COOPERATION, COLLECTIVES FORMATION AND SPECIALIZATION
Cooperation in spatial evolutionary game theory has revealed various interesting insights into the problem of the evolution and maintenance of cooperative behavior. In social dilemmas, cooperators create and maintain a common resource at some cost to themselves while defectors attempt to exploit the resource without contributing. This leads to classical conflicts of interest between the individual and the community with the prisoner's dilemma as the most prominent mathematical metaphor to describe such situations. The evolutionary fate of cooperators and defectors sensitively depends on the interaction structure of the population. In spatially extended populations, the ability to form clusters or collectives often supports cooperation by limiting exploitation to the cluster boundaries but often collectives formation may also inhibit or even eliminate cooperation by hindering the dispersal of cooperators. Another attempt at resolving the conflict of interest allows individuals to drop out of unpromising public enterprises and hence changes compulsory interactions into voluntary participation. This leads to a cyclic dominance of cooperators, defectors and loners that do not participate and gives rise to oscillatory dynamics which again subtly depends on the population structure. Here we review recent advances in the dynamics of cooperation in structured populations as well as in situations where cooperative investments vary continuously. In such continuous games, the evolutionary dynamics driven by mutation and selection can lead to spontaneous diversification and specialization into high and low investing individuals which provides a natural explanation for the origin of cooperators and defectors.
Evolutionary game theory, spatial structure, social dilemmas, synchronization, oscillations, evolutionary branching, tragedy of the commons, tragedy of the commune, public goods games, prisoner's dilemma, voluntary participation, continuous games
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