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J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2006 Jan;32(1):131-49.

Game relativity: how context influences strategic decision making.

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Department of Psychology, University College London, London, United Kingdom.


Existing models of strategic decision making typically assume that only the attributes of the currently played game need be considered when reaching a decision. The results presented in this article demonstrate that the so-called "co-operativeness" of the previously played prisoner's dilemma games influence choices and predictions in the current prisoner's dilemma game, which suggests that games are not considered independently. These effects involved reinforcement-based assimilation to the previous choices and also a perceptual contrast of the present game with preceding games, depending on the range and the rank of their co-operativeness. A. Parducci's (1965) range frequency theory and H. Helson's (1964) adaptation level theory are plausible theories of relative judgment of magnitude information, which could provide an account of these context effects.

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