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Social learning strategies and cooperative behaviour: Evidence of payoff bias, but not prestige or conformity, in a social dilemma game

Watson, Robin; Morgan, Thomas J.H.; Kendal, Rachel L.; Van de Vyver, Julie; Kendal, Jeremy

Social learning strategies and cooperative behaviour: Evidence of payoff bias, but not prestige or conformity, in a social dilemma game Thumbnail


Authors

Robin Watson robin.o.watson@durham.ac.uk
PGR Student Doctor of Philosophy

Thomas J.H. Morgan



Abstract

Human cooperation, occurring without reciprocation and between unrelated individuals in large populations, represents an evolutionary puzzle. One potential explanation is that cooperative behaviour may be transmitted between individuals via social learning. Using an online social dilemma experiment, we find evidence that participants’ contributions were more consistent with payoff-biased transmission than prestige-biased transmission or conformity. We also found some evidence for lower cooperation (i) when exposed to social information about peer cooperation levels than without such information, and (ii) in the prisoners’ dilemma game compared to the snowdrift game. A simulation model established that the observed cooperation was more likely to be caused by participants’ general propensity to cooperate than by the effect of social learning strategies employed within the experiment, but that this cooperative propensity could be reduced through selection. Overall, our results support previous experimental evidence indicating the role of payoff-biased transmission in explaining cooperative behaviour, but we find that this effect was small and was overwhelmed by participants’ general propensity for cooperation.

Citation

Watson, R., Morgan, T. J., Kendal, R. L., Van de Vyver, J., & Kendal, J. (2021). Social learning strategies and cooperative behaviour: Evidence of payoff bias, but not prestige or conformity, in a social dilemma game. Games, 12(4), Article 89. https://doi.org/10.3390/g12040089

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 21, 2021
Online Publication Date Nov 23, 2021
Publication Date 2021
Deposit Date Dec 9, 2021
Publicly Available Date Dec 13, 2021
Journal Games
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 4
Article Number 89
DOI https://doi.org/10.3390/g12040089
Public URL https://durham-repository.worktribe.com/output/1218947

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Published Journal Article (4.5 Mb)
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Publisher Licence URL
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Copyright Statement
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited






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