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Three Very Simple Games and What It Takes to Solve Them

Author

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  • Ondrej Rydval

    (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena, Germany, and CERGE-EI)

  • Andreas Ortmann

    () (CERGE-EI, Charles University Prague and Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic)

  • Michal Ostatnicky

    (CERGE-EI, Charles University Prague and Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic)

Abstract

We study the nature of dominance violations in three minimalist dominance-solvable guessing games, featuring two or three players choosing among two or three strategies. We examine how subjects' reported reasoning translates into their choices and beliefs about others' choices, and how reasoning and choices relate to their measured cognitive and personality characteristics. Only about a third of our subjects reason in accord with dominance; they always make dominant choices and almost always expect others to do so. By contrast, around 60% of subjects describe reasoning processes inconsistent with dominance, yet a quarter of them actually make dominant choices and a fifth of them expect others to do so. Dominance violations seem to arise mainly due to subjects misrepresenting the strategic nature of the guessing games. Reasoning errors are more likely for subjects with lower ability to maintain and allocate attention, as measured by working memory, and for subjects with weaker intrinsic motivation and premeditation attitudes.

Suggested Citation

  • Ondrej Rydval & Andreas Ortmann & Michal Ostatnicky, 2007. "Three Very Simple Games and What It Takes to Solve Them," Jena Economic Research Papers 2007-092, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2007-092
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    Cited by:

    1. Sérgio Almeida De Sousa & Marcos De Almeida Rangel, 2014. "Do As I Do, Not As I Say: Incentivization And The Relationship Between Cognitive Ability And Riskaversion," Anais do XL Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 40th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 126, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    2. Giovanna Devetag & Sibilla Guida & Luca Polonio, 2016. "An eye-tracking study of feature-based choice in one-shot games," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(1), pages 177-201, March.
    3. Rydval, Ondrej & Ortmann, Andreas & Ostatnicky, Michal, 2009. "Three very simple games and what it takes to solve them," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 589-601, October.
    4. Lohse, Johannes, 2016. "Smart or selfish – When smart guys finish nice," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 28-40.
    5. Burchardi, Konrad B. & Penczynski, Stefan P., 2014. "Out of your mind: Eliciting individual reasoning in one shot games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 39-57.
    6. Burnham, Terence C. & Cesarini, David & Johannesson, Magnus & Lichtenstein, Paul & Wallace, Björn, 2009. "Higher cognitive ability is associated with lower entries in a p-beauty contest," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 171-175, October.
    7. Johannes Leder & Leonhard Schilbach & Andreas Mojzisch, 2016. "Strategic Decision-Making and Social Skills: Integrating Behavioral Economics and Social Cognition Research," International Journal of Financial Studies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(4), pages 1-14, November.
    8. Giovanna Devetag & Sibilla Di Guida, 2010. "Feature-based Choice and Similarity in Normal-form Games: An Experimental Study," DISA Working Papers 1007, Department of Computer and Management Sciences, University of Trento, Italy, revised 03 Nov 2010.
    9. Kiss, H.J. & Rodriguez-Lara, I. & Rosa-García, A., 2016. "Think twice before running! Bank runs and cognitive abilities," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 12-19.
    10. Baghestanian, Sascha & Frey, Seth, 2016. "GO figure: Analytic and strategic skills are separable," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 71-80.
    11. Sibilla Di Guida & Giovanna Devetag, 2013. "Feature-Based Choice and Similarity Perception in Normal-Form Games: An Experimental Study," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(4), pages 1-19, December.
    12. Gill, David & Prowse, Victoria, 2012. "Cognitive ability and learning to play equilibrium: A level-k analysis," MPRA Paper 38317, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 23 Apr 2012.
    13. Ondrej Rydval, 2011. "The Causal Effect of Cognitive Abilities on Economic Behavior: Evidence from a Forecasting Task with Varying Cognitive Load," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-064, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    14. Carpenter, Jeffrey & Graham, Michael & Wolf, Jesse, 2013. "Cognitive ability and strategic sophistication," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 115-130.
    15. Kiss, Hubert János & Rodriguez-Lara, Ismael & Rosa-García, Alfonso, 2015. "Kognitív képességek és stratégiai bizonytalanság egy bankrohamkísérletben
      [Cognitive abilities and strategic uncertainty in a bank-run experiment]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(10), pages 1030-1047.
    16. Shu-Heng Chen & Ye-Rong Du & Lee-Xieng Yang, 2014. "Cognitive capacity and cognitive hierarchy: a study based on beauty contest experiments," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer;Society for Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents, vol. 9(1), pages 69-105, April.
    17. Timothy N. Cason & Charles R. Plott, 2014. "Misconceptions and Game Form Recognition: Challenges to Theories of Revealed Preference and Framing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(6), pages 1235-1270.
    18. Burnham, Terence C. & Cesarini, David & Wallace, Björn & Johannesson, Magnus & Lichtenstein, Paul, 2007. "Billiards and Brains: Cognitive Ability and Behavior in a p-Beauty Contest," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 684, Stockholm School of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    cognition; bounded rationality; beliefs; guessing games; experiment;

    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
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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