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Context effects in games: Local versus global sequential effects on choice in the prisoner's dilemma game

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  • Ivo Vlaev
  • Nick Chater
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    Abstract

    We report an experiment exploring sequential context effects on strategy choices in one-shot Prisoner's Dilemma (PD) game. Rapoport and Chammah (1965) have shown that some PDs are cooperative and lead to high cooperation rate, whereas others are uncooperative. Participants played very cooperative and very uncooperative games, against anonymous partners. The order in which these games were played affected their cooperation rate by producing perceptual contrast, which appeared only between the trials, but not between two separate sequences of games. These findings suggest that people may not have stable perceptions of absolute cooperativeness. Instead, they judge the cooperativeness of each fresh game only in relation to the previous game. The observed effects suggest that the principles underlying judgments about highly abstract magnitudes such as cooperativeness may be similar to principles governing the perception of sensory magnitudes.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Society for Judgment and Decision Making in its journal Judgment and Decision Making.

    Volume (Year): 2 (2007)
    Issue (Month): (December)
    Pages: 380-389

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    Handle: RePEc:jdm:journl:v:2:y:2007:i::p:380-389

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    Related research

    Keywords: decision making; cooperation; prisoner's dilemma; context effects.;

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    1. Rapoport, Amnon & Stein, William E. & Parco, James E. & Nicholas, Thomas E., 2003. "Equilibrium play and adaptive learning in a three-person centipede game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 239-265, May.
    2. Loewenstein, George & Thaler, Richard H, 1989. "Intertemporal Choice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 181-93, Fall.
    3. Loomes, Graham & Sugden, Robert, 1982. "Regret Theory: An Alternative Theory of Rational Choice under Uncertainty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(368), pages 805-24, December.
    4. Loewenstein, George & Prelec, Drazen, 1992. "Anomalies in Intertemporal Choice: Evidence and an Interpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 573-97, May.
    5. Colin Camerer & Teck-Hua Ho, 1999. "Experience-weighted Attraction Learning in Normal Form Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 827-874, July.
    6. Erev, Ido & Roth, Alvin E, 1998. "Predicting How People Play Games: Reinforcement Learning in Experimental Games with Unique, Mixed Strategy Equilibria," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 848-81, September.
    7. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
    8. Thaler, Richard H, et al, 1997. "The Effect of Myopia and Loss Aversion on Risk Taking: An Experimental Test," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 647-61, May.
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    Cited by:
    1. Astrid Matthey & Tobias Regner, 2013. "On the independence of history: experience spill-overs between experiments," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 75(3), pages 403-419, September.

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