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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Feb 28;103(9):3490-4. Epub 2006 Feb 16.

Evolutionary dynamics of social dilemmas in structured heterogeneous populations.

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Institut de Recherches Interdisciplinaires et de Développements en Intelligence Artificielle, CP 194/6, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium.


Real populations have been shown to be heterogeneous, in which some individuals have many more contacts than others. This fact contrasts with the traditional homogeneous setting used in studies of evolutionary game dynamics. We incorporate heterogeneity in the population by studying games on graphs, in which the variability in connectivity ranges from single-scale graphs, for which heterogeneity is small and associated degree distributions exhibit a Gaussian tale, to scale-free graphs, for which heterogeneity is large with degree distributions exhibiting a power-law behavior. We study the evolution of cooperation, modeled in terms of the most popular dilemmas of cooperation. We show that, for all dilemmas, increasing heterogeneity favors the emergence of cooperation, such that long-term cooperative behavior easily resists short-term noncooperative behavior. Moreover, we show how cooperation depends on the intricate ties between individuals in scale-free populations.

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