Zones of cooperation in demographic prisoner’s dilemma

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The emergence of cooperation in prisoner’s dilemma (PD) games is generally assumed to require repeated play (and strategies such as Tit for Tat, involving memory of previous interactions) or features (“tags”) permitting cooperators and defectors to distinguish one another. In the demographic PD, neither assumption is made: Agents with finite vision move to random sites on a lattice and play a fixed culturally-inherited zero-memory strategy of cooperate (C) or defect (D) against neighbors. Agents are indistinguishable to one another—they are “tagless.” Positive payoffs accrue to agents playing C against C, or D against C. Negative payoffs accrue to agents playing C against D, or D against D. Payoffs accumulate. If accumulated payoffs exceed some threshold, agents clone offspring of the same strategy onto neighboring sites and continue play. If accumulated payoffs are negative, agents die and are removed. Spatial zones of cooperation emerge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-48
Number of pages13
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998


  • Demographic games
  • Prisoner’s dilemma
  • Replicator dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General


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