We address the general question of the evolution of collective signaling at a high level of abstraction. We investigate the evolutionary dynamics of a population engaging in a signaling N-person game theoretic model. Parameter settings allow for loners and cheaters, and for costly or costless signals. We find a rich dynamics, showing how natural selection, operating on a population of individuals endowed with the simplest strategies, is able to evolve a costly signaling system that allows individuals to respond appropriately to different states of Nature. Signaling robustly promotes cooperative collective action, in particular when coordinated action is most needed and difficult to achieve. Two different signaling systems may emerge depending on Nature’s most prevalent states.
Recommended citation: Jorge M. Pacheco, Vítor V. Vasconcelos, and Francisco C. Santos. “Co-evolutionary dynamics of collective action with signaling for a quorum” PLoS computational biology (2015) 11 2 e1004101