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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Carpenter, Jeffrey & Graham, Michael & Wolf, Jesse, 2013. "Cognitive ability and strategic sophistication," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 115-130.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:80:y:2013:i:c:p:115-130
    DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2013.02.012
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    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
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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