Further Study: Altruistic Punishment

October 18, 2009
by Evan Shelhamer (eshelham)

With the successful reproduction of both a Riolo-style simulation and the use of trivial geography we have concluded the “Replication” phase of our work and are moving on to exploring the possibilities of original work. We’ve decided to pursue altruistic punishment because of the current level of research and debate, the novelty of the phenomenon as compared to the other beaten-to-death aspects of altruism, and the lack of computational studies/results in the field. At this time most publications are either from evolutionary psychology or take a game-theoretic approach, and none of them are tested by simulation.

To start we surveyed the literature we could find about altruistic punishment in general, the mathematics of accepted current models, and specific instances of cheaters/punishers in humans and other organisms. Notes with links to full papers below:

Altruistic Punishment in Humans:
- Punishment common (> 80% punish at least once)
- Most punishment (~75%) of defectors (below average contributors) by cooperators (above average contributors)
- Punishment energy expended rarely exceeds energy held out by defector
- Light punishment of over-contributors (!)
- Effects of punishment immediate
- Punisher often punish with no benefit to themselves; benefit goes to members of future interactions
	with the punished
- Human defectors expect anger/punishment. Effect of punishment without expectation?

Weak Conformist Transmission can Stabilize Costly Enforcement:
- Pay-off (Prestige) transmission: copy the most successful
- Conformist transmission: copy the most frequent
- Second order free riders: cooperate in many activity, don't punish
- One cooperation round: cost C to invidual, benefit B to group (equally divided among members)
- Several punishment rounds
- Cooperative error (intent, but failure to cooperate): very low rate

Evolution of Altruistic Punishment:
- Even punish at one-shot interactions
- Individual cost C to group benefit B (expected contributor payoff: bx - c)
- Punisher individual cost K to individual harm K (reduce defector by p/n, at cost k/n punisher)
- Defection only stable strategy (punishers slightest less fit by their enforcement cost)
- Altruistic punishment involves when altruistic cooperation can't?
- Selection against punishment is weak when punishment is common, might give punishment a maintainable
	toe-hold in population
- Results: group selection + punishment maintains altruism over wider range of parameters than
	group selection alone

Altruistic Punishment & Evolution of Cooperation:
- Only enforce pay-off improving strategies, not any strategies
- Emergency by hitchhiking, mostly norm conforming genes
- Non-participants prevent defector takeover
- Incorporate chance of observing defection (pq for p, p = P(defection), q = P(observation))
- Prevent second-order defection by punishing punishers who fail to punish enough
- Punishment can emerge in presence of incentive not to contribute, incentive not to punish
- Cooperation-Defection-Nonparticipation cycle only for origin, not persistence of punishment

Conflict Resolution in Insect Societies:
- Kinship, Coercion, and Constraint key factors that combine to limit effects of conflict,
	or completely resolve
- Inclusive Fitness Theory explains altruism by kinship of colony; ironically also explains
	conflict, because relatedness never totally overrides individual reproductive interest
	* Kinship favors the related
	* Coercion may prevent selfish action or reduce benefit of selfishness, but not necessarily
		stable because of selection to evade coercion
	* Constraints can be the result of heavy coercion, or other limiting factors (lack of surplus
		energy, etc.)

Punishment in Animal Societies:
- Evolutionary game theory models confirm that punishing tactics will often be evolutionarily stable
- Most likely states: dominants punish trangressors who subsequently avoid transgression, dominants
	transgress without fear of retaliation
- Six categories or interaction:
	* true altruism
	* mutualism
	* reciprocal altruism
	* selfishness
	* punishment
	* spite

altruistic punishment in humans, weak-conformist-transmission-can-stabilize-costly-enforcement-of-norms-in-cooperative-dilemmas, evolution of altruistic punishment, altruistic punishment & origin of cooperation, conflict-resolution-in-insect-societies, punishment-in-animal-societies

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.