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The Emotional Moves of a Rational Actor: Smiles, Scowls, and Other Credible Messages

1
Department of Psychiatry, McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA 02478, USA
2
Department of Political Science, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Roman Sheremeta and Eric Schniter
Games 2017, 8(2), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/g8020018
Received: 21 January 2017 / Revised: 23 March 2017 / Accepted: 28 March 2017 / Published: 31 March 2017
Many scholars turn to emotions to understand irrational behavior. We do the opposite: we turn to rationality and game theory to understand people’s emotions. We discuss a striking theory of emotions that began with the game theory of credible threats and promises, then was enriched by evolutionary biology and psychology, and now is being tested in psychological experiments. We review some of these experiments which use economic games to set up strategic situations with real payoffs. The experiments test whether a player’s emotional expressions lend credibility to promises, threats, and claims of danger or hardship. The results offer insights into the hidden strategies behind a warm smile, an angry scowl, a look of terror, and eyes of despair. View Full-Text
Keywords: emotion; game theory; facial expression; commitment; signaling emotion; game theory; facial expression; commitment; signaling
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MDPI and ACS Style

Reed, L.I.; DeScioli, P. The Emotional Moves of a Rational Actor: Smiles, Scowls, and Other Credible Messages. Games 2017, 8, 18. https://doi.org/10.3390/g8020018

AMA Style

Reed LI, DeScioli P. The Emotional Moves of a Rational Actor: Smiles, Scowls, and Other Credible Messages. Games. 2017; 8(2):18. https://doi.org/10.3390/g8020018

Chicago/Turabian Style

Reed, Lawrence I., and Peter DeScioli. 2017. "The Emotional Moves of a Rational Actor: Smiles, Scowls, and Other Credible Messages" Games 8, no. 2: 18. https://doi.org/10.3390/g8020018

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