Wednesday, July 17, 2013

1307.4375 (Mauro Mobilia)

Evolutionary games with facilitators: When does selection favor

Mauro Mobilia
We study the combined influence of selection and random fluctuations on the evolutionary dynamics of two-strategy ("cooperation" and "defection") games in populations comprising cooperation facilitators. The latter are individuals that support cooperation by enhancing the reproductive potential of cooperators relative to the fitness of defectors. By computing the fixation probability of a single cooperator in finite and well-mixed populations that include a fixed number of facilitators, and by using mean field analysis, we determine when selection promotes cooperation in the important classes of prisoner's dilemma, snowdrift and stag-hunt games. In particular, we identify the circumstances under which selection favors the replacement and invasion of defection by cooperation. Our findings, corroborated by stochastic simulations, show that the spread of cooperation can be promoted through various scenarios when the density of facilitators exceeds a critical value whose dependence on the population size and selection strength is analyzed. We also determine under which conditions cooperation is more likely to replace defection than vice versa. Keywords: Evolutionary games; dynamics of cooperation; social dilemmas; fixation; population dynamics.
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