Oscillatory dynamics in the coevolution of cooperation and mobility

Shinsuke Suzuki, Hiromichi Kimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Although cooperation is a fundamental aspect of our society, it has been a longstanding puzzle in biological and social sciences because cooperation is often costly to those who practice it while others benefit. Recent studies have shown that natural selection favors cooperation when cooperators are more likely to interact with each other than with defectors, an effect called positive assortment. It might be that, in the real world, mobility makes positive assortment possible. However, to our knowledge, the coevolutionary dynamics of cooperation and mobility remains poorly understood. In this study, using an individual-based model where both cooperativeness and mobility are evolved under natural selection, we demonstrate that the coevolutionary dynamics results in the oscillation of the frequency of cooperation as long as the benefit-to-cost ratio of cooperation is large. This finding suggests that natural selection favors or fine-tunes a mobility rate by which cooperation can be maintained dynamically in the form of an oscillation without any other high cognitive abilities such as individual identification or memory of the past actions of other individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-47
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Oct 21
Externally publishedYes


  • Altruism
  • Cooperation
  • Mobility
  • Positive assortment
  • Prisoner's dilemma game

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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