Dirk Helbing, Heiko Rauhut, Wenjian Yu

Paper #: 09-07-026

We demonstrate with computational simulation scenarios how social environment and individual behavior coevolve and how fundamentally different macro-effects emerge, when separate micro-mechanisms are combined. Our framework considers social interactions in prisoner's dilemmas, stag hunt, chicken or coordination games among agents on a spatial grid. Neither imitation of more successful strategies nor the migration to more favorable locations can promote cooperation in prisoner's dilemmas. However, when both microscopic mechanisms are combined, they cause the segregation of cooperators and defectors, and the self-organization of cooperative clusters on the macro-level. These are robust to randomness, while cooperation may break down in a “globalized society.” Results are discussed regarding their implications for the evolution of norms and institutions.