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.

Related Articles


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 October 31, 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 October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Samsung's Incredible Shrinking Smartphone Profits

Samsung's Incredible Shrinking Smartphone Profits

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 30, 2014) The world's top mobile maker is under severe pressure, delivering a 60 percent drop in Q3 profit as its handset business struggles. Turning it around may not prove easy, says Reuters' Jon Gordon. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ban On Wearable Cameras In Movie Theaters Surprises No One

Ban On Wearable Cameras In Movie Theaters Surprises No One

Newsy (Oct. 30, 2014) The Motion Picture Association of America and the National Association of Theatre Owners now prohibit wearable cameras such as Google Glass. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spain's New 'Google Tax' Makes News Feeds Pay For Links

Spain's New 'Google Tax' Makes News Feeds Pay For Links

Newsy (Oct. 30, 2014) Spanish lawmakers have passed new IP rules requiring aggregators to pay for linking to news sites, following a broader trend across the E.U. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Launches Fitness Band After Accidental Reveal

Microsoft Launches Fitness Band After Accidental Reveal

Newsy (Oct. 30, 2014) Microsoft accidentally revealed its upcoming fitness band on Wednesday, so the company went ahead and announced it. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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