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Meaningful learning and transfer of learning in games played repeatedly without feedback

  • Rick, Scott
  • Weber, Roberto A.

Psychologists have long recognized two kinds of learning: one that is relatively shallow and domain-specific; and another that is deeper, producing generalizable insights that transfer across domains. The game theory literature has only recently considered this distinction, and the conditions that stimulate the latter kind of "meaningful" learning in games are still unclear. Three experiments demonstrate that one kind of meaningful learning -- acquisition of iterated dominance -- occurs in the absence of any feedback. We demonstrate that such feedback-free meaningful learning transfers to new strategically similar games, and that such transfer does not typically occur when initial games are played with feedback. The effects of withholding feedback are similar to, and substitutable with, those produced by requiring players to explain their behavior, a method commonly employed in psychology to increase deliberation. This similarity suggests that withholding feedback encourages deeper thinking about the game in a manner similar to such self-explanation.

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

Volume (Year): 68 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Pages: 716-730

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Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:68:y:2010:i:2:p:716-730
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622836

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