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Time delays shape the eco-evolutionary dynamics of cooperation

We study the intricate interplay between ecological and evolutionary processes through the lens of the prisoner’s dilemma game. But while previous studies on cooperation amongst selfish individuals often assume instantaneous interactions, we take into consideration delays to investigate how these might affect the causes underlying prosocial behavior.

Through analytical calculations and numerical simulations, we demonstrate that delays can lead to oscillations, and by incorporating also the ecological variable of altruistic free space and the evolutionary strategy of punishment, we explore how these factors impact population and community dynamics.

Depending on the parameter values and the initial fraction of each strategy, the studied eco-evolutionary model can mimic a cyclic dominance system and even exhibit chaotic behavior, thereby highlighting the importance of complex dynamics for the effective management and conservation of ecological communities.

Our research thus contributes to the broader understanding of group decision-making and the emergence of moral behavior in multidimensional social systems.

S. Roy, S. Nag Chowdhury, S. Kundu, G. Kumar Sar, J. Banerjee, B. Rakshit, P. Chandra Mali, M. Perc, D. Ghosh, Time delays shape the eco-evolutionary dynamics of cooperation, Scientific Reports 13 (2023) 14331.

Matjaz Perc

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