Tump, A. N., Wu, C. M., Bouhlel, I., & Goldstone, R. L. (2019).The Evolutionary Dynamics of Cooperation in Collective Search. Proceedings of the 41st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp. 883-889). Montreal, Canada: Cognitive Science Society.
How does cooperation arise in an evolutionary context? We approach this problem using a collective search paradigm where interactions are dynamic and there is competition for rewards. Using evolutionary simulations, we find that the unconditional sharing of information can be an evolutionary advantageous strategy without the need for conditional strategies or explicit reciprocation. Shared information acts as a recruitment signal and facilitates the formation of a self-organized group. Thus, the improved search efficiency of the collective bestows byproduct benefits onto the original sharer. A key mechanism is a visibility radius, where individuals have unconditional access to information about neighbors within a limited distance. Our results show that for a variety of initial conditions—including populations initially devoid of prosocial individuals—and across both static and dynamic fitness landscapes, we find strong selection pressure to evolve unconditional sharing.