Tuesday, October 09, 2007

UPI Less Rational than Chimps

Well, on par with chimps anyway.

UPI reports "Chimps choose more rationally than humans", when in fact the opposite is true.

In the experiment, a subject is asked to share some reward with another subject. If the offer is rejected by the other, neither subject gets any reward. Humans usually make offers approaching 50% of the reward, and reject offers that are deemed unfair. Chimps make smaller offers that tend to be accepted by the other subject.

UPI must have skipped Game Theory in college because the human response is more rational when repeated over time, as are virtually all game theory applications pertinent to bargaining and cooperation. The receiving subject maximizes his/her utility by occasionally punishing the offering subject, and the offering subject reacts rationally to this threat in a repeated game. The result is a much more equitable distribution of utility.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What the? Damnit, I left Game Theory back in college.

~MJA