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Reveal Thyself!

In the WSJ today, the authors of Freakanomics have an essay reprinted from their new book, entitled "How to Trick the Guilty and Gullible into Revealing Themselves" which discusses several everyday applications of theory practices including the idea that medieval Trial By Ordeal actually worked (previously), why Nigerian scammers reveal they are from Nigeria, and the policy that Zappos came up with in which they offer a cash reward for new hires to quit working there, which other companies have now picked up as well.
posted by Potomac Avenue on May 10, 2014 - 59 comments

How to Win at Rock-Paper-Scissors, with Conditional Response

For one reason or another, no one has done a thorough evaluation of rock-paper-scissors. That is, until recently: Zhijian Wang and a group at Zhejiang University in China carried out a study with 360 students recruited from the University. The students were split into 60 groups of six players, and each group played 300 rounds of Rock-Paper-Scissors, with an additional financial incentive to the winners of each group. Winners stuck with with their selected action, while losers cycled through actions (rock, paper, scissors). No word on how well this works with expanded versions of the game (previously).
posted by filthy light thief on May 4, 2014 - 24 comments

Prisoners and Their Dilemma

What happens when you ask actual prisoners to test the "Prisoner's Dilemma"? [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 22, 2014 - 33 comments

The Prisoner's Dilemma For $100, Alex

Arthur Chu has won "Jeopardy" over the last few days by employing strategies rooted in game theory. This has caused consternation among some purists.
posted by reenum on Feb 4, 2014 - 99 comments

Monday Morning Robocoach

Watching one of the exciting snow-bound football games yesterday, the thought may have occurred to you: If I was a coach, would I go for it on this 4th down? This bot from the New York Times will tell you, and maybe even add a little attitude to the answer, which is usually much more aggressive than NFL coaches.
posted by Potomac Avenue on Dec 9, 2013 - 74 comments

How To Win on The Price is Right

Game Theory - it's not just for economists If you find yourself going on The Price is Right, you'll need this handy cheat sheet explaining how to win The Price Is Right—not just the Contestants' Row segment, but all of its many pricing games. This guide, which conveniently fits on the front and back of an 8.5-by-11-inch piece of paper, does not rely on the prices of items. Also see this
posted by 2manyusernames on Nov 13, 2013 - 28 comments

Dear Dylan

Wonkblog has a new advice column called "Dear Dylan" where Dylan Matthews answers the usual advice column staples using game theory, mathematics and charts.
posted by reenum on Aug 25, 2013 - 30 comments

...a better strategy than Tit for Tat emerges: Tit for Two Tats (IYKWIM)

Polyamory as noisy iterated prisoner's dilemma. [more inside]
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. on May 20, 2013 - 52 comments

Just Gone

RIP Scott Miller of Game Theory & The Loud Family [more inside]
posted by ryanshepard on Apr 17, 2013 - 72 comments

Get an A by exploiting a loophole in the grading curve

In several computer science courses at Johns Hopkins University, the grading curve was set by giving the highest score on the final an A, and then adjusting all lower scores accordingly. The students determined that if they collectively boycotted, then the highest score would be a zero, and so everyone would get an A.
posted by Foci for Analysis on Feb 18, 2013 - 162 comments

Split or steal?

Possibly the best filmed example of game theory in action ever.
posted by unSane on Apr 21, 2012 - 127 comments

The only winning move is not to play, or to watch these first.

Game Theory 101 has a selection of video and text lectures covering such topics as How to Fly on an Airplane with an Empty Seat Next to You for Free, Why You Should NOT Maximize Your Score in Words With Friends and How to Catch a Ball at a Baseball Game. It's not all light and fluffy, though. Some other topics include Why You Should Support International Aid, How the United States Debt Crisis Will End and Why the Intervention in Libya Was a Bargain. If you're new to game theory, start with The Prisoner's Dilemma.
posted by desjardins on Jan 13, 2012 - 49 comments

Why is finance so complex?

"You can have opacity and an industrial economy, or you can have transparency and herd goats"
posted by Philosopher's Beard on Dec 29, 2011 - 97 comments

Doctor Fox's Lecture

Video footage of the legendary Doctor Fox lecture. "The lecture that Myron L. Fox delivered to the assembled experts had an impressive enough title: 'Mathematical Game Theory as Applied to Physician Education'. Those responsible for running the University of Southern California School of Medicine's psychiatry department's continuing education programme had taken themselves off to Lake Tahoe in northern California for their annual conference and a continuing education program. There, Fox - who was billed as an 'authority on the application of mathematics to human behaviour' - presented the first paper. His polished performance so impressed the audience of psychiatrists, family doctors and general internists that nobody noticed that the man standing at the lectern wasn't really Myron L. Fox from the Albert Einstein School of Medicine but Michael Fox a movie actor who though having considerable experience in playing doctors in TV shows didn't know the first thing about game theory." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Sep 23, 2011 - 37 comments

"The people who are constantly exasperated about the perfidy and sheer irrationality of the other side is the team that is in fact ill-informed."

Endogenize Ideology: Steve Waldman on the interplay between policy decisions and public opinion, in response to Krugman.
posted by Jpfed on Jan 21, 2011 - 14 comments

Game theory and hangman.

'Jazz' is the best word to use in hangman.
posted by shakespeherian on Aug 19, 2010 - 96 comments

Can game theory predict when Iran will get the bomb?

Can game theory predict when Iran will get the bomb? Bruce Bueno de Mesquita thinks yes. (Previously)
posted by djgh on Aug 19, 2009 - 31 comments

Overthinking Carol

The Carol Syndrome "Carol's perception that she scares men away is not a delusion after all. … It is not a matter of bad luck but a collateral effect of interactive rationality. A paradoxical consequence is that Carol's attractiveness acts as a repellent." Game theory (mis?)applied to dating. [more inside]
posted by Kadin2048 on Jul 22, 2009 - 73 comments

The Price of Anarchy

Braess' paradox and the price of anarchy [PDF]: "We had three tunnels in the city and one needed to be shut down. Bizarrely, we found that car volumes dropped. ... We discovered it was a case of Braess' paradox, which says that by taking away space in an urban area you can actually increase the flow of traffic, and, by implication, by adding extra capacity to a road network you can reduce overall performance." [more inside]
posted by parudox on Dec 27, 2008 - 15 comments

Don't the Norwegian players know that "Rock is for Rookies?

The Yahoo! 2008 World Rock Paper Scissors (RPS) Championships will be held in Toronto, Ontario on October 25. First prize: $10,000. Norway has publicly stated that they aim for a Norwegian world champion by 2010. RPS trading cards can be found here. Graham Walker, co-founder of the World Rock Paper Scissors Society, discusses the sport on CBC here. Amusing posters and other kitsch. [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Oct 19, 2008 - 29 comments

Computer game forecasts EOTWAWKI by 2042

According to the Global Extinction Awareness System (GEAS, by the Institute For the Future) - a simulation based on "the worlds’s first massively multiplayer forecasting game" - by the year 2042 AD there is a potentially terminal combination of five so-called “super-threats” which represent a collision of environmental, economic, and social risks. Acting together, the five super-threats may irreversibly overwhelm homo sapiens ability to survive. Spokesperson for United Nations Secretary General “We are grateful for GEAS’ work, and we treat their latest forecast with seriousness and profound gravity.”[[press release]]. The game runs from Oct.8 to Nov. 6, players wanted.
posted by stbalbach on Oct 8, 2008 - 31 comments

The Dollar Auction and Swoopo

An online auction site called Swoopo, once called TeleBid, has hit upon an ingenious way to make money. They are an auction site not entirely unlike Ebay - but using a different auction scheme. Where EBay uses a slightly modified Vickrey auction system, Swoopo uses an auction system based on the "Dollar Auction" game - with interesting results. [more inside]
posted by Zarkonnen on Oct 1, 2008 - 31 comments

Behind Door Number One...

The Monty Hall Problem has struck again, and this time it’s not merely embarrassing mathematicians. If the calculations of a Yale economist are correct, there’s a sneaky logical fallacy in some of the most famous experiments in psychology." The NY Times' John Tierney reports on new research into cognitive dissonance as examined through the famous Monty Hall Problem. [A previous MetaFilter thread about the Monty Hall Problem: Let's Make A Deal!]
posted by amyms on Apr 8, 2008 - 119 comments

In the future, we're still all raging dirtbags.

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita uses rational choice theory to predict the future.
posted by anotherpanacea on Dec 4, 2007 - 55 comments

Evolution and Cooperation

In Games, an Insight Into the Rules of Evolution. Carl Zimmer writes about Martin Nowak (previously mentioned here), a mathematical biologist who uses games to understand how cooperation evolved. [Via MindHacks.]
posted by homunculus on Aug 11, 2007 - 4 comments

The Communal Moniker Was Either a Godsend or an Albatross

The Paisley Underground. From about 1982 to 1985, the Los Angeles club scene featured a bunch of guitar bands on the verge of being the next big thing, including The Dream Syndicate, Green on Red, The Long Ryders, The Rain Parade, Game Theory (later known as The Loud Family) and, of course, The Bangles (the only ones who managed to actually become a big thing). Michael Quercio of The Three O'Clock and Salvation Army inadvertently named the scene "Paisley underground" when he made an off handed joke during a radio interview. Most of the bands are now, to borrow a phrase from Game Theory leader Scott Miller, languishing in national obscurity, as opposed to local obscurity.
posted by Joey Michaels on Jul 9, 2007 - 30 comments

The Traveler's Dilemma

"He asks each of them to write down...any dollar integer between 2 and 100 without conferring together. If both write the same number...he will pay each of them that amount. But if they write different numbers, he will ... pay both of them the lower number along with a bonus and a penalty--the person who wrote the lower number will get $2 more...and the one who wrote the higher number will get $2 less.... For instance, if Lucy writes 46 and Pete writes 100, Lucy will get $48 and Pete will get $44."
What amount would you choose? And what does your answer tell us about the limits of Game Theory?
posted by empath on May 30, 2007 - 245 comments

The battle of wits has begun. It ends when you decide and we both drink, and find out who is right and who is dead.

Game Theory at the movies. The Princess Bride demonstrates the use of common knowledge, Butch Cassidy laments pareto equilibrium, and Swingers is an example of pooling equilibrium. Though no longer on the site, you can still see the most involved rock, paper, scissors game ever filmed [.mov].
posted by blahblahblah on Jul 19, 2006 - 25 comments

toilet seat problem

A game theoretic approach to the toilet seat problem. Because people are really passionate about their toilets.
posted by dhruva on Feb 3, 2006 - 54 comments

Logical Risks

Answer three simple tricky questions and predict your sensitivity to risk. via Washington Monthly
posted by alms on Jan 27, 2006 - 73 comments

Eat it, Rand.

An evolutionary basis for altruism. These findings suggest that true altruism, far from being a maladaptation, may be the key to our species' success by providing the social glue that allowed our ancestors to form strong, resilient groups. Sharing isn't just caring, it's surviving.
posted by schroedinger on Mar 21, 2005 - 44 comments

Game Theory Resource

Game Theory.
posted by Gyan on Jan 3, 2005 - 14 comments

TFT KO'd by TSG in IPD

Tit-for-tat dethroned in iterated prisoner's dilemma competition! But it might not work so well in RL, and what if you threw in QM? :D
posted by kliuless on Oct 14, 2004 - 10 comments

The Sleeping Beaty problem

"We plan to put Beauty to sleep by chemical means, and then we’ll flip a fair coin. If the coin lands Heads, we will awaken Beauty on Monday afternoon and interview her. If it lands Tails, we will awaken her Monday afternoon, interview her, put her back to sleep, and then awaken her again on Tuesday afternoon and interview her again. The (each?) interview is to consist of the one question : what is your credence now for the proposition that our coin landed Heads? When awakened (and during the interview) Beauty will not be able to tell which day it is, nor will she remember whether she has been awakened before. She knows about the above details of our experiment. What credence should she state in answer to our question?"

In light of the recent thread on the Monty Hall problem, here's a probability puzzle that's even more mind-bending: the Sleeping Beauty problem. Some people say the answer is 1/2. Some people say the answer is 1/3. Some people say there is no answer. Papers have been written which can't resolve this one.
posted by salmacis on Jul 21, 2004 - 40 comments

Let's Make a Deal!

A playable version of the Monty Hall problem. More information.
posted by monju_bosatsu on Jul 20, 2004 - 63 comments

Game Theories: Are these virtual worlds the best place to study the real one?

Game Theories: Are these virtual worlds the best place to study the real one? The Gross National Product of EverQuest, measured by how much wealth all the players together created in a single year inside the game. It turned out to be $2,266 U.S. per capita. By World Bank rankings, that made EverQuest richer than India, Bulgaria, or China, and nearly as wealthy as Russia. (by Clive Thompson)
posted by hoder on May 17, 2004 - 11 comments

Economists in hell.

Problems in infinite decision theory [pdf]. You are in hell and facing an eternity of torment, but the devil offers you a way out, which you can take once and only once at any time from now on. Today, if you ask him to, the devil will toss a fair coin once and if it comes up heads you are free (but if tails then you face eternal torment with no possibility of reprieve). You don’t have to play today, though, because tomorrow the devil will make the deal slightly more favourable to you (and you know this): he’ll toss the coin twice but just one head will free you. The day after, the offer will improve further: 3 tosses with just one head needed. And so on (4 tosses, 5 tosses, ….1000 tosses …) for the rest of time if needed. So, given that the devil will give you better odds on every day after this one, but that you want to escape from hell some time, when should accept his offer? More discussion here.
posted by monju_bosatsu on Nov 3, 2003 - 37 comments

A Beautiful Post

The Ultimate Game. Game theory was applied extensively by US foreign policy-makers during the Cold War, and many would credit those "moves" with the triumph of the West. But can it work now? Are rogue states and terrorists "rational actors?" Are we seeing a classic two-player game playing out with the US and Iraq? What does it even mean to "win" in the post-Soviet era? If these theories interest you, try these online simulations.
posted by _sirmissalot_ on Feb 28, 2003 - 20 comments

Civil War: Political Violence and Robust Settlements

Civil War: Political Violence and Robust Settlements -- an article from the Santa Fe Institute Bulletin about game theoretical approaches combined with on the ground field studies to analyze war and conflict. The article centers around work (Forging Democracy From Below: Insurgent Transitions in South Africa and El Salvador | Insurgent Collective Action and Civil War in El Salvador) done by Elisabeth Jean Wood, an NYU professor of political science with a background in physics. "The reason to study violence and suffering," says Wood, "is to understand its origins, processes, andâ?"ideallyâ?"to contribute to its cessation."
posted by kliuless on Aug 8, 2002 - 3 comments

The Nash equilibrium

The Nash equilibrium
So at the present time I seem to be thinking rationally again in the style that is characteristic of scientists. However this is not entirely a matter of joy as if someone returned from physical disability to good physical health. One aspect of this is that rationality of thought imposes a limit on a person's concept of his relation to the cosmos....from John F. Nash Jr.'s autobiography for the 1994 Nobel Prize for Economics.
posted by riley370 on Dec 12, 2001 - 8 comments

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