Indirect reciprocity is sensitive to costs of information transfer.
AuthorSuzuki, S; Kimura, H
Source TitleScientific Reports
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media LLC
University of Melbourne Author/sSuzuki, Shinsuke
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsSuzuki, S. & Kimura, H. (2013). Indirect reciprocity is sensitive to costs of information transfer.. Sci Rep, 3 (1), pp.1435-. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep01435.
Access StatusOpen Access
Open Access at PMChttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3595703
How natural selection can promote cooperative or altruistic behavior is a fundamental question in biological and social sciences. One of the persuasive mechanisms is "indirect reciprocity," working through reputation: cooperative behavior can prevail because the behavior builds the donor's good reputation and then s/he receives some reciprocal benefits from someone else in the community. However, an important piece missed in the previous studies is that the reputation-building process requires substantial cognitive abilities such as communication skills, potentially causing a loss of biological fitness. Here, by mathematical analyses and individual-based computer simulations, we show that natural selection never favors indirect reciprocal cooperation in the presence of the cost of reputation building, regardless of the cost-to-benefit ratio of cooperation or moral assessment rules (social norms). Our results highlight the importance of considering the cost of high-level cognitive abilities in studies of the evolution of humans' and animals' social behavior.
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