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Partner control mechanisms in pair-wise cooperative interactions: empirically-informed models

English title Partner control mechanisms in pair-wise cooperative interactions: empirically-informed models
Applicant Bshary Redouan
Number 137165
Funding scheme ProDoc
Research institution Institut de Biologie Faculté des Sciences Université de Neuchâtel
Institution of higher education University of Neuchatel - NE
Main discipline Ecology
Start/End 01.01.2013 - 31.12.2016
Approved amount 227'729.00
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Keywords (3)

cooperation; game theory; population structure

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
Recent years have seen an explosion in the diversity of partner control mechanisms hypothesized to stabilise cooperative behaviour among unrelated individuals. Examples include cheating, punishment or partner switching in response to being cheated. However, theoreticians explore cooperation under rather abstract conditions and control mechanisms are typically explored one by one, while individuals may often have the choice between several options, raising the question which conditions favour the use of which option. Here we propose to develop models that will be strongly based on empirical evidence. We will explore parameters that affect the relative efficiency of competing partner control mechanisms under increasingly realistic population structures. For example, we will introduce group sizes that are realistic for social mammals, asymmetries between sexes with respect to migration, and asymmetries between individuals like differences in fighting abilities (rank-order). The aim is to analyse how these factors will affect strategies and levels of cooperation. The models will allow us to create an interactive process between theory and empirical research on systems as diverse as marine cleaning mutualism, cooperatively breeding vertebrates, and primate societies.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Name Institute

Publications

Publication
A reinforcement learning model for grooming up the hierarchy in primates
Wubs Matthias, Bshary Redouan, Lehmann Laurent (2018), A reinforcement learning model for grooming up the hierarchy in primates, in Animal Behaviour, 138, 165-185.
Coevolution between positive reciprocity, punishment, and partner switching in repeated interactions
Wubs Matthias, Bshary Redouan, Lehmann Laurent (2016), Coevolution between positive reciprocity, punishment, and partner switching in repeated interactions, in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 283(1832), 20160488-20160488.

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
153067 How proximate factors underlying decision making may affect the evolution and maintenance of cooperation 01.05.2014 Project funding (Div. I-III)
173334 How proximate factors underlying decision making may affect the evolution and maintenance of cooperation 01.05.2017 Project funding (Div. I-III)
135707 The evolution and maintenance of cooperation between unrelated individuals: integrating ultimate and proximate questions 01.05.2011 Project funding (Div. I-III)
123344 Gene-culture co-evolutionary theory of individual and social learning of cooperation 01.11.2009 SNSF Professorships
133040 the evolution of social behaviour in vervet monkeys: an experimental approach 01.01.2011 Sinergia

Abstract

Recent years have seen an explosion in the diversity of partner control mechanisms hypothesized to stabilise cooperative behaviour among unrelated individuals. Game theory suggests numerous strategies, each with specific decision rules that allow cooperators to control a non-contributing partner. While the diversity of hypothetical strategies seems likely to reflect diversity in the types of intraspecific cooperation and interspecific mutualism that exist in nature, theoreticians typically neglect real-life examples as inspiration. As a consequence, many models explore cooperation under rather abstract conditions. Furthermore, control mechanisms are typically explored one by one, while individuals may often have the choice between several options, raising the question which conditions favour the use of which option. Here we propose to develop models that will be strongly based on empirical evidence. Three topics will be addressed. First, we will explore parameters that affect the relative efficiency of competing partner control mechanisms in an unstructured population. For example, one may ask when an individual should respond to cheating by the partner with respectively punishment, return cheating, or breaking the relationship. In a second step, we will explore the same questions in a structured population, as is the case for species that live in stable social groups. Relationships within groups can be described with dynamic networks, and their structure may greatly affect the effectiveness of different control mechanisms. In a third step, we will introduce asymmetries between individuals like differences in fighting abilities (rank-order) and analyse how that will affect strategies and levels of cooperation. These models will allow us to create an interactive process between theory and empirical research on systems as diverse as marine cleaning mutualism, cooperatively breeding vertebrates, and primate societies.
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