Rationality versus Cognition - Understanding Human Cooperation and Competition
For over six decades the Prisoner’s Dilemma (PD) has been regarded a primary model for the study of cooperation and competition among humans, animals or viruses. Leading models of game theory and decision making were pointing to the dominance of defection as the only course of rational thinking. Nonetheless, this conclusion seemed to contradict human behavior under both one -shot and repeated encounters. The theory of Subjective Expected Relative Similarity (SERS) introduced a new explanation, pointing to the interaction of human perception and the environment, allowing explaining and predicting human behavior in PDs as well as in a wider family of games (termed Similarity Sensitive Games). The talk will present experiments testing human encounters in one shot and repeated games, allowing validating SERS and highlighting the importance of human - environment interaction in understanding human cognition. Further analyses of evolutionary computer simulations as well as eye tracking and fMRI scanning provide a deeper understanding and enable designing future interventions that are expected to allow predicting and help reducing conflict intensities.