chapter  7
24 Pages

Ancestral Emotions, Current Decisions: Using Evolutionary Game Theory to Explore the Role of Emotions in Decision Making

If there was only one best strategy for every real-world decision problem, policy making would be easy. Policymakers could simply dispatch game theorists to model each decision problem as a strategic game and then locate the one strategy that leads to the greatest payoff. The task of policymakers would then be to determine how best to implement these singularly best strategies in the real world. Unfortunately, we do not live in such a world. Instead we live in a complex and noisy world where many different strategies (not just one) can succeed and where numerous other strategies are fraught with peril. Fortunately, evolutionary game theory can provide us with valuable tools for identifying strategies that might fare well in these sorts of environments. The current chapter explores how several of these game theoretic tools-the folk theorem and the concept of frequency dependent selection-can help decision theorists and policy makers to appreciate that there are often multiple paths to success in many real-world decision problems. Along these lines, it is proposed that the concept of emotion will be particularly useful to decision theorists and policymakers who wish to understand why not all strategists adopt the same strategy.