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How Not to Apply Game Theory to Marriage

The economics is solid—the authors know their stuff and they apply it well. Too well, actually, because they succumb to one of the worst flaws of economists (and social scientists in general): favoring a convenient model when it contradicts the real world. No model can capture the myriad intricacies of real world behavior, and by necessity they have to leave less important things out to focus on the more important things. But when important things are left out because they don't fit into a preferred modeling framework, the model is driving the study, not the other way around (as it should be). And if the model isn't appropriate for the study at hand, the results are going to be skewed.

Case in point—the final paragraph in Ms. Szuchman's post, under the title "Scheme":

Thinking ahead, learning from past experience, putting yourself in your spouse's shoes-these are all strategies straight from the game-theory playbook (game theory being the study of behavior in strategic situations). In fact, if you think like a game theorist, you'll find that marriage is really just a two-person repeated game. In the game, each person is trying to achieve the best results possible, given the limitations that there's another person involved. Think of that other person and you're being strategic. You're also being pretty romantic.

No, by definition you're being self-centered, which is neither romantic nor the path to a successful marriage. Game theory of the type the author refer to is called (not surprisingly) noncooperative game theory, which studies the way self-interested decision-makers interact in strategic situations. In my last post, for instance, I used noncooperative game theory to look at the behavior of competitors (business, political, and mating), which is a seminal application of this type of game theory. Competitors don't care about each other, but spouses or partners do (or should), especially if they want a successful relationship.



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FAQ

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What are some good books on general theories about the complex in psychology? - Homework Help - eNotes.com

Antonia Wolff . Introduction to the basics of the complex psychology. Berlin 1935
Antonia Wolff . The concept of the archetype in the complex psychology and its relationship to international science. Berlin 1950
Antonia Wolff . The cultural significance of complex psychology. Festschrift for the 60th Jung's birthday 1935Studies of Jungian psychology. Zurich 1959, Einsiedeln 1981
Andrew Samuels, Bani Shorter and Fred Plaut. A Critical Dictionary of Jungian Analysis, Routledge: New York, 1986, pp. 33-35.
Joseph Cambray, Linda Carter. Analytical psychology: contemporary perspectives in Jungian…



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