Spatial prisoner's dilemma optimally played in small-world networks

Naoki Masuda*, Kazuyuki Aihara

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Citations (Scopus)


Cooperation is commonly found in ecological and social systems even when it apparently seems that individuals can benefit from selfish behavior. We investigate how cooperation emerges with the spatial prisoner's dilemma played in a class of networks ranging from regular lattices to random networks. We find that, among these networks, small-world topology is the optimal structure when we take into account the speed at which cooperative behavior propagates. Our results may explain why the small-world properties are self-organized in real networks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-61
Number of pages7
JournalPhysics Letters, Section A: General, Atomic and Solid State Physics
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Jun 23
Externally publishedYes


  • Evolution of cooperation
  • Game theory
  • Small-world networks
  • Spatial prisoner's dilemma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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