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Animal Social Networks$
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Jens Krause, Richard James, Daniel W. Franks, and Darren P. Croft

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199679041

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199679041.001.0001

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Assortment in social networks and the evolution of cooperation

Assortment in social networks and the evolution of cooperation

(p.13) Chapter 3 Assortment in social networks and the evolution of cooperation
Animal Social Networks

Darren P. Croft

Mathew Edenbrow

Safi Darden

Oxford University Press

Determining the mechanisms that maintain cooperation is a long standing interdisciplinary challenge. When cooperation occurs among relatives, it can be explained via kin selection. However, cooperation frequently occurs among non-kin, which appears to generate an evolutionary paradox. Cooperation by definition involves social interactions, and theory predicts that cooperators can prevail when they interact with one another; social clusters of cooperators gain higher fitness payoffs than defectors in a population. This chapter reviews the proximate mechanisms that can drive assortment by cooperation in social networks. First, the chapter reviews the theoretical literature that has investigated the interaction between social network structure and cooperation and draws general conclusions from this body of work. In particular, the structural properties of social networks that appear to be fundamental for the maintenance of cooperation are highlighted. Empirical case studies that have examined patterns of cooperation in real-world social networks are discussed, and these are related back to the predictions arising from theory. The biological mechanisms that have the potential to drive the structural properties of social networks thought to be fundamental for the evolution and maintenance of cooperation are reviewed. Finally, future directions for research that are likely to yield further insights into the evolution of cooperation in real-world populations are discussed.

Keywords:   social network, kin selection, cooperation, defectors, assortment

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