Inadvertent Auto Conditioning in Rock-Paper-Scissors

RPS game

If you’ve ever played Rock-Paper-Scissors, you’ll have wondered about the strategy that is most likely to beat your opponent.

Zhijian Wang at Zhejiang University in China and co carried out their experiments with 360 students recruited from Zhejiang University and divided into 60 groups of six players. In each group, the players played 300 rounds of Rock-Paper-Scissors against each other with their actions carefully recorded.

[P]layers who win tend to stick with the same action while those who lose switch to the next action in a clockwise direction (where R → P → S is clockwise).

In fact, a “win-stay, lose-shift” strategy is entirely plausible from a psychological point of view: people tend to stick with a winning strategy.

Via MIT Technology Review

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About Heretic

I design video games for a living, write fiction, political theory and poetry for personal amusement, and train regularly in Western European 16th century swordwork. On frequent occasion I have been known to hunt for and explore abandoned graveyards, train tunnels and other interesting places wherever I may find them, but there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that I am preparing to set off a zombie apocalypse. Nothing that will stand up in court, at least. I use paranthesis with distressing frequency, have a deep passion for history, anthropology and sociological theory, and really, really, really hate mayonnaise. But I wash my hands after the writing. Promise.

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