Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



Reader 1

Nicholas Pippenger

Reader 2

Francis Su

Terms of Use & License Information

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Rights Information

© 2013 Michael Ernest


The Prisoner's Dilemma is a two player game where playing rationally leads to a suboptimal outcome for both players. The game is simple to analyze, but when it is played repeatedly, complex dynamics emerge. Recent research has shown the existence of extortionate strategies, which allow one player to win at least as much as the other. When one player plays such a strategy, the other must either decide to take a low payoff, or accede to the extortion, where they earn higher payoff, but their opponent receives a larger share. We investigate what happens when one player uses this strategy against an ``evolutionary'' player, who makes small changes to her strategy over time to increase her score, and show that there are cases where such a player will not evolve towards the optimal strategy of giving in to extortion.