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The effect of power asymmetries on cooperation and punishment in a prisoner's dilemma game.

Bone, JE; Wallace, B; Bshary, R; Raihani, NJ; (2015) The effect of power asymmetries on cooperation and punishment in a prisoner's dilemma game. PLoS One , 10 (1) , Article e0117183. 10.1371/journal.pone.0117183. Green open access

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Abstract

Recent work has suggested that punishment is detrimental because punishment provokes retaliation, not cooperation, resulting in lower overall payoffs. These findings may stem from the unrealistic assumption that all players are equal: in reality individuals are expected to vary in the power with which they can punish defectors. Here, we allowed strong players to interact with weak players in an iterated prisoner's dilemma game with punishment. Defecting players were most likely to switch to cooperation if the partner cooperated: adding punishment yielded no additional benefit and, under some circumstances, increased the chance that the partner would both defect and retaliate against the punisher. Our findings show that, in a two-player game, cooperation begets cooperation and that punishment does not seem to yield any additional benefits. Further work should explore whether strong punishers might prevail in multi-player games.

Type: Article
Title: The effect of power asymmetries on cooperation and punishment in a prisoner's dilemma game.
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0117183
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0117183
Language: English
Additional information: © 2015 Bone et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1471411
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