The role of gossip in the evolution of cooperation

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The prevalence of cooperation in human societies is astonishing. Scholars from many disciplines have been sought to understand why it evolves. Some studies have indicated that gossip may play an important role in the evolution of cooperation. However, there has yet to be a systematic attempt to test this hypothesis directly. In this thesis, I developed an evolutionary game theoretic model and examined the role of gossip in the evolution of cooperation as well as the mechanism of the evolution of gossipers. I found that gossip increases reputation accessibility and makes the utilization of reputation information effective and necessary. The utilization of reputation information not only leads to more cooperation but also motivates individuals to manage their reputation by cooperating more with gossipers. As a result, gossipers gain an advantage over non-gossipers, and this leads to the evolution of gossipers. I also examined the factors that moderate these results.