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Cognitive ability and strategic sophistication

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  • Carpenter, Jeffrey
  • Graham, Michael
  • Wolf, Jesse

Abstract

In three experiments we examine the extent to which strategic sophistication (i.e., inductive reasoning, iterative dominance and level-k thinking) is determined by broader cognitive skills. In the first experiment we replicate previous results showing strong associations between cognitive ability and sophistication in a game of iterative dominance and show that similar results arise in a game requiring induction. In the second two experiments we extend the literature in new directions. In Experiment 2 we modify the games to better capture participantsʼ ability to reason inductively and predict the sophistication of others and, again, find strong associations between cognitive ability, measured using a common IQ test, and sophistication. In Experiment 3 we examine more closely the causal nature of the relationship between cognitive ability and sophistication. We use a standard tool from cognitive psychology to randomly shock the cognitive ability of participants and show that this significantly affects game performance.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Games and Economic Behavior.

Volume (Year): 80 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 115-130

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Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:80:y:2013:i:c:p:115-130

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622836

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  1. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2010. "Are Risk Aversion and Impatience Related to Cognitive Ability?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 1238-60, June.
  2. Costa-Gomes, Miguel & Crawford, Vincent P. & Broseta, Bruno, 1998. "Cognition and Behavior in Normal-Form Games: An Experimental Study," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt1vn4h7x5, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  3. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List & Sally E. Sadoff, 2009. "Checkmate: Exploring Backward Induction Among Chess Players," NBER Working Papers 15610, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Burnham, Terence C. & Cesarini, David & Johannesson, Magnus & Lichtenstein, Paul & Wallace, Björn, 2009. "Higher cognitive ability is associated with lower entries in a p-beauty contest," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 171-175, October.
  5. Shane Frederick, 2005. "Cognitive Reflection and Decision Making," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 25-42, Fall.
  6. Gill, David & Prowse, Victoria, 2012. "Cognitive ability and learning to play equilibrium: A level-k analysis," MPRA Paper 38317, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 23 Apr 2012.
  7. Ondrej Rydval & Andreas Ortmann & Michal Ostatnicky, 2007. "Three Very Simple Games and What It Takes to Solve Them," Jena Economic Research Papers 2007-092, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  8. Gneezy, Uri & Rustichini, Aldo & Vostroknutov, Alexander, 2010. "Experience and insight in the Race game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 144-155, August.
  9. Dufwenberg, Martin & Sundaram, Ramya & Butler, David J., 2010. "Epiphany in the Game of 21," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 132-143, August.
  10. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-26, December.
  11. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Allred, Sarah & Duffy, Sean & Smith, John, 2013. "Cognitive Load and Strategic Sophistication," MPRA Paper 47997, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Chen, Chia-Ching & Chiu, I-Ming & Smith, John & Yamada, Tetsuji, 2012. "Too smart to be selfish? Measures of cognitive ability, social preferences, and consistency," MPRA Paper 41078, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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