Co-Evolution of Cooperation and Cognition: The Impact of Imperfect Deliberation and Context-Sensitive Intuition

Forthcoming in Proc Roy Soc B

60 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2016 Last revised: 18 Feb 2017

See all articles by Adam Bear

Adam Bear

Yale University

Ari Kagan

Yale University - Department of Psychology

David G. Rand

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Date Written: January 30, 2017

Abstract

How does cognitive sophistication impact cooperation? We explore this question using a model of the co-evolution of cooperation and cognition. In our model, agents confront social dilemmas and coordination games, and make decisions using intuition or deliberation. Intuition is automatic and effortless, but relatively (although not necessarily completely) insensitive to context. Deliberation, conversely, is costly but relatively (although not necessarily perfectly) sensitive to context. We find that regardless of the sensitivity of intuition and imperfection of deliberation, deliberating undermines cooperation in social dilemmas; whereas deliberating can increase cooperation in coordination games if intuition is sufficiently sensitive. Furthermore, when coordination games are sufficiently likely, selection favors a strategy whose intuitive response ignores the contextual cues available and cooperates across contexts. Thus we see how simple cognition can arise from active selection for simplicity, rather than just be forced to be simple due to cognitive constraints. Finally, we find that when deliberation is imperfect, the favored strategy increases cooperation in social dilemmas (as a result of reducing deliberation) as the benefit of cooperation to the recipient increases.

Keywords: Cooperation, Evolutionary Game Theory, Dual-Process

Suggested Citation

Bear, Adam and Kagan, Ari and Rand, David G., Co-Evolution of Cooperation and Cognition: The Impact of Imperfect Deliberation and Context-Sensitive Intuition (January 30, 2017). Forthcoming in Proc Roy Soc B. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2862717 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2862717

Adam Bear (Contact Author)

Yale University ( email )

2 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

HOME PAGE: http://campuspress.yale.edu/adambear/

Ari Kagan

Yale University - Department of Psychology ( email )

P.O. Box 208205
New Haven, CT 06520-8205
United States

David G. Rand

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.daverand.org

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