February 16, 2006

Co-operation in structured heterogeneous populations

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 10.1073/pnas.0508201103

Evolutionary dynamics of social dilemmas in structured heterogeneous populations

F. C. Santos et al.

Real populations have been shown to be heterogeneous, in which some individuals have many more contacts than others. This fact contrasts with the traditional homogeneous setting used in studies of evolutionary game dynamics. We incorporate heterogeneity in the population by studying games on graphs, in which the variability in connectivity ranges from single-scale graphs, for which heterogeneity is small and associated degree distributions exhibit a Gaussian tale, to scale-free graphs, for which heterogeneity is large with degree distributions exhibiting a power-law behavior. We study the evolution of cooperation, modeled in terms of the most popular dilemmas of cooperation. We show that, for all dilemmas, increasing heterogeneity favors the emergence of cooperation, such that long-term cooperative behavior easily resists short-term noncooperative behavior. Moreover, we show how cooperation depends on the intricate ties between individuals in scale-free populations.


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