Lightweight Interactions for Reciprocal Cooperation in a Social Network Game

Research paper by Masanori Takano, Kazuya Wada, Ichiro Fukuda

Indexed on: 08 Nov '16Published on: 08 Nov '16Published in: arXiv - Physics - Physics and Society


The construction of reciprocal relationships requires cooperative interactions during the initial meetings. However, cooperative behavior with strangers is risky because the strangers may be exploiters. In this study, we show that people increase the likelihood of cooperativeness of strangers by using lightweight non-risky interactions in risky situations based on the analysis of a social network game (SNG). They can construct reciprocal relationships in this manner. The interactions involve low-cost signaling because they are not generated at any cost to the senders and recipients. Theoretical studies show that low-cost signals are not guaranteed to be reliable because the low-cost signals from senders can lie at any time. However, people used low-cost signals to construct reciprocal relationships in an SNG, which suggests the existence of mechanisms for generating reliable, low-cost signals in human evolution.