Reacting differently to adverse ties promotes cooperation in social networks

Sven Van Segbroeck, Francisco Santos, Tom Lenaerts, Jorge Pacheco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

152 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate how diversity in individual responses to unwanted interactions affects the evolution of cooperation modeled as a 2-person Prisoner's Dilemma. We combine adaptive networks and Evolutionary Game Theory (EGT), showing analytically how the co-evolution of social dynamics, network dynamics and behavioral differences benefit the entire community even though myopic individuals still act in their own interest. As defectors are wiped out, surviving cooperators maintain the full diversity of behavioral types, establishing cooperation as a robust evolutionary strategy. The present framework can be used in other problems where the feedback between topology and dynamics affects the overall behavior of the system.
Original languageEnglish
Article number058105
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2009


  • Evolutionary Game Theory
  • Cooperation
  • Complex Networks


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