Math in the Middle Institute Partnership


Date of this Version



In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Arts in Teaching with a Specialization in the Teaching of Middle Level Mathematics in the Department of Mathematics. Jim Lewis, Advisor July 2008


What is game theory and how does it apply to Evolutionary Biology? Game theory was originally developed to help portray how individuals interact with each other and it was mainly used in the economics and political science fields. This area of mathematical study came about after World War II and was developed by John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that George Price and John Maynard Smith began to apply game theory to evolution in trying to predict the behavior of animals in a species. There are two main evolutionary trends we will study using game theory: 1) what happens to a species when some animals display aggressive behavior, but back down instead of fighting, and 2) how can animals cooperate together to live in harmony while still able to attain their own personal goals.