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Title: First Impressions Matter: A New Behavioral Strategy to Show the Evolution of Cooperation in Everyday Trade in Ancient Pompeii and Viking Age Scandinavia
Authors: Specht, Megan
Advisors: Tarnita, Corina
Department: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Class Year: 2023
Abstract: Indirect reciprocity is used in models to explain how human cooperation evolves. The current research shows that these cooperative behaviors can only spread throughout a population when there are public institutions that broadcast reputations and interactions. However, public institutions and public sharing of reputations have not been around forever. Ancient and medieval trading societies demonstrated hundreds of years of successful, cooperative economic activity acting under private assessment without publicized reputations. Here, I evaluate the evolution of cooperation in everyday trade in Ancient Pompeii and Viking Age Scandinavia that both existed and thrived under private assessment. Using a model and excavated archaeological and literary materials, I show that a new discriminator behavioral strategy with added stochasticity and cumulative reputation values can produce evolved cooperation under private assessment. I also demonstrate that cumulative reputation values that include first and early impressions, compared to the current discriminator strategy that only accounts for an individual’s most recent impression, significantly increases evolved cooperation in a population.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 1992-2023

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