Game Theory and Serious Games

Several different fields of research and / or technology use the term “game” with meaning associated with particular contexts. For instance, such is the case with Dialog Games, which aim at analyzing argumentation in a context of debate. But this is also the case of course with Game Theory which aims at analyzing rational decisions taken in a context of interaction, i.e. a context in which the consequences of a choice made by a decision make may depend on the choices of other interacting decision makers. If Game Theory is essentially a mathematical tool which has been often rewarded these later years by a Nobel Prize in Economics, one specificity of its development is that its development often start with small stories called metaphors and that can be easily understood by young children with no knowledge in mathematics. These metaphors serve to analyze the general decision problem through illustrating in a particular environment, given nevertheless that the solution of this problem conveys very general properties. Such is the case for instance with the famous Prisoner’s Dilemma or the Chicken Game, which have a variety of application fields from Economics and Management to military affairs. One of the features of Game Theory, often subject of critics is that it is essentially prescriptive and / or normative, i.e. suggesting what decision makers should do if they were rational, buy not descriptive, i.e. describing the reality of decision makers behavior. Some bridges have been established through Behavioral Economics and Behavior Game Theory aiming between other things at analyzing the reasons of decision makers’ behaviors and possibly the conditions under which these decision makers would adopt a rational behavior.This opens the door to possibly develop serious games on the basis of game theoretic results and the findings of behavioral analysis. Thus an issue raised by a Game Theory metaphor could be developed under the form of a serious game scenario, in which the player, first ignoring the results of Game Theory has to take decisions according to his / her feelings. The outcome of the game is then presented to the player, who has to explain his / her choice. The player’s arguments are controlled by a mentor, who might ask the player to reconsider his / her decision.

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