IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Cognition and Behavior in Normal-Form Games: An Experimental Study

  • Broseta, Bruno
  • Costa-Gomes, Miguel
  • Crawford, Vincent P.

This paper reports experiments designed to study strategic sophistication, the extent to which behavior in games reflects attempts to predict others' decisions, taking their incentives into account. We studied subjects' initial responses to normal-form games with various patterns of iterated dominance and unique pure-strategy equilibria without dominance, using a computer interface that allowed them to search for hidden payoff information, while recording their searches. Monitoring subjects' information searches along with their decisions allows us to better understand how their decisions are determined, and subjects' deviations from the search patterns suggested by equilibrium analysis help to predict their deviations from equilibrium decisions.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:;origin=repeccitec
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC San Diego in its series University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series with number qt0fp8278k.

in new window

Date of creation: 20 Jul 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsdec:qt0fp8278k
Contact details of provider: Postal:
9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0508

Phone: (858) 534-3383
Fax: (858) 534-7040
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. J. B. Van Huyck & R. C. Battalio & R. O. Beil, 2010. "Tacit coordination games, strategic uncertainty, and coordination failure," Levine's Working Paper Archive 661465000000000393, David K. Levine.
  2. Fudenberg, D. & Kreps, D.M., 1992. "Learning Mixed Equilibria," Working papers 92-13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Ehud Kalai & Ehud Lehrer, 1990. "Rational Learning Leads to Nash Equilibrium," Discussion Papers 895, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  4. Cooper, Russell, et al, 1990. "Selection Criteria in Coordination Games: Some Experimental Results," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 218-33, March.
  5. T. Randolph Beard & Richard O. Beil, 1994. "Do People Rely on the Self-Interested Maximization of Others? An Experimental Test," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 40(2), pages 252-262, February.
  6. Stahl, Dale O., 1996. "Boundedly Rational Rule Learning in a Guessing Game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 303-330, October.
  7. Haruvy, Ernan & Stahl, Dale O. & Wilson, Paul W., 1999. "Evidence for optimistic and pessimistic behavior in normal-form games," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 255-259, June.
  8. Straub, Paul G., 1995. "Risk dominance and coordination failures in static games," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 339-363.
  9. Costa-Gomes, Miguel & Crawford, Vincent P. & Broseta, Bruno, 1998. "Cognition and Behavior in Normal-Form Games: An Experimental Study," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt1vn4h7x5, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  10. Alvin E Roth & J K Murnighan, 1997. "The rule of information in bargaining: an experimental study," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1631, David K. Levine.
  11. Selten, Reinhard, 1998. "Features of experimentally observed bounded rationality," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 413-436, May.
  12. Robert Aumann & Adam Brandenburger, 2014. "Epistemic Conditions for Nash Equilibrium," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: The Language of Game Theory Putting Epistemics into the Mathematics of Games, chapter 5, pages 113-136 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
  13. Harless, David W & Camerer, Colin F, 1994. "The Predictive Utility of Generalized Expected Utility Theories," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1251-89, November.
  14. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-26, December.
  15. GĂ©rard P. Cachon & Colin F. Camerer, 1996. "Loss-Avoidance and Forward Induction in Experimental Coordination Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(1), pages 165-194.
  16. Ho, Teck-Hua & Camerer, Colin & Weigelt, Keith, 1998. "Iterated Dominance and Iterated Best Response in Experimental "p-Beauty Contests."," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 947-69, September.
  17. Stahl, Dale II & Wilson, Paul W., 1994. "Experimental evidence on players' models of other players," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 309-327, December.
  18. Teck-Hua Ho & Keith Weigelt, 1996. "Task Complexity, Equilibrium Selection, and Learning: An Experimental Study," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 42(5), pages 659-679, May.
  19. Friedman, Daniel, 1996. "Equilibrium in Evolutionary Games: Some Experimental Results," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(434), pages 1-25, January.
  20. Dale O. Stahl, 1999. "Evidence based rules and learning in symmetric normal-form games," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 28(1), pages 111-130.
  21. Stahl Dale O. & Wilson Paul W., 1995. "On Players' Models of Other Players: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 218-254, July.
  22. Itzhak Gilboa & Ehud Kalai & Eitan Zemel, 1989. "The Complexity of Eliminating Dominated Strategies," Discussion Papers 853, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  23. Thomas R. Palfrey & Howard Rosenthal, 1994. "Repeated Play, Cooperation and Coordination: An Experimental Study," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(3), pages 545-565.
  24. Alvin E. Roth & V. Prasnikar & M. Okuno-Fujiwara & S. Zamir, 1998. "Bargaining and market behavior in Jerusalem, Liubljana, Pittsburgh and Tokyo: an experimental study," Levine's Working Paper Archive 344, David K. Levine.
  25. El-Gamal, Mahmoud A. & Grether, David M., 1995. "Are People Bayesian? Uncovering Behavioral Strategies," Working Papers 919, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  26. Colin Camerer & Teck-Hua Ho, 1999. "Experience-weighted Attraction Learning in Normal Form Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 827-874, July.
  27. V. Crawford, 2010. "Adaptive Dynamics in Coordination Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 404, David K. Levine.
  28. McKelvey, Richard D & Palfrey, Thomas R, 1992. "An Experimental Study of the Centipede Game," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(4), pages 803-36, July.
  29. Richard McKelvey & Thomas Palfrey, 1999. "An experimental study of the centipede game," Levine's Working Paper Archive 521, David K. Levine.
  30. Holt, Debra J., 1999. "An Empirical Model of Strategic Choice with an Application to Coordination Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 86-105, April.
  31. Roth, Alvin E. & Erev, Ido, 1995. "Learning in extensive-form games: Experimental data and simple dynamic models in the intermediate term," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 164-212.
  32. Adam Brandenburger, 1992. "Knowledge and Equilibrium in Games," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 83-101, Fall.
  33. Schotter, Andrew & Weigelt, Keith & Wilson, Charles, 1990. "A Laboratory Investigation Of Multi-Person Rationality And Presentation Effects," Working Papers 90-24, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  34. John C. Harsanyi & Reinhard Selten, 1988. "A General Theory of Equilibrium Selection in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582384, December.
  35. Van Huyck John B. & Battalio Raymond C. & Beil Richard O., 1993. "Asset Markets as an Equilibrium Selection Mechanism: Coordination Failure, Game Form Auctions, and Tacit Communication," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 485-504, July.
  36. Shachat, Jason & Walker, Mark, 2004. "Unobserved heterogeneity and equilibrium: an experimental study of Bayesian and adaptive learning in normal form games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 114(2), pages 280-309, February.
  37. John B. Van Huyck & Raymond C. Battalio & Richard O. Beil, 1991. "Strategic Uncertainty, Equilibrium Selection, and Coordination Failure in Average Opinion Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(3), pages 885-910.
  38. Harless, David W. & Camerer, Colin F., 1995. "An error rate analysis of experimental data testing Nash refinements," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 649-660, April.
  39. Tom Ross & Russell Cooper & Douglas V. DeJong & Robert Forsythe, 1987. "Selection Criteria in Coordination Games: Some Experimental Results," Carleton Industrial Organization Research Unit (CIORU) 87-04, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsdec:qt0fp8278k. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lisa Schiff)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.