Game Theory in Nature Essay

This essay has a total of 414 words and 2 pages.

Game Theory in Nature

Game Theory in Nature:
Biologists observe that animals and even lower organisms often behave altruistically. Such
behavior is obviously beneficial for the species as a whole. Although it is difficult to
measure how an animal's altruistic behaviour affects its chances for survival and
reproduction, theoretical research is starting to fill in the picture of how cooperation
may survive natural selection. Some of the most illuminating ideas are coming from game
theory, the field of mathematics that studies strategic behavior in competitive
situations.

For decades, game theorists' basic paradigm for the puzzle of cooperation has been the
scenario called the prisoner's dilemma, in which each player has a powerful incentive to
exploit the other. The game is set up so that cooperation is best for the group, but each
player individually does better by taking advantage of the other.

TIT FOR TAT: Things look rosier for cooperation in situations where a participant plays
the prisoner's dilemma repeatedly with the same opponent and learns from previous games.
After all, it can be risky to exploit someone you know you're going to encounter again.

A player using the tit-for-tat strategy cooperates in the first round and then in each
subsequent round mimics the opponent's behavior in the previous round. In a population
containing a mix of defectors and tit-for-tat players, the latter generally do better,
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