Effect of initial fraction of cooperators on cooperative behavior in evolutionary prisoner's dilemma game

Keizo Shigaki, Zhen Wang, Jun Tanimoto, Eriko Fukuda

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46 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate the influence of initial fraction of cooperators on the evolution of cooperation in spatial prisoner's dilemma games. Compared with the results of heterogeneous networks, we find that there is a relatively low initial fraction of cooperators to guarantee higher equilibrium cooperative level. While this interesting phenomenon is contrary to the commonly shared knowledge that higher initial fraction of cooperators can provide better environment for the evolution of cooperation. To support our outcome, we explore the time courses of cooperation and find that the whole course can be divided into two sequent stages: enduring (END) and expanding (EXP) periods. At the end of END period, thought there is a limited number of cooperator clusters left for the case of low initial setup, these clusters can smoothly expand to hold the whole system in the EXP period. However, for high initial fraction of cooperators, superfluous cooperator clusters hinder their effective expansion, which induces many remaining defectors surrounding the cooperator clusters. Moreover, through intensive analysis, we also demonstrate that when the tendency of three cooperation cluster characteristics (cluster size, cluster number and cluster shape) are consistent within END and EXP periods, the state that maximizes cooperation can be favored.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere76942
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 7 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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