Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The reason we lose at games: Some games simply too complex for the human mind to understand

Date:
January 7, 2013
Source:
Manchester University
Summary:
If you have ever wondered why you never seem to win at skill-based games such as poker or chess, there might be a very good reason. Scientists have discovered that some games are simply impossible to fully learn, or too complex for the human mind to understand.

If you have ever wondered why you never seem to win at skill-based games such as poker or chess, there might be a very good reason. Scientists have discovered that some games are simply impossible to fully learn, or too complex for the human mind to understand.
Credit: gosphotodesign / Fotolia

If you have ever wondered why you never seem to win at skill-based games such as poker or chess, there might be a very good reason.

Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a University of Manchester physicist has discovered that some games are simply impossible to fully learn, or too complex for the human mind to understand.

Dr Tobias Galla from The University of Manchester and Professor Doyne Farmer from Oxford University and the Santa Fe Institute, ran thousands of simulations of two-player games to see how human behaviour affects their decision-making.

In simple games with a small number of moves, such as Noughts and Crosses the optimal strategy is easy to guess, and the game quickly becomes uninteresting.

However, when games became more complex and when there are a lot of moves, such as in chess, the board game Go or complex card games, the academics argue that players' actions become less rational and that it is hard to find optimal strategies.

This research could also have implications for the financial markets. Many economists base financial predictions of the stock market on equilibrium theory -- assuming that traders are infinitely intelligent and rational.

This, the academics argue, is rarely the case and could lead to predictions of how markets react being wildly inaccurate.

Much of traditional game theory, the basis for strategic decision-making, is based on the equilibrium point -- players or workers having a deep and perfect knowledge of what they are doing and of what their opponents are doing.

Dr Galla, from the School of Physics and Astronomy, said: "Equilibrium is not always the right thing you should look for in a game."

"In many situations, people do not play equilibrium strategies, instead what they do can look like random or chaotic for a variety of reasons, so it is not always appropriate to base predictions on the equilibrium model."

"With trading on the stock market, for example, you can have thousands of different stock to choose from, and people do not always behave rationally in these situations or they do not have sufficient information to act rationally. This can have a profound effect on how the markets react."

"It could be that we need to drop these conventional game theories and instead use new approaches to predict how people might behave."

Together with a Manchester-based PhD student the pair are looking to expand their study to multi-player games and to cases in which the game itself changes with time, which would be a closer analogy of how financial markets operate.

Preliminary results suggest that as the number of players increases, the chances that equilibrium is reached decrease. Thus for complicated games with many players, such as financial markets, equilibrium is even less likely to be the full story.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Manchester University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tobias Galla and J. Doyne Farmer. Complex dynamics in learning complicated games. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2013; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1109672110

Cite This Page:

Manchester University. "The reason we lose at games: Some games simply too complex for the human mind to understand." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130107151259.htm>.
Manchester University. (2013, January 7). The reason we lose at games: Some games simply too complex for the human mind to understand. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130107151259.htm
Manchester University. "The reason we lose at games: Some games simply too complex for the human mind to understand." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130107151259.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Computers & Math News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

AP (July 23, 2014) 'Ray' the robotic parking valet at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany lets travelers to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot before heading to the check-in desk. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Reviews Are In For The Amazon Fire Phone

The Reviews Are In For The Amazon Fire Phone

Newsy (July 23, 2014) Amazon's first smartphone, the Fire Phone, is set to ship this week, and so far the reviews have been pretty mixed. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bigger Apple Phone, Bigger Orders

Bigger Apple Phone, Bigger Orders

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 22, 2014) Apple is asking suppliers to make 70 to 80 million units of its new larger screen iPhone, a lot more initially than its current model. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AP Review: Amazon Fire Adds Spark to Smartphones

AP Review: Amazon Fire Adds Spark to Smartphones

AP (July 22, 2014) Amazon's new Fire phone uses tweaks to the Android operating system and some innovative features to set it apart from smartphones from the likes of Apple and Samsung. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins