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Rage Against the Machines - How Subjects Learn to Play Against Computers

  • Dürsch, Peter

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Heidelberg)

  • Kolb, Albert

    (Department of Economics, University of Bonn)

  • Oechssler, Jörg

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Heidelberg)

  • Schipper, Burkhard

    ()

    (University of California, Davis Department of Economics)

We use an experiment to explore how subjects learn to play against computers which are programmed to follow one of a number of standard learning algorithms. The learning theories are (unbeknown to subjects) a best response process, fictitious play, imitation, reinforcement learning, and a trial & error process. We test whether subjects try to influence those algorithms to their advantage in a forward-looking way (strategic teaching). We find that strategic teaching occurs frequently and that all learning algorithms are subject to exploitation with the notable exception of imitation. The experiment was conducted, both, on the internet and in the usual laboratory setting. We find some systematic differences, which however can be traced to the different incentives structures rather than the experimental environment.

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Paper provided by Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim in its series Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications with number 05-36.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: 24 Oct 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:xrs:sfbmaa:05-36
Note: Financial support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, SFB 504, at the University of Mannheim, is gratefully acknowledged.
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  1. Burkhard Schipper, 2011. "Strategic Control of Myopic Best Reply in Repeated Games," Working Papers 115, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  2. Shachat, Jason & Swarthout, J. Todd, 2012. "Learning about learning in games through experimental control of strategic interdependence," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 383-402.
  3. Mathias Drehmann & Joerg Oechssler & Andreas Roider, 2002. "Herding and Contrarian Behavior in Financial Markets - An Internet Experiment," Finance 0210005, EconWPA.
  4. Burkhard C. Schipper, 2005. "Imitators and Optimizers in Cournot oligopoly," Working Papers 537, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  5. Offerman, T.J.S. & Potters, J.J.M. & Sonnemans, J., 2002. "Imitation and belief learning in an oligopoly experiment," Other publications TiSEM a6a771c5-31ba-4193-8f76-a, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
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  7. Ianni, A., 2002. "Reinforcement learning and the power law of practice: some analytical results," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 0203, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  8. Fernando Vega Redondo, 1996. "The evolution of walrasian behavior," Working Papers. Serie AD 1996-05, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
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  11. Monderer, Dov & Shapley, Lloyd S., 1996. "Potential Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 124-143, May.
  12. 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.
  13. Daniel Houser & Robert Kurzban, 2002. "Revisiting Kindness and Confusion in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1062-1069, September.
  14. Apesteguia, Jose & Huck, Steffen & Oechssler, Jorg, 2007. "Imitation--theory and experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 136(1), pages 217-235, September.
  15. Walker, James M. & Smith, Vernon L. & Cox, James C., 1987. "Bidding behavior in first price sealed bid auctions : Use of computerized Nash competitors," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 239-244.
  16. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1998. "Learning in Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2222, David K. Levine.
  17. Laslier, J.-F. & Topol, R. & Walliser, B., 1999. "A Behavioral Learning Process in Games," Papers 99-03, Paris X - Nanterre, U.F.R. de Sc. Ec. Gest. Maths Infor..
  18. Kirchkamp, Oliver & Nagel, Rosemarie, 2007. "Naive learning and cooperation in network experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 269-292, February.
  19. Erev, Ido & Roth, Alvin E, 1998. "Predicting How People Play Games: Reinforcement Learning in Experimental Games with Unique, Mixed Strategy Equilibria," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 848-81, September.
  20. Glen Ellison, 2010. "Learning from Personal Experience: One Rational Guy and the Justification of Myopia," Levine's Working Paper Archive 413, David K. Levine.
  21. Huck, Steffen & Normann, Hans-Theo & Oechssler, Jorg, 1999. "Learning in Cournot Oligopoly--An Experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(454), pages C80-95, March.
  22. Kirchkamp, Oliver & Nagel, Rosemarie, 2005. "Learning and cooperation in network experiments," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 05-27, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  23. Alos-Ferrer, Carlos, 2004. "Cournot versus Walras in dynamic oligopolies with memory," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 193-217, February.
  24. McCabe, Kevin & Houser, Daniel & Ryan, Lee & Smith, Vernon & Trouard, Ted, 2001. "A Functional Imaging Study of Cooperation in Two-Person reciprocal Exchange," MPRA Paper 5172, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  25. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Joerg Oechssler, 1998. "Through Trial & Error to Collusion," Game Theory and Information 9811004, EconWPA, revised 24 Nov 1998.
  26. Roth, Alvin E & Schoumaker, Francoise, 1983. "Expectations and Reputations in Bargaining: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 362-72, June.
  27. Camerer, Colin F. & Ho, Teck-Hua & Chong, Juin-Kuan, 2002. "Sophisticated Experience-Weighted Attraction Learning and Strategic Teaching in Repeated Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 137-188, May.
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