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The control of game form recognition in experiments: Understanding dominant strategy failures in a simple two person ”guessing” game

Chou, Eileen Y. and McConnell, Margaret A. and Nagel, Rosemary (2007) The control of game form recognition in experiments: Understanding dominant strategy failures in a simple two person ”guessing” game. Social Science Working Paper, 1274. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished) https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20170728-154142982

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Abstract

The paper focuses on instructions and procedures as the reasons that subjects fail to behave according to the predictions of game theory as observed in two person guessing game experiments. In this game, each of two people has to choose simultaneously a number between 0 and 100. The winner is the person whose chosen number is the closest to 2/3 of the average of the two numbers. The weakly dominant strategy is zero. Because of the simplicity of the game (once it is understood), the widespread failure of subjects to choose the weakly dominant strategy has been interpreted as evidence of some fundamental inability to behave strategically. The experiments reported here demonstrate that the failure to act strategically is related to how the game is presented. Several different presentations are studied. Some subjects fail to recognize the game form when it is presented abstractly. When the game is transformed into the simple isomorphic game and presented in a familiar context, subjects do choose weakly dominant strategies. Suggestions for better experiment control are given.


Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Additional Information: The financial support of the Caltech Laboratory of Experimental Economics and Political Science is gratefully acknowledged. Nagel acknowledges the Human Science Frontier Program and the hospitality of HSS Caltech. The authors wish to thank the students in the Caltech Experimental Economics class for many helpful comments and discussions. Published as Chou, E., McConnell, M., Nagel, R., & Plott, C.R. (2009). The control of game form recognition in experiments: Understanding dominant strategy failures in a simple two person “guessing” game. Experimental Economics, 12(2), 159-179.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Caltech Laboratory of Experimental Economics and Political ScienceUNSPECIFIED
Human Frontier Science ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:experiments
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:1274
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170728-154142982
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20170728-154142982
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:79564
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:02 Aug 2017 18:43
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:21

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