IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/trt/rockwp/018.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Games and Phone Numbers: Do Short Term Memory Bounds Affect Strategy Behavior?

Author

Listed:
  • Giovanna Devetag
  • Massimo Warglien

Abstract

Research in experimental and behavioral game theory has revealed a substantial and persistent degree of heterogeneity in the strategic behavior of real individuals. While the prevailing theoretical explanations of the observed heterogeneity typically invoke underlying differences in beliefs among the population of players, we argue that a further source of heterogeneity may consist in the individuals' different ability to process information, of which short term memory capacity provides a measurable proxy. Research in cognitive psychology has shown that individuals typically differ in their short term memory capacity; furthermore, short term memory capacity provides a fundamental cognitive bottleneck to our ability to process information efficiently and hence seems correlated with performance in a variety of problem solving and reasoning tasks. In this paper we conduct experiments on a set of well-known games whose solution concepts require the application of some paradigmatic forms of strategic reasoning, such as iterated dominance, reasoning about common knowledge and backward induction. We separately conduct standard short term memory tests on our subjects to detect the presence of a correlation between individuals' behavior in the games - here defined in terms of degrees of conformity to the standard game-theoretic prescriptions - and their short term memory score. Our results show the presence of a significant and positive correlation between subjects' short term memory score and conformity to standard game-theoretic prescriptions in the games, thus confirming our hypothesis. While the robustness of our conjecture awaits to be confirmed by further data gathering in more interactive experimental settings, our preliminary results suggest a promising line of inquiry on the interconnections between information processing capacity and strategic behavior

Suggested Citation

  • Giovanna Devetag & Massimo Warglien, 2002. "Games and Phone Numbers: Do Short Term Memory Bounds Affect Strategy Behavior?," ROCK Working Papers 018, Department of Computer and Management Sciences, University of Trento, Italy, revised 13 Jun 2008.
  • Handle: RePEc:trt:rockwp:018
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.unitn.it/files/download/19388/rock018.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Camerer, Colin, 1995. "Rules for Experimenting in Psychology and Economics, and Why They Differ," Working Papers 946, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
    2. Simon, Herbert A, 1978. "Rationality as Process and as Product of Thought," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 1-16, May.
    3. Schotter Andrew & Weigelt Keith & Wilson Charles, 1994. "A Laboratory Investigation of Multiperson Rationality and Presentation Effects," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 445-468, May.
    4. Roberto Weber, 2001. "Behavior and Learning in the “Dirty Faces” Game," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 4(3), pages 229-242, December.
    5. Ronald Fagin & Joseph Y. Halpern & Yoram Moses & Moshe Y. Vardi, 2003. "Reasoning About Knowledge," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262562006, December.
    6. Costa-Gomes, Miguel & Crawford, Vincent P & Broseta, Bruno, 2001. "Cognition and Behavior in Normal-Form Games: An Experimental Study," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1193-1235, September.
    7. Abreu, Dilip & Rubinstein, Ariel, 1988. "The Structure of Nash Equilibrium in Repeated Games with Finite Automata," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(6), pages 1259-1281, November.
    8. 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 947-969, September.
    9. Herbert A. Simon, 1996. "The Sciences of the Artificial, 3rd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262691914, December.
    10. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-1326, December.
    11. 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.
    12. Geanakoplos, John, 1994. "Common knowledge," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, in: R.J. Aumann & S. Hart (ed.), Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 40, pages 1437-1496, Elsevier.
    13. Maria Giovanna Devetag & Massimo Warglien, 2002. "Representing others' preferences in mixed motive games: was Schelling right," CEEL Working Papers 0208, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
    14. 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.
    15. Ariel Rubinstein, 1997. "Modeling Bounded Rationality," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262681005, December.
    16. Darryl Seale & Amnon Rapoport, 2000. "Elicitation of Strategy Profiles in Large Group Coordination Games," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 3(2), pages 153-179, October.
    17. Eyal Winter & Amnon Rapoport & Darryl A. Seale, 2000. "An experimental study of coordination and learning in iterated two-market entry games," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 16(3), pages 661-687.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Bayer, Ralph C. & Renou, Ludovic, 2016. "Logical omniscience at the laboratory," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 41-49.
    2. Pedro Rey Biel, 2005. "Equilibrium PLay and Best Response to (Stated) Beliefs in Constant Sum Games," Experimental 0506003, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Pedro Rey-Biel, 2005. "Equilibrium Play and Best Reply to (Stated) Beliefs in Constant Sum Games," Experimental 0512003, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Nagel, Rosemarie & Bühren, Christoph & Frank, Björn, 2017. "Inspired and inspiring: Hervé Moulin and the discovery of the beauty contest game," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 191-207.
    5. Vincent P. Crawford, 2006. "Look-ups as the Windows of the Strategic Soul: Studying Cognition via Information Search in Game Experiments," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000462, UCLA Department of Economics.
    6. Vincent P. Crawford & Miguel A. Costa-Gomes, 2006. "Cognition and Behavior in Two-Person Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1737-1768, December.
    7. Bayer, R.-C. & Renou, Ludovic, 2016. "Logical abilities and behavior in strategic-form games," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 39-59.
    8. Breitmoser, Yves & Tan, Jonathan H.W. & Zizzo, Daniel John, 2014. "On the beliefs off the path: Equilibrium refinement due to quantal response and level-k," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 102-125.
    9. Gerber, Anke & Wichardt, Philipp C., 2010. "Iterated reasoning and welfare-enhancing instruments in the centipede game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 74(1-2), pages 123-136, May.
    10. 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.
    11. Costa-Gomes, Miguel & Crawford, Vincent P & Broseta, Bruno, 2001. "Cognition and Behavior in Normal-Form Games: An Experimental Study," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1193-1235, September.
    12. Dufwenberg, Martin & Sundaram, Ramya & Butler, David J., 2010. "Epiphany in the Game of 21," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 132-143, August.
    13. Polonio, Luca & Di Guida, Sibilla & Coricelli, Giorgio, 2015. "Strategic sophistication and attention in games: An eye-tracking study," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 80-96.
    14. Pedro Rey Biel, 2005. "Equilibrium Play and Best Response in Sequential Constant Sum Games," Experimental 0506004, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Vincent P. Crawford & Nagore Iriberri, 2004. "Fatal Attraction: Focality, Naivete, and Sophistication in Experimental Hide-and-Seek Games," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000316, UCLA Department of Economics.
    16. Strzalecki, Tomasz, 2014. "Depth of reasoning and higher order beliefs," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 108-122.
    17. Volker Benndorf & Dorothea Kübler & Hans-Theo Normann, 2017. "Depth of Reasoning and Information Revelation: An Experiment on the Distribution of k-Levels," International Game Theory Review (IGTR), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 19(04), pages 1-18, December.
    18. Binswanger, Johannes & Prüfer, Jens, 2012. "Democracy, populism, and (un)bounded rationality," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 358-372.
    19. Florian Gauer & Christoph Kuzmics, 2020. "Cognitive Empathy In Conflict Situations," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 61(4), pages 1659-1678, November.
    20. Dorothea Kübler & Georg Weizsäcker, 2004. "Limited Depth of Reasoning and Failure of Cascade Formation in the Laboratory," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 425-441.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:trt:rockwp:018. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/ditreit.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Loris Gaio (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/ditreit.html .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.