Game Theory Is Really Counterintuitive

William Spaniel

Every now and then, I hear someone say that game theory doesn’t tell us anything we don’t already know. In a sense, they are right—game theory is a methodology, so it’s not really telling us anything that our assumptions are not. However, I challenge someone to tell me that they would have believed most of the things below if we didn’t have formal modeling.

  • People often take aggressive postures that lead to mutually bad outcomes even though mutual cooperation is mutually preferable. Source.
  • Even if everyone agrees that an outcome is everyone’s favorite, they might not get that outcome. Source.
  • Sometimes having fewer options is better than having more options. Source.
  • On a penalty kick, soccer players should kick more frequently toward their weaker side as their weaker side becomes increasingly inaccurate. Source.
  • In a duel, both gunslingers should shoot at the same time, even if one is a worse…

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