Game Theory

Pure Pedantry

Category archives for Game Theory

Game Theory and The Dark Knight

I suspect that many of you got a chance to see The Dark Knight movie this weekend. Just as an aside, I will say that I thought that the movie was sweet. Definitely the best Batman movie, maybe one of the best superhero movies ever made. Heath Ledger is terrifyingly good throughout. Aaron Eckhart and…

Game Theory and the Super Delegates

Jay Cost at RCP uses a prisoner’s dilemma game to show why the absense of institutional structures is likely to yield a socially inefficient result in the Democratic primaries. He looks at the super delegates’ behavior in terms of what is good for them vs. what is good for the party: The core problem is…

One of the ways that scientists study human decision making is through the study of behavior in simple games — loosely lumped into a field called game theory. Some of the most interesting and revealing findings involving such games is that human beings are not “strictly rational.” Before everyone jumps all over me, let me…

Rats show a type of “generalized” altruism: Rats that benefit from the charity of others are more likely to help strangers get a free meal, researchers have found. This phenomenon, known as ‘generalized reciprocity’, has only ever been seen before in humans. A good example, says Michael Taborsky of the University of Bern, Switzerland, is…

Paul Rubin has an editorial in the Washington Post about how evolution may result in a proclivity towards economic and social conflict: Conflict was common in the environment in which humans evolved. As primates, which are a very social order, our ancestors lived in relatively small groups in which everyone knew everyone else. Our minds…

Goethe was a Game Theorist

A favorite professor of mine once told me that it’s always impressive to start with an example from the 18th century. So in deference to him and with a nod to Jonah Lehrer’s forthcoming book, I’d like to mention Goethe’s anticipation of one of the pillars of auction theory, as elaborated in an article by…

Cooperation without cognition

How does cooperation evolve? It is in an organism’s best interest to screw its competitors in order to best convey its genes to the next generation, yet we see a variety of human and animals examples of cooperation. The answer falls to a division of mathematics and economics called Game Theory. Game Theory examines the…