Theory and Decision

, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 289–314

The Emergence of Reactive Strategies in Simulated Heterogeneous Populations

  • Ilan Fischer

DOI: 10.1023/

Cite this article as:
Fischer, I. Theory and Decision (2003) 55: 289. doi:10.1023/


The computer simulation study explores the impact of the duration of social impact on the generation and stabilization of cooperative strategies. Rather than seeding the simulations with a finite set of strategies, a continuous distribution of strategies is being defined. Members of heterogeneous populations were characterized by a pair of probabilistic reactive strategies: the probability to respond to cooperation by cooperation and the probability to respond to defection by cooperation. This generalized reactive strategy yields the standard TFT mechanism, the All-Cooperate, All-Defect and Bully strategies as special cases. Pairs of strategies interacted through a Prisoner's Dilemma game and exerted social influence on all other members. Manipulating: (i) the initial distribution of populations' strategies, and (ii) the duration of social influence, we monitored the conditions leading to the emergence and stabilization of cooperative strategies. Results show that: (1) The duration of interactions between pairs of strategies constitutes a crucial factor for the emergence and stabilization of cooperative strategies, (2) Unless sufficient learning intervals are provided, initializing the simulations with cooperative populations does not guarantee that cooperation will sustain.

computer simulationduration of interactionheterogeneous populationsPrisoner's Dilemmaprobabilistic Tit For Tatreactive strategiessocial impact

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ilan Fischer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Behavioral SciencesBen-Gurion University of the NegevIsrael. E-mail