Monday, March 21, 2005

Strategic Thinking: Into the Minds of Gamers

Bhatt and Camerer of Cal Tech cover big topics in this paper - sucessful strategic thinking, self-referential thinking, social thinking, and neuroeconomics by carefully examining patterns of brain activation while college students played games and reflected on their experiences. Different experiments looked at the differences in patterns when individuals made choices, expressed their beliefs, and expressed what they thought others would do.

It turns out successful strategic thinking negatively correlated with insular activation. Insular activation, they suggest, was an indicator of too much self-preoccupation and emotional feeling. The insular is preferentially activated in situations like when a person is made to feel socially excluded (virtual game of 'catch', then the other subjects don't share the ball with you anymore -we'll talk about that one later). It looks like this study is a chapter from an upcoming book entitled "Games and Economic Behavior."

Here's a look at how not to look when you're playing to win.

The Mind in Games

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