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Impact of misinformation in the evolution of collective cooperation on networks

Meng, Y., Broom, M. & Li, A. (2023). Impact of misinformation in the evolution of collective cooperation on networks. Journal of the Royal Society. Interface, 20(206), article number 20230295. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2023.0295


Human societies are organized and developed through collective cooperative behaviours. Based on the information in their environment, individuals can form collective cooperation by strategically changing unfavourable surroundings and imitating superior behaviours. However, facing the rampant proliferation and spreading of misinformation, we still lack systematic investigations into the impact of misinformation on the evolution of collective cooperation. Here, we study this problem by classical evolutionary game theory. We find that the existence of misinformation generally impedes the emergence of collective cooperation on networks, although the level of cooperation is slightly higher for weak social cooperative dilemma below a proven threshold. We further show that this possible advantage diminishes as social connections become denser, suggesting that the detrimental effect of misinformation further increases when 'social viscosity' is low. Our results uncover the quantitative effect of misinformation on suppressing collective cooperation, and pave the way for designing possible mechanisms to improve collective cooperation.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: collective cooperation; evolutionary game theory; misinformation; Humans; Game Theory; Head; Viscosity; Communication
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Q Science > QA Mathematics
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Mathematics
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Text - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

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