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Article

Formalizing Opponent Modeling with the Rock, Paper, Scissors Game

Department of Psychology, University of California San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Ben Dyson and Ulrich Berger
Received: 16 July 2021 / Revised: 24 August 2021 / Accepted: 4 September 2021 / Published: 16 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychological Perspectives on Simple Games)
In simple dyadic games such as rock, paper, scissors (RPS), people exhibit peculiar sequential dependencies across repeated interactions with a stable opponent. These regularities seem to arise from a mutually adversarial process of trying to outwit their opponent. What underlies this process, and what are its limits? Here, we offer a novel framework for formally describing and quantifying human adversarial reasoning in the rock, paper, scissors game. We first show that this framework enables a precise characterization of the complexity of patterned behaviors that people exhibit themselves, and appear to exploit in others. This combination allows for a quantitative understanding of human opponent modeling abilities. We apply these tools to an experiment in which people played 300 rounds of RPS in stable dyads. We find that although people exhibit very complex move dependencies, they cannot exploit these dependencies in their opponents, indicating a fundamental limitation in people’s capacity for adversarial reasoning. Taken together, the results presented here show how the rock, paper, scissors game allows for precise formalization of human adaptive reasoning abilities. View Full-Text
Keywords: adversarial reasoning; sequential reasoning; competition; rock-paper-scissors adversarial reasoning; sequential reasoning; competition; rock-paper-scissors
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MDPI and ACS Style

Brockbank, E.; Vul, E. Formalizing Opponent Modeling with the Rock, Paper, Scissors Game. Games 2021, 12, 70. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/g12030070

AMA Style

Brockbank E, Vul E. Formalizing Opponent Modeling with the Rock, Paper, Scissors Game. Games. 2021; 12(3):70. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/g12030070

Chicago/Turabian Style

Brockbank, Erik, and Edward Vul. 2021. "Formalizing Opponent Modeling with the Rock, Paper, Scissors Game" Games 12, no. 3: 70. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/g12030070

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