IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Cognitive load in the multi-player prisoner's dilemma game: Are there brains in games?

  • Duffy, Sean
  • Smith, John

We find that differences in the ability to devote cognitive resources to a strategic interaction imply differences in strategic behavior. In our experiment, we manipulate the availability of cognitive resources by applying a differential cognitive load. In cognitive load experiments, subjects are directed to perform a task which occupies cognitive resources, in addition to making a choice in another domain. The greater the cognitive resources required for the task implies that fewer such resources will be available for deliberation on the choice. Although much is known about how subjects make decisions under a cognitive load, little is known about how this affects behavior in strategic games. We run an experiment in which subjects play a repeated multi-player prisoner's dilemma game under two cognitive load treatments. In one treatment, subjects are placed under a high cognitive load (given a 7 digit number to recall) and subjects in the other are placed under a low cognitive load (given a 2 digit number). According to two different measures, we find evidence that the low load subjects behave more strategically. First, the behavior of the low load subjects converged to the Subgame Perfect Nash Equilibrium prediction at a faster rate than the high load subjects. Second, we find evidence that low load subjects were better able to condition their behavior on the outcomes of previous periods.

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: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/38825/1/MPRA_paper_38825.pdf
File Function: original version
Download Restriction: no

File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/53123/8/MPRA_paper_53123.pdf
File Function: revised version
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 38825.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 15 May 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:38825
Contact details of provider: Postal: Schackstr. 4, D-80539 Munich, Germany
Phone: +49-(0)89-2180-2219
Fax: +49-(0)89-2180-3900
Web page: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de

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. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2009. "Are Risk Aversion and Impatience Related to Cognitive Ability?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2620, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Colin F. Camerer & Teck-Hua Ho & Juin-Kuan Chong, 2004. "A Cognitive Hierarchy Model of Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(3), pages 861-898, August.
  3. Oechssler, Jörg & Roider, Andreas & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2008. "Cognitive Abilities and Behavioral Biases," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 08-05, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  4. Ondrej Rydval & Andreas Ortmann, 2004. "How financial incentives and cognitive abilities affect task performance in laboratory settings: An illustration," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp221, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague.
  5. David Gill & Victoria Prowse, 2013. "Cognitive ability and learning to play equilibrium: A level-k analysis," Economics Series Working Papers 641, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. Miguel A. Costa-Gomes & Vincent P. Crawford, 2004. "Cognition and Behavior in Two-Person Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," ISER Discussion Paper 0613, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  7. Mirko Wiederholt & Bartosz Mackowiak, 2005. "Optimal Sticky Prices under Rational Inattention," 2005 Meeting Papers 369, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Brañas-Garza, Pablo & Espinosa, María Paz & Rey-Biel, Pedro, 2011. "Travelers’ types," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 25-36.
  9. 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.
  10. Ben-Ner, Avner & Kong, Fanmin & Putterman, Louis, 2004. "Share and share alike? Gender-pairing, personality, and cognitive ability as determinants of giving," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 581-589, October.
  11. Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, 2003. "Learning to Open Monty Hall's Doors," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 235-251, November.
  12. Devetag, Giovanna & Warglien, Massimo, 2003. "Games and phone numbers: Do short-term memory bounds affect strategic behavior?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 189-202, April.
  13. 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.
  14. Putterman, Louis & Tyran, Jean-Robert & Kamei, Kenju, 2011. "Public goods and voting on formal sanction schemes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9), pages 1213-1222.
  15. Roch, Sylvia G. & Lane, John A. S. & Samuelson, Charles D. & Allison, Scott T. & Dent, Jennifer L., 2000. "Cognitive Load and the Equality Heuristic: A Two-Stage Model of Resource Overconsumption in Small Groups," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 185-212, November.
  16. Neyman, Abraham, 1985. "Bounded complexity justifies cooperation in the finitely repeated prisoners' dilemma," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 227-229.
  17. Joseph Tao-yi Wang & Michael Spezio & Colin F. Camerer, 2010. "Pinocchio's Pupil: Using Eyetracking and Pupil Dilation to Understand Truth Telling and Deception in Sender-Receiver Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 984-1007, June.
  18. Brañas-Garza, Pablo & García-Muñoz, Teresa & González, Roberto Hernán, 2012. "Cognitive effort in the Beauty Contest Game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 254-260.
  19. 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.
  20. Savikhin, Anya & Sheremeta, Roman, 2012. "Simultaneous Decision-Making in Competitive and Cooperative Environments," MPRA Paper 46809, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  21. Mirko Wiederholt, 2010. "rational inattention," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, Palgrave Macmillan.
  22. Cappelletti, Dominique & Güth, Werner & Ploner, Matteo, 2011. "Being of two minds: Ultimatum offers under cognitive constraints," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 940-950.
  23. 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, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  24. Shane Frederick, 2005. "Cognitive Reflection and Decision Making," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 25-42, Fall.
  25. T. Ballinger & Eric Hudson & Leonie Karkoviata & Nathaniel Wilcox, 2011. "Saving behavior and cognitive abilities," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 349-374, September.
  26. Ricardo Reis, 2004. "Inattentive Consumers," NBER Working Papers 10883, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Sylvain Béal, 2010. "Perceptron versus automaton in the finitely repeated prisoner’s dilemma," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 69(2), pages 183-204, August.
  28. Espinosa Alejos, María Paz & Brañas Garza, Pablo & Rey Biel, Pedro, 2010. "Travellers’ Types," DFAEII Working Papers 2010-03, University of the Basque Country - Department of Foundations of Economic Analysis II.
  29. Camerer, Colin F. & Hogarth, Robin M., 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Working Papers 1059, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  30. Johnson, Eric J. & Camerer, Colin & Sen, Sankar & Rymon, Talia, 2002. "Detecting Failures of Backward Induction: Monitoring Information Search in Sequential Bargaining," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 16-47, May.
  31. Chen, Chia-Ching & Chiu, I-Ming & Smith, John & Yamada, Tetsuji, 2011. "Too smart to be selfish? Measures of intelligence, social preferences, and consistency," MPRA Paper 34438, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  32. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-26, December.
  33. Ralph-C. Bayer & Ludovic Renou, 2011. "Cognitive abilities and behavior in strategic-form games.," Discussion Papers in Economics 11/16, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
  34. Sims, Christopher A., 2003. "Implications of rational inattention," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 665-690, April.
  35. Hauge, Karen Evelyn & Brekke, Kjell Arne & Johansson, Lars-Olof & Johansson-Stenman, Olof & Svedsäter, Henrik, 2009. "Are Social Preferences Skin Deep? Dictators under Cognitive Load," Working Papers in Economics 371, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  36. 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.
  37. Bednar, Jenna & Chen, Yan & Liu, Tracy Xiao & Page, Scott, 2012. "Behavioral spillovers and cognitive load in multiple games: An experimental study," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 12-31.
  38. Vincent P. Crawford & Miguel A. Costa-Gomes & Nagore Iriberri, 2010. "Strategic Thinking," Levine's Working Paper Archive 661465000000001148, David K. Levine.
  39. Burks, Stephen V. & Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Götte, Lorenz & Rustichini, Aldo, 2008. "Cognitive Skills Explain Economic Preferences, Strategic Behavior, and Job Attachment," IZA Discussion Papers 3609, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  40. Shiv, Baba & Fedorikhin, Alexander, 1999. " Heart and Mind in Conflict: The Interplay of Affect and Cognition in Consumer Decision Making," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(3), pages 278-92, December.
  41. Brañas-Garza, Pablo & Guillen, Pablo & del Paso, Rafael López, 2008. "Math skills and risk attitudes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 332-336, May.
  42. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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:pra:mprapa:38825. 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: (Ekkehart Schlicht)

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.