cooperators and defectors will coexist and shows that this result holds under very diverse assumptions on population structure and adaptation mechanisms.

The evolution of cooperation.

A model is developed based on the concept of an evolutionarily stable strategy in the context of the Prisoner's Dilemma game to 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.

The evolution of interspecific mutualisms.

  • M. DoebeliN. Knowlton
  • Biology, Economics
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 1998
For mutualism to evolve, increased investments in a partner must yield increased returns, and spatial structure in competitive interactions is required, and under these biologically plausible assumptions, mutualism evolves with surprising ease.

Evolution of indirect reciprocity by image scoring

It is proposed that the emergence of indirect reciprocity was a decisive step for the evolution of human societies and the probability of knowing the ‘image’ of the recipient must exceed the cost-to-benefit ratio of the altruistic act.

Spatial structure often inhibits the evolution of cooperation in the snowdrift game

The results caution against the common belief that spatial structure is necessarily beneficial for cooperative behaviour, and show that no such general predictions can be made for the effects of spatial structure in the snowdrift game.

Evolutionary Games and Population Dynamics

In this book the authors investigate the nonlinear dynamics of the self-regulation of social and economic behavior, and of the closely related interactions among species in ecological communities.

Evolutionary games and spatial chaos

MUCH attention has been given to the Prisoners' Dilemma as a metaphor for the problems surrounding the evolution of coopera-tive behaviour1–6. This work has dealt with the relative merits of various

Evolutionary Dynamics of Biological Games

This paper focuses on frequency-dependent selection, and argues that game-theoretic arguments are more appropriate than optimization algorithms for studying frequency- dependent selection.

The Prisoner's Dilemma and polymorphism in yeast SUC genes

  • D. GreigM. Travisano
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 2004
It is proposed that selection for antisocial cheating causes SUC polymorphism in nature, and the defector is less fit than the cooperator at low levels of sociality but more fit in dense communities.