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Game Theory Helps To Analyze Conflict

A new iteration of game theory allows researchers to analyze animal and human group behavior.

Quantitative studies of behavior traditionally rely on game theory to investigate the logic of conflict. Game theory seeks to identify normal strategies used to maximize payoffs for individuals in the face of uncertainty.

Although game theory has been very useful for determining which of a predefined set of strategies – for example, “tit for tat” – will be stable given certain assumptions, it has not proven to be very useful for determining what the natural strategy set is, or which strategies individuals are using out of equilibrium.

Game theoretic models are also not practical for studying strategies when interactions involve multiple players interacting simultaneously.

This is the case in many complex animal and human systems.

Santa Fe Institute postdoctoral fellow Simon DeDeo and Institute faculty members Jessica Flack and David Krakauer developed the new method, which they call Inductive Game Theory, and applied it to a time series of fights gathered from detailed observations of an animal society model system.

“With these approaches, we can identify those strategies likely to generate periods of intense conflict,” DeDeo says.

“Fights are not explained by ‘rogue actors,’ or single aggressive individuals, but by complex interactions among groups of three or higher, and the decision to fight is very much dependent on memory for what happened in previous conflicts,” says Krakauer.

“These results suggest that individual agency has been over-emphasized in social evolution,” says Flack.

“We need to re-examine the idea that a single individual or nation can cause turbulent periods in history and consider the possibility that what predicts long periods of conflict is how we respond to the actions of our friends and enemies in their conflicts.”

“This new empirically-grounded approach to conflict is a crucial step towards designing better methods for prediction, management and control,” she says.

Source: Santa Fe Institute

Game Theory Helps To Analyze Conflict

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Game Theory Helps To Analyze Conflict. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2010/05/17/game-theory-helps-to-analyze-conflict/13870.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.