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Cooperate without Looking in a Non-Repeated Game

Program for Evolutionary Dynamics, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Department of Mathematics, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA 
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Ulrich Berger
Games 2015, 6(4), 458-472;
Received: 16 June 2015 / Revised: 22 September 2015 / Accepted: 24 September 2015 / Published: 30 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cooperation, Trust, and Reciprocity)
PDF [471 KB, uploaded 30 September 2015]


We propose a simple model for why we have more trust in people who cooperate without calculating the associated costs. Intuitively, by not looking at the payoffs, people indicate that they will not be swayed by high temptations to defect, which makes them more attractive as interaction partners. We capture this intuition using a simple four-stage game. In the first stage, nature draws the costs and benefits of cooperation according to a commonly-known distribution. In the second stage, Player 1 chooses whether or not to look at the realized payoffs. In the third stage, Player 2 decides whether to exit or let Player 1 choose whether or not to cooperate in the fourth stage. Using backward induction, we provide a complete characterization for when we expect Player 1 to cooperate without looking. Moreover, we show with numerical simulations how cooperating without looking can emerge through simple evolutionary processes. View Full-Text
Keywords: evolutionary game theory; cooperation; emotions; principled behavior evolutionary game theory; cooperation; emotions; principled behavior

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Hilbe, C.; Hoffman, M.; Nowak, M.A. Cooperate without Looking in a Non-Repeated Game. Games 2015, 6, 458-472.

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