Playing with Friends

Daniel J. Hruschka

in Friendship

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780520265462
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520947887 | DOI:
Playing with Friends

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This chapter first outlines the basic elements of game theory, a body of analytical techniques used to make predictions about behaviors in strategic situations. Then, it describes a particular game (the prisoner's dilemma) and strategy (tit-for-tat) often used to understand the evolutionary stability of cooperation in a game theoretic framework. Then it outlines how a simple friend-like strategy can permit the cultivation and long-term maintenance of a mutually beneficial relationship at high levels of support. The strategy involves three stages. The chapter concludes by discussing how the gradual cultivation of a relationship and the subsequent shift in thinking is a special case of a more general process—niche construction—by which people change their environment in ways that benefit them in the future.

Keywords: game theory; behaviors; dilemma; strategy; cooperation; relationship; cultivation; niche construction; environment

Chapter.  7692 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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