How Much Interconnected Should Networks be for Cooperation to Thrive?

  • Zhen Wang
  • Attila Szolnoki
  • Matjaž PercEmail author
Part of the Understanding Complex Systems book series (UCS)


While the consensus is that interconnectivity between networks does promote cooperation by means of organizational complexity and enhanced reciprocity that is out of reach on isolated networks, we here address the question just how much interconnectivity there should be. The more the better according to naive intuition, yet we show that in fact only an intermediate density of sufficiently strong interactions between networks is optimal for the evolution of cooperation. This is due to an intricate interplay between the heterogeneity that causes an asymmetric strategy flow because of the additional links between the networks, and the independent formation of cooperative patterns on each individual network. Presented results are robust to variations of the strategy updating rule, the topology of interconnected networks, and the governing social dilemma, and thus indicate a high degree of universality. We also outline future directions for research based on coevolutionary games and survey existing work.


Cluster Coefficient Interconnected Network Evolutionary Game Social Dilemma External Link 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was supported by the Hungarian National Research Fund (Grant K-101490), TAMOP-4.2.2.A-11/1/KONV-2012-0051, and the Slovenian Research Agency (Grants J1-4055 and P5-0027).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhysicsHong Kong Baptist UniversityKowloon TongHong Kong
  2. 2.Center for Nonlinear Studies and the Beijing-Hong Kong-Singapore Joint Center for Nonlinear and Complex SystemsHong Kong Baptist UniversityKowloon TongHong Kong
  3. 3.Institute of Technical Physics and Materials ScienceResearch Centre for Natural Sciences, Hungarian Academy of SciencesBudapestHungary
  4. 4.Faculty of Natural Sciences and MathematicsUniversity of MariborMariborSlovenia

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