An informal discussion of:
Human strategy updating in evolutionary games
Arne Traulsena,b,1, Dirk Semmannb,c, Ralf D. Sommerfeldb, Hans-Jürgen Krambeckb, and Manfred Milinskib
Evolutionary game dynamics describe not only frequency-dependent genetic evolution, but also cultural evolution in humans. In this context, successful strategies spread by imitation. It has been shown that the details of strategy update rules can have a crucial impact on evolutionary dynamics in theoretical models and, for example, can significantly alter the level of cooperation in social dilemmas. What kind of strategy update rules can describe imitation dynamics in humans? Here, we present a way to measure such strategy update rules in a behavioral experiment. We use a setting in which individuals are virtually arranged on a spatial lattice. This produces a large number of different strategic situations from which we can assess strategy updating. Most importantly, spontaneous strategy changes corresponding to mutations or exploration behavior are more frequent than assumed in many models. Our experimental approach to measure properties of the update mechanisms used in theoretical models will be useful for mathematical models of cultural evolution.