Evolutionary dynamics of the prisonerʼs dilemma with expellers

Xiaofeng Wang, Guofeng Zhang, Weijian Kong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Expulsion refers to the widespread behavior of expelling intruders from the owners’ territories, which has not been considered in current models on the evolutionary dynamics of cooperation so far. In the context of prisoner’s dilemma, we present a simple game-theoretical model of expulsion in which punishing cooperators (i.e. expellers) are able to banish defectors from their own neighborhoods. In the mean-field limit, our theoretical analysis of prisoner’s dilemma with expellers shows that the increment of either vacant sites ratio or time scale parameter between pairwise interaction process and strategy updating process can slow down evolutionary speed though defection is the only stable fixed point anyway. In more realistic spatial settings, we provide both analytical and numerical results for the limiting case where pairwise interaction dynamics proceeds much faster than strategy updating dynamics. Using the extended pair approximation methods and Monte Carlo simulations, we show that the introduction of expellers not only promotes coevolution of expulsion and cooperation by means of both direct and indirect domain competition but also opens the gate to rich dynamical behaviors even if expulsion is costly. Phase diagrams reveal the occurrence of frozen as well as dynamical stationary states, between which continuous or discontinuous phase transition may happen. For intermediate ranges, we investigate numerically the coupled interplay between pairwise interaction dynamics and strategy updating dynamics, and show that the validity of main results for the limiting case can be extended to this general case. Interestingly, there exists an optimal value of time scale parameter that results in the maximum fraction of altruistic players, which resembles the coherence resonance phenomenon in dynamical systems. Our results may provide insights into understanding coevolutionary dynamics of expulsive and cooperative behavior in social dilemma situations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number015011
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Physics Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2019


  • Cooperation
  • Evolutionary dynamics
  • Expulsion
  • Phase separation
  • Social dilemma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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