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The Evolution of Cooperation

Robert Axelrod and William D. Hamilton
Science
New Series, Vol. 211, No. 4489 (Mar. 27, 1981), pp. 1390-1396
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1685895
Page Count: 7
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The Evolution of Cooperation
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Abstract

Cooperation in organisms, whether bacteria or primates, has been a difficuilty for evolutionary theory since Darwin. On the assumption that interactions between pairs of individuals occur on a probabilistic basis, a model is developed based on the concept of an evolutionarily stable strategy in the context of the Prisoner's Dilemma game. Deductions from the model, and the results of a computer tournament show how cooperation based on reciprocity can get started in an asocial world, can thrive while interacting with a wide range of other strategies, and can resist invasion once fully established. Potential applications include specific aspects of territoriality, mating, and disease.

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