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What Games Support the Evolution of an Ingroup Bias?
Linköping University, The Institute for Analytical Sociology, IAS. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Centrum för evolutionär kulturforskning, Stockholms universitet; Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution, Stockholm University.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8357-0276
2015 (English)In: Journal of Theoretical Biology, ISSN 0022-5193, E-ISSN 1095-8541, Vol. 373, 100-110 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There is an increasing wealth of models trying to explain the evolution of group discrimination and an ingroup bias. This paper sets out to systematically investigate the most fundamental assumption in these models: in what kind of situations do the interactions take place? What strategic structures – games – support the evolution of an ingroup bias? More specifically, the aim here is to find the prerequisites for when a bias also with respect to minimal groups – arbitrarily defined groups void of group-specific qualities – is selected for, and which cannot be ascribed to kin selection.

Through analyses and simulations of minimal models of two-person games, this paper indicates that only some games are conducive to the evolution of ingroup favouritism. In particular, this class does not contain the prisoners' dilemma, but it does contain anti-co-ordination and co-ordination games. Contrasting to the prisoners' dilemma, these are games where it is not a matter of whether to behave altruistically, but rather one of predicting what the other person will be doing, and where I would benefit from you knowing my intentions.

In anti-co-ordination games, on average, not only will agents discriminate between groups, but also in such a way that their choices maximise the sum of the available payoffs towards the ingroup more often than towards the outgroup. And in co-ordination games, even if agents do manage to co-ordinate with the whole population, they are more likely to co-ordinate on the socially optimal equilibrium within their group. Simulations show that this occurs most often in games where there is a component of risk-taking, and thus trust, involved. A typical such game is the stag hunt or assurance game.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 373, 100-110 p.
Keyword [en]
Ethnocentrism, Minimal groups, Cooperation, Replicator dynamics, Game theory, Assurance game
Keyword [sv]
etnocentrism, minimala grupper, samarbete, replikatordynamik, spelteori
National Category
Evolutionary Biology Other Mathematics Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-115764DOI: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2015.03.008ISI: 000354002800009PubMedID: 25794651OAI: diva2:796364
EU, FP7, Seventh Framework Programme, 324233
Available from: 2015-03-18 Created: 2015-03-18 Last updated: 2015-05-22

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Jansson, Fredrik
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The Institute for Analytical Sociology, IASFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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Evolutionary BiologyOther MathematicsSociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)

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