Cover: Exploring the foundations of artificial societies

Exploring the foundations of artificial societies

Experiments in evolving solutions to iterated N-player prisoner's dilemma

Published 1995

by Steven C. Bankes

Purchase Print Copy

Add to Cart Paperback6 pages Free

This paper describes the use of genetic algorithm based approaches to explore the evolution of cooperative behavior in N player generalizations of prisoner's dilemma. In these experiments, quasi-stable cooperation emerges for coalitions of cooperators of all sizes greater than a minimum coalition size determined by the payoff structure of the game. The framework described here produces emergent cooperation reproducibly as long as minimum coalitions are 3 or less. For games with large minimum coalition sizes, cooperative behavior is not observed.

Research conducted by

Originally published in: Proceedings of Artificial Life IV, Workshop on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

This report is part of the RAND reprint series. The Reprint was a product of RAND from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.