Threshold Games and Cooperation on Multiplayer Graphs

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Objective

The study investigates the effect on cooperation in multiplayer games, when the population from which all individuals are drawn is structured-i.e. when a given individual is only competing with a small subset of the entire population.

Method

To optimize the focus on multiplayer effects, a class of games were chosen for which the payoff depends nonlinearly on the number of cooperators-this ensures that the game cannot be represented as a sum of pair-wise interactions, and increases the likelihood of observing behaviour different from that seen in two-player games. The chosen class of games are named "threshold games", and are defined by a threshold, M > 0, which describes the minimal number of cooperators in a given match required for all the participants to receive a benefit. The model was studied primarily through numerical simulations of large populations of individuals, each with interaction neighbourhoods described by various classes of networks.

Results

When comparing the level of cooperation in a structured population to the mean-field model, we find that most types of structure lead to a decrease in cooperation. This is both interesting and novel, simply due to the generality and breadth of relevance of the model-it is likely that any model with similar payoff structure exhibits related behaviour. More importantly, we find that the details of the behaviour depends to a large extent on the size of the immediate neighbourhoods of the individuals, as dictated by the network structure. In effect, the players behave as if they are part of a much smaller, fully mixed, population, which we suggest an expression for.

Highlights

Observed behaviour depends on the size of each player's immediate interaction neighbourhood.

When the number of players is much larger than the number of required cooperators, average payoff decreases.

Most network structures lead to a decrease in cooperation compared to the fully mixed case.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0147207
JournalP L o S One
Volume11
Issue2
Number of pages17
ISSN1932-6203
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2016

    Research areas

  • PERSON SNOWDRIFT GAMES, PUBLIC-GOODS GAMES, STRUCTURED POPULATIONS, EVOLUTIONARY DYNAMICS, VOLUNTEERS DILEMMA, SOCIAL NETWORKS, MATRIX GAMES, MODEL, SIZE, DEFECTION

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