Heterogeneous update mechanisms in evolutionary games: mixing innovative and imitative dynamics

Marco Javarone, Marco Antonio Amaral

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    45 Citations (Scopus)
    43 Downloads (Pure)


    Innovation and evolution are two processes of paramount relevance for social and biological systems. In general, the former allows the introduction of elements of novelty, while the latter is responsible for the motion of a system in its phase space. Often, these processes are strongly related, since an innovation can trigger the evolution, and the latter can provide the optimal conditions for the emergence of innovations. Both processes can be studied by using the framework of evolutionary game theory, where evolution constitutes an intrinsic mechanism. At the same time, the concept of innovation requires an opportune mathematical representation. Notably, innovation can be modeled as a strategy, or it can constitute the underlying mechanism that allows agents to change strategy. Here, we analyze the second case, investigating the behavior of a heterogeneous population, composed of imitative and innovative agents. Imitative agents change strategy only by imitating that of their neighbors, whereas innovative ones change strategy without the need for a copying source. The proposed model is analyzed by means of analytical calculations and numerical simulations in different topologies. Remarkably, results indicate that the mixing of mechanisms can be detrimental to cooperation near phase transitions. In those regions, the spatial reciprocity from imitative mechanisms is destroyed by innovative agents, leading to the downfall of cooperation. Our investigation sheds some light on the complex dynamics emerging from the heterogeneity of strategy revision methods, highlighting the role of innovation in evolutionary games.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number042305
    JournalPhysical Review E
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2018


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