Statistical Physics of Human Cooperation

Physics Reports 687, 1-51 (2017)

48 Pages Posted: 26 May 2017 Last revised: 17 Oct 2018

See all articles by Matjaz Perc

Matjaz Perc

Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, University of Maribor

Jillian Jordan

Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

David G. Rand

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Zhen Wang

Northwestern Polytechnical University

Stefano Boccaletti

CNR - Institute for Complex Systems, Florence

Attila Szolnoki

Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS) - Research Institute for Technical Physics and Materials Science

Date Written: May 23, 2017

Abstract

Extensive cooperation among unrelated individuals is unique to humans, who often sacrifice personal benefits for the common good and work together to achieve what they are unable to execute alone. The evolutionary success of our species is indeed due, to a large degree, to our unparalleled other-regarding abilities. Yet, a comprehensive understanding of human cooperation remains a formidable challenge. Recent research in social science indicates that it is important to focus on the collective behavior that emerges as the result of the interactions among individuals, groups, and even societies. Non-equilibrium statistical physics, in particular Monte Carlo methods and the theory of collective behavior of interacting particles near phase transition points, has proven to be very valuable for understanding counterintuitive evolutionary outcomes. By studying models of human cooperation as classical spin models, a physicist can draw on familiar settings from statistical physics. However, unlike pairwise interactions among particles that typically govern solid-state physics systems, interactions among humans often involve group interactions, and they also involve a larger number of possible states even for the most simplified description of reality. The complexity of solutions therefore often surpasses that observed in physical systems. Here we review experimental and theoretical research that advances our understanding of human cooperation, focusing on spatial pattern formation, on the spatiotemporal dynamics of observed solutions, and on self-organization that may either promote or hinder socially favorable states.

Keywords: Human Cooperation, Evolutionary Game Theory, Public Goods, Reward, Punishment, Tolerance, Self-Organization, Pattern Formation

JEL Classification: C7, C9, D7, H4

Suggested Citation

Perc, Matjaz and Jordan, Jillian and Rand, David G. and Wang, Zhen and Boccaletti, Stefano and Szolnoki, Attila, Statistical Physics of Human Cooperation (May 23, 2017). Physics Reports 687, 1-51 (2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2972841

Matjaz Perc (Contact Author)

Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, University of Maribor ( email )

Koroska cesta 160
Maribor, SI-2000
Slovenia

HOME PAGE: http://www.matjazperc.com/

Jillian Jordan

Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University ( email )

2211 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208
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

Zhen Wang

Northwestern Polytechnical University ( email )

127 Youyixi Road, Beilin Area
Xi'an, Shannxi 710072
China
86-182-9256-0632 (Phone)

Stefano Boccaletti

CNR - Institute for Complex Systems, Florence ( email )

Via Madonna del Piano 10
Florence, Sesto Fiorentino 50019
Italy

Attila Szolnoki

Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS) - Research Institute for Technical Physics and Materials Science ( email )

Konkoly-Thege u. 29-33
Budapest, H-1525
Hungary

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
24
Abstract Views
479
PlumX Metrics