About this Research Topic
Compared to other predators, we are neither stronger nor faster. In spite of that, we have steadily climbed the animal hierarchy ever since the genus homo has first emerged some two million years ago. In this time, we have managed to spread across the whole planet that is now firmly in our dominion. We were able to achieve this due to our unparalleled other-regarding abilities and large-scale cooperation.
Indeed, extensive cooperation among unrelated individuals is almost unique to humans. We are champions of sacrificing personal benefits for the common good, and working together to achieve what we are unable to achieve alone. But our journey has been a difficult one. We are torn between Darwinian tendencies that dictate maximization of personal welfare and utility on the one hand, and our prosocial drive and desire to do what is best for our society on the other.
Understanding and explaining cooperation has been declared one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century, and recent years have shown that physics, and in particular methods of statistical physics and network science, can contribute relevantly to finding a solution. This Research Topic is dedicated to further advancing the fruitful synergies between physics and cooperation. We welcome original research, short reviews, as well as visionary outlooks and challenge articles that build bridges between the two fields.
Keywords: social dilemma, public goods, evolutionary games, pattern formation, phase transition
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