The evolution of cooperation.

  title={The evolution of cooperation.},
  author={Robert Axelrod and William D. Hamilton},
  volume={211 4489},
Cooperation in organisms, whether bacteria or primates, has been a difficulty for evolutionary theory since Darwin. On the assumption that interactions between pairs of individuals occur on a probabilistic basis, a model is developed based on the concept of an evolutionarily stable strategy in the context of the Prisoner's Dilemma game. Deductions from the model, and the results of a computer tournament show how cooperation based on reciprocity can get started in an asocial world, can thrive… 

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This chapter offers an overview of different approaches to this topic (such as kin selection, group selection, direct and indirect reciprocity) and relates it to some of the views that Darwin expressed over 150 years ago.

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Five mechanisms for the evolution of cooperation are discussed: kin selection, direct reciprocity, indirect reciprocities, network reciprocation, group selection, and group selection.

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Computer simulations are employed to uncover how these processes govern the oscillating and open-ended evolution of alternative forms of behaviour in the evolutionary approach to the repeated prisoner's dilemma.

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It is shown that a single cooperator using a strategy like ‘tit-for-tat’ can invade a population of defectors with a probability that corresponds to a net selective advantage.

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This model uses evolutionary simulations to show that, in a situation where individuals have the opportunity to engage in repeated pairwise interactions, the equilibrium degree of cooperativeness depends critically on the amount of behavioural variation that is being maintained in the population by processes such as mutation.

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It is concluded that the proposed mechanisms to explain the evolution of cooperation are either too limited in scope, unstable, or insufficiently detailed, and that the analysis must therefore go beyond the level of purely genetic evolution if human "ultrasociality" is to be explained.

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Segregation and the Evolution of Cooperation

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