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Imitating winner or sympathizing loser? Quadratic effects on cooperative behavior in prisoners’ dilemma games

Peng Lu

Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, 2015, vol. 436, issue C, 327-337

Abstract: Cooperation is vital in human societies and therefore is widely investigated in the evolutionary game theory. Varieties of mechanisms have been proposed to overcome temptation and promote cooperation. Existing studies usually believe that agents are rational, but irrationalism such as emotions and feelings matters as well. Winner and loser are defined by their payoffs. In addition to admiring and imitating winners, the mechanism of sympathizing and imitating losers is introduced into the model as an alternative action rule, and each one plays the prisoners’ dilemma game with eight neighbors under the influence of both irrationalism and rationalism. Rationalism refers to imitating winner to get highest payoff, and irrationalism means that people sympathize and adopt the actions of losers. As it is widely recognized that temptation reduces cooperation, this study focuses on the effect of sympathy on cooperation within a certain group or society. If it overcomes temptation that leads to defection, sympathy will be a powerful mechanism to promote cooperative behavior. Simulation results indicate that sympathy and temptation shares similar quadratic relationships with cooperation. Both sympathy and temptation undermine cooperation below their thresholds, and they both promote cooperation above their thresholds. Temptation not only reduces cooperation but also promote it as temptation goes beyond the threshold. Although sympathy is a good merit or human nature that is beneficial to society, a crisis or collapse of cooperation is inevitable when the sympathy propensity is relatively smaller. After cooperation reaches a minimal bottom, it then rises increasingly and dramatically, which brings a much brighter future of the society.

Keywords: Winner; Loser; Sympathy; Quadratic effects; Cooperation; Irrationalism (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications is currently edited by K. A. Dawson, J. O. Indekeu, H.E. Stanley and C. Tsallis

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Handle: RePEc:eee:phsmap:v:436:y:2015:i:c:p:327-337