Artificial Intelligence Review

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 3–92 | Cite as

Agent-Based Simulation in the Study of Social Dilemmas

  • N.M. Gotts
  • J.G. Polhill
  • A.N.R. Law
Article

Abstract

This review discusses agent-based social simulation(ABSS) in relation tothe study of social dilemmas such as the Prisoner'sDilemma and Tragedy of the Commons. Its aims are to explore theplace of ABSS in relation to other research methods such asmathematical analysis, to familiariseartificial intelligence researchers (particularly those working onmulti-agent systems)with a body of relevant multidisciplinary work, and to suggest directionsfor future ABSS research on social dilemmas.

ABSS research can contribute greatly to the understanding of socialphenomena, but needs to be based on a clear appreciation of the current`state of play' in the areas where it is used. With regard to `thin'(simple, general) simulation models, this primarily means attending towhat has been or could be discovered by mathematical analysis, to workusing other forms of simulation, and to the relevanttheoretical disputes; with regard to `thick' (specific, detailed) models(about which the paper has less to say), linking to the relevant`thin' models and to the empirical evidence. The bulk of ABSS work onsocial dilemmas has been concentratedin quite a narrow – though certainly significant – area (reciprocalaltruism in the Prisoner's Dilemma), and has sometimesbeen seriously flawed by over-ambitious claims, and insufficientattention to analytical approaches – although this same work has beenvery fertile in terms of inspiring further work, both analytical andsimulation-based.

agents altruism cooperation economics evolution games simulation 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • N.M. Gotts
    • 1
  • J.G. Polhill
    • 1
  • A.N.R. Law
    • 1
  1. 1.Macaulay Land Use Research InstituteCraigiebucklerScotland, UK

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