Mobility restores the mechanism which supports cooperation in the voluntary prisoner's dilemma game

Marcos Cardinot, Colm O'Riordan, Josephine Griffith, Attila Szolnoki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


It is generally believed that in a situation where individual and collective interests are in conflict, the availability of optional participation is a key mechanism to maintain cooperation. Surprisingly, this effect is sensitive to the use of microscopic dynamics and can easily be broken when agents make a fully rational decision during their strategy updates. In the framework of the celebrated prisoner's dilemma game, we show that this discrepancy can be fixed automatically if we leave the strict and frequently artifact condition of a fully occupied interaction graph, and allow agents to change not just their strategies but also their positions according to their success. In this way, a diluted graph where agents may move offers a natural and alternative way to handle artifacts arising from the application of specific and sometimes awkward microscopic rules.

Original languageEnglish
Article number073038
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 23 2019



  • evolution of cooperation
  • evolutionary game theory
  • mobility
  • optional prisoner s dilemma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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