Tricking someone into trusting you in order to gain something from them is common behavior in both the animal and human worlds. From cuckoo birds that trick other bird species into raising their young, to cunning salespeople who pretend to sell you a product that will improve your life, deviant behavior takes many forms. But no matter the situation, the result is that a single individual gains something while the community at large loses.
For researchers who study the evolution of cooperation, deceitful behavior seems to throw a wrench in mechanisms that promote cooperative behavior. Questions arise such as, under what conditions does deception evolve? How effective are strategies to identify deceitful behavior? And how can deceitful behavior coexist with cooperative behavior?
In a recent paper published in The New Journal of Physics, Attila Szolnoki at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest, and Matjaž Perc at the University of Maribor in Slovenia and King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, have addressed these questions using a variant of perhaps the most popular tool for studying cooperation—the prisoner’s dilemma game.… Read the rest