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Understanding The Impact of Partner Choice on Cooperation and Social Norms by means of Multi-agent Reinforcement Learning

by   Nicolas Anastassacos, et al.

The human ability to coordinate and cooperate has been vital to the development of societies for thousands of years. While it is not fully clear how this behavior arises, social norms are thought to be a key factor in this development. In contrast to laws set by authorities, norms tend to evolve in a bottom-up manner from interactions between members of a society. While much behavior can be explained through the use of social norms, it is difficult to measure the extent to which they shape society as well as how they are affected by other societal dynamics. In this paper, we discuss the design and evaluation of a reinforcement learning model for understanding how the opportunity to choose who you interact with in a society affects the overall societal outcome and the strength of social norms. We first study the emergence of norms and then the emergence of cooperation in presence of norms. In our model, agents interact with other agents in a society in the form of repeated matrix-games: coordination games and cooperation games. In particular, in our model, at each each stage, agents are either able to choose a partner to interact with or are forced to interact at random and learn using policy gradients.


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