The evolution of cooperation by negotiation in a noisy world
Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Wiley for European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB)
© 2016 European Society For Evolutionary Biology. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2016 European Society For Evolutionary Biology
Reason for embargo
Cooperative interactions among individuals are ubiquitous despite the possibility of exploitation by selfish free-riders. One mechanism that may promote cooperation is "negotiation": individuals altering their behaviour in response to the behaviour of others. Negotiating individuals decide their actions through a recursive process of reciprocal observation, thereby reducing the possibility of free-riding. Evolutionary games with response rules have shown that infinitely many forms of the rule can be evolutionarily stable simultaneously, unless there is variation in individual quality. This potentially restricts the conditions under which negotiation could maintain cooperation. Organisms interact with one another in a noisy world in which cooperative effort and the assessment of effort may be subject to error. Here, we show that such noise can make the number of evolutionarily stable rules finite, even without quality variation, and so noise could help maintain cooperative behaviour. We show that the curvature of the benefit function is the key factor determining whether individuals invest more or less as their partner's investment increases; investing less when the benefit to investment has diminishing returns. If the benefits of low investment are very small then behavioural flexibility tends to promote cooperation, because negotiation enables co-operators to reach large benefits. Under some conditions this leads to a repeating cycle in which cooperative behaviour rises and falls over time, which may explain between-population differences in cooperative behaviour. In other conditions negotiation leads to extremely high levels of cooperative behaviour, suggesting that behavioural flexibility could facilitate the evolution of eusociality in the absence of high relatedness. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This work was supported by a JSPS KAKENHI grant (15K07219 awarded to AY), a JSPS Research Fellowship for Young Scientists (14J00472 awarded to KI), a European Research Council grant (Advanced Grant 250209 awarded to Alasdair Houston), a NERC Independent Research Fellowship (NE/L011921/1 awarded to A.D.H.) and the University of Exeter College of Life and Environmental Sciences.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Wiley via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 30 (3), pp. 603–615
- Psychology 
Place of publication