Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1980848
 
 

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The Mythology of Game Theory


Mathew D. McCubbins


Duke University

Mark B. Turner


Case Western Reserve University - Department of Cognitive Science

Nicholas Weller


University of Southern California - Department of Political Science; University of Southern California - School of International Relations

January 6, 2012

Proceedings of the International Conference on Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling, & Prediction, Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science
Marshall School of Business Working Paper No. FBE 01-12

Abstract:     
Non-cooperative game theory is at its heart a theory of cognition, specifically a theory of how decisions are made. Game theory's leverage is that we can design different payoffs, settings, player arrays, action possibilities, and information structures, and that these differences lead to different strategies, outcomes, and equilibria. It is well-known that, in experimental settings, people do not adopt the predicted strategies, outcomes, and equilibria. The standard response to this mismatch of prediction and observation is to add various psychological axioms to the game-theoretic framework. Regardless of the differing specific proposals and results, game theory uniformly makes certain cognitive assumptions that seem rarely to be acknowledged, much less interrogated. Indeed, it is not widely understood that game theory is essentially a cognitive theory. Here, we interrogate those cognitive assumptions. We do more than reject specific predictions from specific games. More broadly, we reject the underlying cognitive model implicitly assumed by game theory.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 8

Keywords: game theory, human behavior, Nash equilibrium, economics, Trust game, prediction markets

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Date posted: January 6, 2012 ; Last revised: May 9, 2012

Suggested Citation

McCubbins, Mathew D. and Turner, Mark B. and Weller, Nicholas, The Mythology of Game Theory (January 6, 2012). Proceedings of the International Conference on Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling, & Prediction, Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science; Marshall School of Business Working Paper No. FBE 01-12 . Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1980848 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1980848

Contact Information

Mathew D. McCubbins
Duke University ( email )
Department of Political Science
208 Gross Hall, 140 Science Drive
Durham, NC 27708
United States
(213) 973-7538 (Phone)
(213) 973-3623 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://mccubbins.us
Mark B. Turner
Case Western Reserve University - Department of Cognitive Science ( email )
10900 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106-7068
United States
HOME PAGE: http://markturner.org
Nicholas Weller (Contact Author)
University of Southern California - Department of Political Science ( email )
Von KleinSmid Center, 327
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
University of Southern California - School of International Relations
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
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