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Who knows It is a game? On rule understanding, strategic awareness and cognitive ability

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  • Fehr, Dietmar
  • Huck, Steffen

Abstract

We introduce the notion of strategic awareness in experimental games which captures the idea that subjects realize they are playing a game and thus have to form beliefs about others' actions in order to play well. The concept differs from both, rule understanding and rationality. We then turn to experimental evidence from a beauty contest game where we elicit measures of cognitive ability and beliefs about others' cognitive ability. We show that the effect of cognitive ability is highly non-linear. Subjects' behavior below a certain threshold is indistinguishable from uniform random play and does not correlate with beliefs about others ability. In contrast, choices of subjects who exceed the threshold avoid dominated choices and react very sensitively to beliefs about others cognitive ability. -- In vielen Situationen spielt das Bewusstsein über strategische Komponenten eine wichtige Rolle. In diesem kurzen Artikel führen wir das Konzept von strategic awareness in Experimenten ein. Dieses neue Konzept beschreibt die Fähigkeit von Experimentteilnehmer, strategische Situationen zu erkennen und daher Erwartungen über das Verhalten von anderen zu bilden. Das Konzept unterscheidet sich sowohl von Rationalität als auch vom bloßen Verstehen von den Regeln eines Experiments. Wir demonstrieren das Konzept empirisch mit Hilfe von Daten eines Beauty Contest Games, in dem wir die kognitiven Fähigkeiten der Teilnehmer und ihre Einschätzungen über die kognitiven Fähigkeiten der anderen Teilnehmer erheben. Die Resultate zeigen, dass kognitive Fähigkeiten einen starken nichtlinearen Effekt auf die Entscheidungen in dem Beauty Contest Game haben. Das Verhalten von Experimentteilnehmer, die unter einer bestimmten Schwelle liegen, kann nicht von zufälligen Entscheidungen unterschieden werden und korreliert auch nicht mit deren Einschätzung über die kognitiven Fähigkeiten der anderen Teilnehmer. Im Gegensatz dazu vermeiden Teilnehmer, die über dieser Schwelle liegen, dominierte Entscheidungen und basieren ihre Entscheidungen auf ihrer Einschätzung über die kognitiven Fähigkeiten der anderen Teilnehmer.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change with number SP II 2013-306.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbeoc:spii2013306

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Keywords: strategic awareness; cognitive ability; beauty contest;

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