Ethnocentrism Maintains Cooperation, but Keeping One's Children Close Fuels It

Abstract

Ethnocentrism, commonly thought to rely on complex social cognition, can arise through biological evolution in populations with minimal cognitive abilities. In fact, ethnocentrism is considered to be one of the simplest mechanisms for establishing cooperation in the competitive environment of natural selection. Here we study a recent agent-based model. Through our simulations and analysis, we establish that the mechanism responsible for the emergence of cooperation is children residing close to their parents. Our results suggest that group tags maintain cooperation, but do not create it. We formalize this observation as the dual direct hypothesis: ethnocentric agents dominate humanitarian agents by exploiting the unconditional cooperation of humanitarians of di erent tags to maintain the number of ethnocentric agents after world saturation. We affirm previous observations on the importance of world saturation, finding its drastic effect on dynamics in both spatial tag-based and tag-less models


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