Cooperation   no comments

Posted at 3:55 pm in Uncategorized

I’m going to have a go at looking at this from the viewpoint of psychology and modeling complex systems. From studying Economics I understand that the basic problem with cooperation is a lack of trust (prisoners dilemma etc) and the way round it is to build trust but trust is a pretty vague concept. This becomes more of an issue when you consider cooperation between people who have little face to face contact.

What I intend to do is research how people who model complexity atempt to define structures in which cooperation is considered stable (i.e. it is the most likely outcome based on the conditions of the model) and compare this to what psychologists would think of as the conditions in which people would cooperate with each other or trust each other.

Thus far I have read this from the reading list of the complexity science DTC:

Geard, N. (2001). An exploration of NK landscapes with neutrality. MSc thesis, University of Queensland.

NK landscapes were origionally developed as models for looking at evolution. It’s basically a way of calculating how the interelatedness of genes effects the ability of a gene pool in finding the best genome (gene = 1 bit of DNA coding for 1 characteristic, geneome = all the genes together in one individual, gene pool = all the genes of the species). For example, if the expression of one gene causes all the others to change to a different value is this better than if they all went about their business as individuals.

The basic conclusion of the model is that when there is no interelatedness you can evolve slowly to a peak fitness for the gene pool which isnt amazing but is still pretty good. If you add a little bit of relatedness fitness increases but more than a little bit and you get what is termed a catastrophy of complexity where fitness decreases as compliexity increases.

Looking at cooperation this is interesting because you would intuitively expect that a system with massively high levels of interconnectedness would be more stabe and cooperative than one without. The task now is to try and find work that deals with a more specific ‘real world’ scenario than one as abstracted from my topic as this.

Still, an interesting method for researching these issues I think.

Written by Paul on October 27th, 2010

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