Non-vertical cultural transmission, assortment and the evolution of cooperation

Dor Cohen, Ohad Lewin-Epstein, Marcus W. Feldman, Yoav Ram*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Cultural evolution of cooperation under vertical and non-vertical cultural transmission is studied, and conditions are found for fixation and coexistence of cooperation and defection. The evolution of cooperation is facilitated by its horizontal transmission and by an association between social interactions and horizontal transmission. The effect of oblique transmission depends on the horizontal transmission bias. Stable polymorphism of cooperation and defection can occur, and when it does, reduced association between social interactions and horizontal transmission evolves, which leads to a decreased frequency of cooperation and lower population mean fitness. The deterministic conditions are compared to outcomes of stochastic simulations of structured populations. Parallels are drawn with Hamilton's rule incorporating relatedness and assortment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2020.3162
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1951
StatePublished - 26 May 2021


FundersFunder number
Clore Foundation Scholars Programme
Minerva Stiftung Center for Lab Evolution
Morrison Institute for Population and Resources Studies
Stanford University
Israel Science FoundationYR 552/19


    • Prisoner's Dilemma
    • altruism
    • assortment
    • cooperation
    • cultural evolution
    • evolutionary models


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