The shift to a genetic basis of evolution in the 1960s, and away from group selection, created a problem in regard to the origin of cooperative behavior in human societies. The resolution essentially involves mutual recognition of individuals, thus permitting the phenomena of reputation, reciprocation, and retribution to arise, these being key to stable cooperative societies. The analysis presented, based on evolutionary game theory, serves to emphasize the crucial role of individual recognition by illustrating the consequences of assuming the opposite. It is shown that where tribal membership is apparent, but individuals are not recognizable, evolving mistrust leads to tribal extinction in an evolutionary game theory model. Moreover, a single tribe is also unstable to schism. Subsequently, the extinction of one schismatic group occurs. Failure to recognize individuals therefore facilitates a mechanism which leads to increasing conformity.
- iterated games; two-person gamesevolutionary game theorygroup extinctionschism