Beliefs and Cooperation

Bernardo A.Huberman and Natalie S.Glance


Individuals in groups must often choose between acting selfishly and cooperating for the common good. The choices they make are based on their beliefs on how they expect their actions to affect others. We show that for a broad set of beliefs and group characteristics cooperation can appear spontaneously in non-cooperative groups after very long periods of time. When delays in information are unavoidable the group dynamics acquires a wide repertoire of behaviors, ranging from opportunistic oscillations to bursty chaos, thus excluding the possibility of sustained cooperation.