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A Novel Perspective on Evolution of Cooperation in Multiplex Networks through Asymmetry between Interaction and Replacement

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Researchers from the University of Tsukuba used computer simulations to investigate various mechanisms influencing the evolution of cooperation. Specifically, the study utilized multiplex networks to examine the asymmetries between the scope of competition (interaction) and learning (strategy replacement) among individuals. Contrary to the existing literature, the results unveiled novel cases where asymmetry fosters cooperative behavior.

Tsukuba, Japan—Cooperation is one of the elements that form the foundation of social systems; nonetheless, the intricacies of its evolutionary mechanisms are not fully understood. Recently, "multiplex networks" have garnered attention as a model that represents the characteristics of human social interactions. Prior research reported that cooperative behavior is enhanced when the dual processes essential for its evolution—competition (interaction) and learning (strategy replacement)—occur with the same partner. In other words, a symmetrical relationship between interaction and strategy replacement tends to promote cooperative behavior.

In this study, the researchers analyzed the dissemination of cooperative behavior within a group using multiplex networks. Using multiagent simulations, they explored various scenarios that specifically targeted the symmetry or asymmetry in the scope of partner selection for interaction and strategy replacement. The findings revealed that contrary to established views, asymmetries can facilitate the evolution of cooperative behavior in certain instances.

These insights suggest that utilizing an asymmetric approach—in which competition and learning occur with different partners—could prove effective in catalyzing cooperative behavior within a social group. This study is expected to enrich future research on the evolution of cooperation by offering intersections with research in diverse fields of social sciences, including anthropology, economics, and social psychology.

This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI (Grant Number 21H01568A).

Original Paper

Title of original paper:
Evolution of cooperation in multiplex networks through asymmetry between interaction and replacement
Scientific Reports


Professor AKIYAMA Eizo
Institute of Systems and Information Engineering, University of Tsukuba
INABA Masaaki
Degree Programs in Systems and Information Engineering, Graduate School of Science and Technology, University of Tsukuba

Related Link

Institute of Systems and Information Engineering (in Japanese)

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