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Learning about learning in games through experimental control of strategic interdependence

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  • Shachat, Jason
  • Swarthout, J. Todd

Abstract

We report results from an experiment in which humans repeatedly play one of two games against a computer program that follows either a reinforcement or an experience weighted attraction learning algorithm. Our experiment shows these learning algorithms detect exploitable opportunities more sensitively than humans. Also, learning algorithms respond to detected payoff-increasing opportunities systematically; however, the responses are too weak to improve the algorithms' payoffs. Human play against various decision maker types does not vary significantly. These factors lead to a strong linear relationship between the humans' and algorithms' action choice proportions that is suggestive of the algorithms' best response correspondences.

Suggested Citation

  • Shachat, Jason & Swarthout, J. Todd, 2012. "Learning about learning in games through experimental control of strategic interdependence," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 383-402.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:36:y:2012:i:3:p:383-402
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jedc.2011.09.007
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Duersch & Albert Kolb & Joerg Oechssler & Burkhard Schipper, 2005. "Rage Against the Machines: How Subjects Learn to Play Against Computers," Game Theory and Information 0510012, EconWPA.
    2. Duffy, Sean & Naddeo, JJ & Owens, David & Smith, John, 2016. "Cognitive load and mixed strategies: On brains and minimax," MPRA Paper 71878, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Burkhard C. Schipper & Jorg Oechssler & Albert Kolb, 2005. "Rage Against the Machines: How Subjects Learn to Play Against Computers," Working Papers 516, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
    4. Jason Shachat & J. Todd Swarthout & Lijia Wei, 2011. "Man versus Nash An experiment on the self-enforcing nature of mixed strategy equilibrium," Working Papers 1101, Xiamen Unversity, The Wang Yanan Institute for Studies in Economics, Finance and Economics Experimental Laboratory, revised 21 Feb 2011.
    5. Spiliopoulos, Leonidas, 2008. "Humans versus computer algorithms in repeated mixed strategy games," MPRA Paper 6672, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Peter Duersch & Albert Kolb & Jörg Oechssler & Burkhard Schipper, 2010. "Rage against the machines: how subjects play against learning algorithms," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 43(3), pages 407-430, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Learning; Repeated games; Experiments; Simulation;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access

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