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Explain the concept of evolutionary stable strategies.

Evolutionary stable strategies are strategies that, once adopted by a population, cannot be invaded by any alternative strategy.

In evolutionary game theory, a strategy is considered evolutionarily stable if it is resistant to invasion by any mutant strategy. This means that if a population is using a particular strategy, and a mutant strategy arises that is slightly different, the mutant strategy will not be able to invade and take over the population.

To determine whether a strategy is evolutionarily stable, we can use the concept of a fitness payoff matrix. This matrix shows the payoff for each strategy when played against itself and against other strategies in the population. If a strategy has a higher payoff than any other strategy in the population, it is considered a dominant strategy.

However, a dominant strategy is not necessarily evolutionarily stable. A strategy is only evolutionarily stable if it is not possible for any mutant strategy to invade and take over the population. This can be determined by calculating the average fitness of the population before and after the introduction of the mutant strategy. If the average fitness of the population decreases after the introduction of the mutant strategy, the original strategy is evolutionarily stable.

Evolutionary stable strategies are important in understanding the evolution of behaviour in animals and humans. They can also be applied to economics, politics, and other fields where strategic decision-making is important.

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