Our well-being depends on both our personal success and the success of our society. The realization of this fact makes cooperation an essential trait. Experiments have shown that rewards can elevate our readiness to cooperate, but since giving a reward inevitably entails paying a cost for it, the emergence and stability of such behavior remains elusive. Here we show that allowing for the act of rewarding to self-organize in dependence on the success of cooperation creates several evolutionary advantages that instill new ways through which collaborative efforts are promoted. Ranging from indirect territorial battle to the spontaneous emergence and destruction of coexistence, phase diagrams and the underlying spatial patterns reveal fascinatingly rich social dynamics that explain why this costly behavior has evolved and persevered. Comparisons with adaptive punishment, however, uncover an Achilles heel of adaptive rewarding, coming from over-aggression, which in turn hinders optimal utilization of network reciprocity. This may explain why, despite its success, rewarding is not as firmly embedded into our societal organization as punishment.
Evolutionary advantages of adaptive rewarding
Attila Szolnoki and Matjaž Perc 2012 New J. Phys. 14 093016