Reactive Versus Anticipative Decision Making in a Novel Gift-Giving Game


  • Elias Fernández Domingos Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • Juan Burguillo University of Vigo
  • Tom Lenaerts Universite ́ Libre de Bruxelles



Anticipation, Dictator game, partner selection, reputation, recurrent neural networks


Evolutionary game theory focuses on the fitness differences between simple discrete or probabilistic strategies to explain the evolution of particular decision-making behavior within strategic situations. Although this approach has provided substantial insights into the presence of fairness or generosity in gift-giving games, it does not fully resolve the question of which cognitive mechanisms are required to produce the choices observed in experiments. One such mechanism that humans have acquired, is the capacity to anticipate. Prior work showed that forward-looking behavior, using a recurrent neural network to model the cognitive mechanism, are essential to produce the actions of human participants in behavioral experiments. In this paper, we evaluate whether this conclusion extends also to gift-giving games, more concretely, to a game that combines the dictator game with a partner selection process. The recurrent neural network model used here for dictators, allows them to reason about a best response to past actions of the receivers (reactive model) or to decide which action will lead to a more successful outcome in the future (anticipatory model). We show for both models the decision dynamics while training, as well as the average behavior. We find that the anticipatory model is the only one capable of accounting for changes in the context of the game, a behavior also observed in experiments, expanding previous conclusions to this more sophisticated game.




How to Cite

Fernández Domingos, E., Burguillo, J., & Lenaerts, T. (2017). Reactive Versus Anticipative Decision Making in a Novel Gift-Giving Game. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 31(1).