Evolution of trust and trustworthiness: social awareness favours personality differences
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
Interest in the evolution and maintenance of personality is burgeoning. Individuals of diverse animal species differ in their aggressiveness, fearfulness, sociability and activity. Strong trade-offs, mutation-selection balance, spatio-temporal fluctuations in selection, frequency dependence and good-genes mate choice are invoked to explain heritable personality variation, yet for continuous behavioural traits, it remains unclear which selective force is likely to maintain distinct polymorphisms. Using a model of trust and cooperation, we show how allowing individuals to monitor each other's cooperative tendencies, at a cost, can select for heritable polymorphisms in trustworthiness. This variation, in turn, favours costly 'social awareness' in some individuals. Feedback of this sort can explain the individual differences in trust and trustworthiness so often documented by economists in experimental public goods games across a range of cultures. Our work adds to growing evidence that evolutionary game theorists can no longer afford to ignore the importance of real world inter-individual variation in their models.
P.A.S. was funded by NERC grant NER/A/S/2003/00616 to J.M.M. and A.I.H.
This is the final version of the article. Available from the publisher via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 276, pp. 605 - 613
PubMed Central ID
Place of publication