The Evolution of Cooperation

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The Evolution of Cooperation generally refers to:

This article is an introduction to how game theory and computer modeling are illuminating certain aspects of moral and political philosophy, particularly the role of individuals in groups, the "biology of selfishness and altruism",[2] and how cooperation can be evolutionarily advantageous.


Operations Research

The idea that human behavior can be usefully analyzed mathematically gained great credibility following the application of operations research in World War II to improve military operations. One famous example involved how the Royal Air Force hunted submarines in the Bay of Biscay.[3] It had seemed to make sense to patrol the areas where submarines were most frequently seen. Then it was pointed out that "seeing the most submarines" was also a function of patrol density – i.e., of the number of eyes looking. Making an allowance for patrol density showed that patrols were more efficient – that is, found more submarines per patrol – in other areas. Making appropriate adjustments increased the overall effectiveness.

Game Theory

Accounts of the success of operations research during the war, publication in 1944 of John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern's Theory of Games and Economic Behavior (Von Neumann & Morgenstern 1944) on the use of game theory for developing and analyzing optimal strategies for military and other uses, and publication of John William's The Compleat Strategyst, a popular exposition of game theory,[4] led to a greater appreciation of mathematical analysis of human behavior.[5]

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