Evolutionary games on structured populations have been studied extensively in recent years. In reality, social interactions take place in different domains, which naturally requires a multiplex description. The impact of the multiplex nature of human interactions on the evolution of cooperation has recently attracted a lot of attention, however, the fundamental mechanisms at play are still not well understood. Here, we show that the interplay between the structural organization of the multiplex and the assumptions about the dynamical coupling between the layers leads to very different outcomes. We show that the organization of the multiplex can enable mutual spatial selection, which refers to the formation of overlapping clusters of cooperators in different layers that can survive in social dilemmas. Furthermore, heterogeneity and degree correlations lead to topological enslavement, which means that the hubs dominate the game dynamics inducing payoff irrelevance. Our findings reveal the fundamental mechanisms at play and provide a new perspective for understanding the evolution of cooperation on realistic structured populations.
Evolutionary games on scale-free multiplex networks