Evolution of a theory of mind

Tom Lenaerts, Marco Saponara, Jorge M. Pacheco, Francisco C. Santos

Onderzoeksoutput: Articlepeer review


Even though the Theory of Mind in upper primates has been under investigation for decades, how it may evolve remains an open problem. We propose here an evolutionary game theoretical model where a finite population of individuals may use reasoning strategies to infer a response to the anticipated behavior of others within the context of a sequential dilemma, i.e., the Centipede Game. We show that strategies with bounded reasoning evolve and flourish under natural selection, provided they are allowed to make reasoning mistakes and a temptation for higher future gains is in place. We further show that non-deterministic reasoning co-evolves with an optimism bias that may lead to the selection of new equilibria, closely associated with average behavior observed in experimental data. This work reveals both a novel perspective on the evolution of bounded rationality and a co-evolutionary link between the evolution of Theory of Mind and the emergence of misbeliefs.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's13
Nummer van het tijdschrift2
StatusPublished - 16 feb 2024

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© 2024 The Author(s)

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