The mouse is a rational economic agent in Prisoner's Dilemma

The mouse is a rational economic agent in Prisoner's Dilemma
Issue Date
Society for neuroscience
Theoretically, rational economic behavior following long-term benefits applied to iterated prisoner’s dilemma game (IPD) dictates higher cooperative choices than defect. Although several animal studies of non-human vertebrates have confirmed dominance of cooperation, unsteady choice rate may suggest that animals lack in the cognitive ability to learn the context and sustain motivation in the IPD. In particular, the weakness of the motivational driving force, limited by apparatus, seems to introduce unnecessary confusion about the animal’s learning capacity. Here, we show that mouse are able to evolve towards a high and stable cooperative behavior during the game while being self rewarded through a wireless intracranial electric stimulator, a much potent learning reinforcement method than the commonly used food paradigm. Our results verify the linear operator model of IPD which predicts a progressive increase in the cooperation rate of naïve animals under the condition that they update their choice according to their experience.
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