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Salience and Strategy Choice in 2 × 2 Games

Decision, Risk and Management Science Program, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22230, USA
Economic Science Institute, Chapman University, One University Drive, Orange, CA 92866, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Andrew M. Colman
Games 2015, 6(4), 521-559;
Received: 3 August 2015 / Revised: 29 September 2015 / Accepted: 13 October 2015 / Published: 23 October 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychological Aspects of Strategic Choice)
PDF [678 KB, uploaded 23 October 2015]


We present a model of boundedly rational play in single-shot 2 × 2 games. Players choose strategies based on the perceived salience of their own payoffs and, if own-payoff salience is uninformative, on the perceived salience of their opponent’s payoffs. When own payoffs are salient, the model’s predictions correspond to those of Level-1 players in a cognitive hierarchy model. When it is the other player’s payoffs that are salient, the predictions of the model correspond to those of traditional game theory. The model provides unique predictions for the entire class of 2 × 2 games. It identifies games where a Nash equilibrium will always occur, ones where it will never occur, and ones where it will occur only for certain payoff values. It also predicts the outcome of games for which there are no pure Nash equilibria. Experimental results supporting these predictions are presented. View Full-Text
Keywords: behavioral game theory; bounded rationality; salience; heuristics behavioral game theory; bounded rationality; salience; heuristics

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Leland, J.W.; Schneider, M. Salience and Strategy Choice in 2 × 2 Games. Games 2015, 6, 521-559.

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