Friendship, cliquishness, and the emergence of cooperation

Daniel Hruschka, Joseph Henrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

76 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The evolution of cooperation is a central problem in biology and the social sciences. While theoretical work using the iterated prisoner's dilemma (IPD) has shown that cooperation among non-kin can be sustained among reciprocal strategies (i.e. tit-for-tat), these results are sensitive to errors in strategy execution, cyclical invasions by free riders, and the specific ecology of strategies. Moreover, the IPD assumes that a strategy's probability of playing the PD game with other individuals is independent of the decisions made by others. Here, we remove the assumption of independent pairing by studying a more plausible cooperative dilemma in which players can preferentially interact with a limited set of known partners and also deploy longer-term accounting strategies that can counteract the effects of random errors. We show that cooperative strategies readily emerge and persist in a range of noisy environments, with successful cooperative strategies (henceforth, cliquers) maintaining medium-term memories for partners and low thresholds for acceptable cooperation (i.e. forgiveness). The success of these strategies relies on their cliquishness - a propensity to defect with strangers if they already have an adequate number of partners. Notably, this combination of medium-term accounting, forgiveness, and cliquishness fits with empirical studies of friendship and other long-term relationships among humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Volume239
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 7 2006
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Forgiveness
interpersonal relationships
Random errors
Social sciences
Ecology
cooperatives
Data storage equipment
Defects
Social Sciences
social sciences
Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma
ecology
Biological Sciences
Evolution of Cooperation
Memory Term
Prisoner Dilemma
Strategy
Random Error
Dilemma
Invasion

Keywords

  • Altruism
  • Cooperation
  • Friendship
  • Iterated prisoner's dilemma
  • Partner choice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

Friendship, cliquishness, and the emergence of cooperation. / Hruschka, Daniel; Henrich, Joseph.

In: Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 239, No. 1, 07.03.2006, p. 1-15.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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