In many social situations, individuals endeavor to find the single best possible partner, but are constrained to evaluate the candidates in sequence. Examples include the search for mates, economic partnerships, or any other long-term ties where the choice to interact involves two parties. Surprisingly, however, previous theoretical work on mutual choice problems focuses on finding equilibrium solutions, while ignoring the evolutionary dynamics of decisions. Empirically, this may be of high importance, as some equilibrium solutions can never be reached unless the population undergoes radical changes and a sufficient number of individuals change their decisions simultaneously. To address this question, we apply a mutual choice sequential search problem in an evolutionary game-theoretical model that allows one to find solutions that are favored by evolution. As an example, we study the influence of sequential search on the evolutionary dynamics of cooperation. For this, we focus on the classic snowdrift game and the prisoner's dilemma game.
mutual choice sequential search optional interactions partner choice evolutionary game theory evolution of cooperation