Carter Butts, John Miller, David Rode

Paper #: 98-04-037

Communication plays a vital role in the organization and operation of biological, computational, economic, and social systems. Agents often base their behavior on the signals they receive from others and also recognize the importance of the signals they send. Here we develop a framework for analyzing the emergence of communication in an adaptive system. The framework enables the study of a system composed of agents who evolve the ability to strategically send and receive communication. While the modeling framework is quite general, we focus here on a specific application, namely the analysis of cooperation in a single-shot Prisoner's Dilemma. We find that, contrary to initial expectations, communication allows the emergence of cooperation in such a system. Moreover, we find a systematic relationship between the processing and language complexity inherent in the communication system and the observed behavior. The approach developed here should open up a variety of phenomena to the systematic exploration of endogenous communication.