The emergence of kinship behavior in structured populations of unrelated individuals

Ilan Eshel, Emilia Sansone, Avner Shaked

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The paper provides an explanation for altruistic behavior based on the matching and learning technology in the population. In a infinite structured population, in which individuals meet and interact with their neighbors, individuals learn by imitating their more successful neighbors. We ask which strategies are robust against invasion of mutants: A strategy is unbeatable if when all play it and a finite group of identical mutants enters then the learning process eliminates the mutants with probability 1. We find that such an unbeatable strategy is necessarily one in which each individual behaves as if he is related to his neighbors and takes into account their welfare as well as his. The degree to which he cares depends on the radii of his neighborhoods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-463
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Game Theory
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1999


  • Altruism
  • Inclusive fitness
  • Local interaction
  • Population dynamics


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