IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Cognition and Behavior in Normal-Form Games:An Experimental Study

  • Miguel Costa-Gomes
  • Vincent P. Crawford
  • Bruno Broseta

This paper reports experiments designed to study strategic sophistication, the extent to which behavior in games reflects attempts to predict others' decisions, taking their incentives into account. We studied subjects' initial responses to normal-form games with various patterns of iterated dominance and unique pure-strategy equilibria without dominance, using a computer interface that allowed them to search for hidden payoff information, while recording their searches. Monitoring subjects' information searches along with their decisions allows us to better understand how their decisions are determined, and subjects' deviations from the search patterns suggested by equilibrium analysis help to predict their deviations from equilibrium decisions.

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:
File Function: Main text
Download Restriction: no

File URL:
File Function: Appendix
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of York in its series Discussion Papers with number 00/45.

in new window

Date of creation:
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:yor:yorken:00/45
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics and Related Studies, University of York, York, YO10 5DD, United Kingdom
Phone: (0)1904 323776
Fax: (0)1904 323759
Web page:

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. Roth, Alvin E. & Vesna Prasnikar & Masahiro Okuno-Fujiwara & Shmuel Zamir, 1991. "Bargaining and Market Behavior in Jerusalem, Ljubljana, Pittsburgh, and Tokyo: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1068-95, December.
  2. Broseta, Bruno & Costa-Gomes, Miguel & Crawford, Vincent P., 2000. "Cognition and Behavior in Normal-Form Games: An Experimental Study," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt0fp8278k, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  3. John C. Harsanyi & Reinhard Selten, 1988. "A General Theory of Equilibrium Selection in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582384, June.
  4. Roth, Alvin E & Murnighan, J Keith, 1982. "The Role of Information in Bargaining: An Experimental Study," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1123-42, September.
  5. 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 947-69, September.
  6. 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.
  7. Selten, Reinhard, . "Features of Experimentally Observed Bounded Rationality," Discussion Paper Serie B 421, University of Bonn, Germany, revised Nov 1997.
  8. Kalai, Ehud & Lehrer, Ehud, 1991. "Rational Learning Leads to Nash Equilibrium," Working Papers 91-18, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  9. Richard McKelvey & Thomas Palfrey, 1999. "An experimental study of the centipede game," Levine's Working Paper Archive 521, David K. Levine.
  10. Shachat, Jason & Walker, Mark, 2004. "Unobserved heterogeneity and equilibrium: an experimental study of Bayesian and adaptive learning in normal form games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 114(2), pages 280-309, February.
  11. Cooper, Russell, et al, 1990. "Selection Criteria in Coordination Games: Some Experimental Results," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 218-33, March.
  12. T. Randolph Beard & Richard O. Beil, 1994. "Do People Rely on the Self-Interested Maximization of Others? An Experimental Test," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 40(2), pages 252-262, February.
  13. Adam Brandenburger, 1992. "Knowledge and Equilibrium in Games," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 83-101, Fall.
  14. El-Gamal, Mahmoud A. & Grether, David M., 1995. "Are People Bayesian? Uncovering Behavioral Strategies," Working Papers 919, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  15. Palfrey, Thomas R & Rosenthal, Howard, 1994. "Repeated Play, Cooperation and Coordination: An Experimental Study," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 545-65, July.
  16. Teck-Hua Ho & Keith Weigelt, 1996. "Task Complexity, Equilibrium Selection, and Learning: An Experimental Study," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 42(5), pages 659-679, May.
  17. John B Van Huyck & Raymond C Battalio & Richard O Beil, 1997. "Tacit coordination games, strategic uncertainty, and coordination failure," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1225, David K. Levine.
  18. Friedman, Daniel, 1996. "Equilibrium in Evolutionary Games: Some Experimental Results," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(434), pages 1-25, January.
  19. V. Crawford, 2010. "Adaptive Dynamics in Coordination Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 404, David K. Levine.
  20. Harless, David W. & Camerer, Colin F., 1995. "An error rate analysis of experimental data testing Nash refinements," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 649-660, April.
  21. Harless, David W & Camerer, Colin F, 1994. "The Predictive Utility of Generalized Expected Utility Theories," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1251-89, November.
  22. Colin Camerer & Teck-Hua Ho, 1999. "Experience-weighted Attraction Learning in Normal Form Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 827-874, July.
  23. Aumann, Robert & Brandenburger, Adam, 1995. "Epistemic Conditions for Nash Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(5), pages 1161-80, September.
  24. Straub, Paul G., 1995. "Risk dominance and coordination failures in static games," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 339-363.
  25. 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.
  26. Haruvy, Ernan & Stahl, Dale O. & Wilson, Paul W., 1999. "Evidence for optimistic and pessimistic behavior in normal-form games," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 255-259, June.
  27. repec:car:ciorup:87-04 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Itzhak Gilboa & Ehud Kalai & Eitan Zemel, 1989. "The Complexity of Eliminating Dominated Strategies," Discussion Papers 853, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  29. 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.
  30. Dale O. Stahl, 1999. "Evidence based rules and learning in symmetric normal-form games," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 111-130.
  31. Fudenberg, D. & Kreps, D.M., 1992. "Learning Mixed Equilibria," Working papers 92-13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  32. Cachon, Gerard P & Camerer, Colin F, 1996. "Loss-Avoidance and Forward Induction in Experimental Coordination Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 165-94, February.
  33. Van Huyck, John B & Battalio, Raymond C & Beil, Richard O, 1991. "Strategic Uncertainty, Equilibrium Selection, and Coordination Failure in Average Opinion Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(3), pages 885-910, August.
  34. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-26, December.
  35. Van Huyck John B. & Battalio Raymond C. & Beil Richard O., 1993. "Asset Markets as an Equilibrium Selection Mechanism: Coordination Failure, Game Form Auctions, and Tacit Communication," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 485-504, July.
  36. Stahl, Dale O., 1996. "Boundedly Rational Rule Learning in a Guessing Game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 303-330, October.
  37. Schotter, Andrew & Weigelt, Keith & Wilson, Charles, 1990. "A Laboratory Investigation Of Multi-Person Rationality And Presentation Effects," Working Papers 90-24, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  38. McKelvey, Richard D & Palfrey, Thomas R, 1992. "An Experimental Study of the Centipede Game," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(4), pages 803-36, July.
  39. Holt, Debra J., 1999. "An Empirical Model of Strategic Choice with an Application to Coordination Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 86-105, April.
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:yor:yorken:00/45. 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: (Paul Hodgson)

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.