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Competitive centipede games: Zero-end payoffs and payoff inequality deter reciprocal cooperation

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journal contribution
posted on 15.09.2015, 08:47 by Eva M. Krockow, Briony D. Pulford, Andrew M. Colman
Reciprocal cooperation can be studied in the Centipede game, in which two players alternate in choosing between a cooperative GO move and a non-cooperative STOP move. GO sustains the interaction and increases the player pair’s total payoff while incurring a small personal cost; STOP terminates the interaction with a favorable payoff to the defector. We investigated cooperation in four Centipede games differing in their payoffs at the game’s end (positive versus zero) and payoff difference between players (moderate versus high difference). The games shared the same game-theoretic solution, therefore they should have elicited identical decision patterns, according to orthodox game theory. Nevertheless, both zero-end payoffs and high payoff inequality were found to reduce cooperation significantly. Contrary to previous predictions, combining these two factors in one game resulted in a slight weakening of their independent deterrent effects. These findings show that small changes in the payoff function have large and significant effects on cooperation, and that the effects do not combine synergistically.

History

Citation

Games, 2015, 6 (3), pp. 262-272

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES AND PSYCHOLOGY/School of Psychology

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

Games

Publisher

MDPI AG

eissn

2073-4336

Acceptance date

14/08/2015

Copyright date

2015

Available date

15/09/2015

Publisher version

http://www.mdpi.com/2073-4336/6/3/262

Language

en