Critical mass effect in evolutionary games triggered by zealots

Alessio Cardillo, Naoki Masuda*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Tiny perturbations may trigger large responses in systems near criticality, shifting them across equilibria. Committed minorities are suggested to be responsible for the emergence of collective behaviors in many physical, social, and biological systems. Using evolutionary game theory, we address the question whether a finite fraction of zealots can drive the system to large-scale coordination. We find that a tipping point exists in coordination games, whereas the same phenomenon depends on the selection pressure, update rule, and network structure in other types of games. Our study paves the way to understand social systems driven by the individuals' benefit in the presence of zealots, such as human vaccination behavior or cooperative transports in animal groups.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere023305
JournalPhysical Review Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jun
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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