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What games support the evolution of an ingroup bias?
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution. Mälardalen University, Sweden; Linköping University, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8357-0276
2015 (English)In: Journal of Theoretical Biology, ISSN 0022-5193, E-ISSN 1095-8541, Vol. 373, 100-110 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There is an increasing wealth of models trying to explain the evolution of group discrimination and an ingroup bias. This paper sets out to systematically investigate the most fundamental assumption in these models: in what kind of situations do the interactions take place? What strategic structures – games – support the evolution of an ingroup bias? More specically, the aim here is to find the prerequisites for when a bias also with respect to minimal groups – arbitrarily defined groups void of group-specific qualities – is selected for, and which cannot be ascribed to kin selection.

Through analyses and simulations of minimal models of two-person games, this paper indicates that only some games are conducive to the evolution of ingroup favouritism. In particular, this class does not contain the prisoners’ dilemma, but it does contain anti-co-ordination and co-ordination games. Contrasting to the prisoners’ dilemma, these are games where it is not a matter of whether to behave altruistically, but rather one of predicting what the other person will be doing, and where I would benefit from you knowing my intentions.

In anti-co-ordination games, on average, not only will agents discriminate between groups, but also in such a way that their choices maximise the sum of the available payoffs towards the ingroup more often than towards the outgroup. And in co-ordination games, even if agents do manage to co-ordinate with the whole population, they are more likely to co-ordinate on the socially optimal equilibrium within their group. Simulations show that this occurs most often in games where there is a component of risk-taking, and thus trust, involved. A typical such game is the stag hunt or assurance game.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 373, 100-110 p.
Keyword [en]
ethnocentrism, minimal groups, cooperation, replicator dynamics, assurance game
National Category
Other Mathematics Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Mathematics; Population Biology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-115894DOI: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2015.03.008ISI: 000354002800009OAI: diva2:800855
EU, FP7, Seventh Framework Programme, 324233
Available from: 2015-04-08 Created: 2015-04-08 Last updated: 2015-06-02Bibliographically approved

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