Reciprocal altruism under conditions of partner selection

de Vos, H., Smaniotto, R. C. & Elsas, D. A., May-2001, In : Rationality and Society. 13, 2, p. 139-183 45 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

This paper is a contribution to solving the problem of whether reciprocal altruism can emerge and maintain itself in a population of selfish individuals. We use an evolutionary game theoretic simulation model (the Social Evolution Model) to investigate the relative fitness of two versions of a reciprocal altruistic trait competing with a defecting trait. One main difference between the Social Evolution Model and most of the models that are known in this field is that partner selection is straightforwardly built into the strategies of the players. In most of the models in the literature, partner selection is not an Option in the game. Because of this element of forced play, much attention is given to the ability of strategies to detect cheaters and to retaliate. We show that modeling partner selection points to disadvantages of a preoccupation with cheater-detection and to the importance of committing oneself to a partner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-183
Number of pages45
JournalRationality and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May-2001


  • commitment, evolutionary game theory, partner selection, reciprocal altruism, simulation, HUMAN SOCIAL EVOLUTION, EXCHANGE RELATIONS, COOPERATION, SUPPORT, FRIENDSHIP, COMMITMENT, EMERGENCE, TRUST, ENVIRONMENT, UNCERTAINTY

ID: 663874