Reputation Effects in Public and Private Interactions

Hisashi Ohtsuki, Yoh Iwasa, Martin A. Nowak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


We study the evolution of cooperation in a model of indirect reciprocity where people interact in public and private situations. Public interactions have a high chance to be observed by others and always affect reputation. Private interactions have a lower chance to be observed and only occasionally affect reputation. We explore all second order social norms and study conditions for evolutionary stability of action rules. We observe the competition between “honest” and “hypocritical” strategies. The former cooperate both in public and in private. The later cooperate in public, where many others are watching, but try to get away with defection in private situations. The hypocritical idea is that in private situations it does not pay-off to cooperate, because there is a good chance that nobody will notice it. We find simple and intuitive conditions for the evolution of honest strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1004527
JournalPLoS Computational Biology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Ecology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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