Population Learning of Cooperative Behavior in a Three-Person Centipede Game
16 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2004 Last revised: 24 Feb 2008
We consider mixed populations (N=21) of genuine (humans) and artificial (robots) agents, repeatedly interacting in small groups whose composition is changed randomly from round to round. Our purpose is to study the spread of cooperative or non-cooperative behavior in the population over time by manipulating the behavior of the robots (cooperative vs. non-cooperative) and their proportion in the population. Our results convey a positive message: adding a handful of cooperative robots increases the propensity of the genuine subjects to cooperate over time, whereas adding a handful of non-cooperative agents does not reduce this propensity. If there are enough persistent cooperative subjects in the population, they not only negate the non-cooperative behavior of the robots but also induce other subjects to behave more cooperatively.
Keywords: Centipede game, population dynamics, cooperation, trust
JEL Classification: C72, C92, D81
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation