Selection methods regulate evolution of cooperation in digital evolution
A key, yet often neglected, component of digital evolution and evolutionary models is the 'selection method' which assigns fitness (number of offspring) to individuals based on their performance scores (efficiency in performing tasks). Here, we study with formal analysis and numerical experiments the evolution of cooperation under the five most common selection methods (proportionate, rank, truncation-proportionate, truncation-uniform and tournament). We consider related individuals engaging in a Prisoner's Dilemma game where individuals can either cooperate or defect. A cooperator pays a cost, whereas its partner receives a benefit, which affect their performance scores. These performance scores are translated into fitness by one of the five selection methods. We show that cooperation is positively associated with the relatedness between individuals under all selection methods. By contrast, the change in the performance benefit of cooperation affects the populations' average level of cooperation only under the proportionate methods. We also demonstrate that the truncation and tournament methods may introduce negative frequency-dependence and lead to the evolution of polymorphic populations. Using the example of the evolution of cooperation, we show that the choice of selection method, though it is often marginalized, can considerably affect the evolutionary dynamics.