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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. 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.
  2. Fernando Vega-Redondo, 1997. "The Evolution of Walrasian Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(2), pages 375-384, March.
  3. J.-F. Laslier & R. Topol & B. Walliser, 1999. "A behavioral learning process in games," THEMA Working Papers 99-03, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  4. Drehmann, Mathias & Oechssler, Jörg & Roider, Andreas, 2004. "Herding and Contrarian Behavior in Financial Markets - An Internet Experiment," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 7, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  5. Jose Apesteguia & Steffen Huck & Jorg Oechssler, 2004. "Imitation - Theory and Experimental Evidence," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000132, UCLA Department of Economics.
  6. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Jörg Oechssler, 2001. "Two are Few and Four are Many: Number Effects in Experimental Oligopolies," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse12_2001, University of Bonn, Germany.
  7. Offerman, Theo & Potters, Jan & Sonnemans, Joep, 2002. "Imitation and Belief Learning in an Oligopoly Experiment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(4), pages 973-97, October.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Joerg Oechssler, 1997. "Learning in Cournot Oligopoly - An Experiment," Game Theory and Information 9707009, EconWPA, revised 22 Jul 1997.
  11. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Joerg Oechssler, 1998. "Through Trial & Error to Collusion," Game Theory and Information 9811004, EconWPA, revised 24 Nov 1998.
  12. Burkhard C. Schipper, 2005. "Imitators and Optimizers in Cournot oligopoly," Working Papers 537, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  13. 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.
  14. Glen Ellison, 2010. "Learning from Personal Experience: One Rational Guy and the Justification of Myopia," Levine's Working Paper Archive 413, David K. Levine.
  15. Kirchkamp, Oliver & Nagel, Rosemarie, 2007. "Naive learning and cooperation in network experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 269-292, February.
  16. Jason Shachat & J. Todd Swarthout, 2002. "Learning about Learning in Games through Experimental Control of Strategic Interdependence," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2006-17, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, revised Aug 2008.
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  18. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-91663 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Burkhard Schipper, 2011. "Strategic Control of Myopic Best Reply in Repeated Games," Working Papers 115, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  20. 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.
  21. Monderer, Dov & Shapley, Lloyd S., 1996. "Potential Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 124-143, May.
  22. Vahid, F. & Sarin, R., 2001. "Strategy Similarity and Coordination," Monash Econometrics and Business Statistics Working Papers 8/01, Monash University, Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics.
  23. 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.
  24. Carlos Alós-Ferrer, 2001. "Cournot versus Walras in Dynamic Oligopolies with Memory," Vienna Economics Papers 0110, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
  25. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Joerg Oechssler, 2004. "Through Trial and Error to Collusion," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(1), pages 205-224, 02.
  26. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1998. "Learning in Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2222, David K. Levine.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
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