Are people intuitively good or bad?

Neuroscience perspective into experimental game theory

How do we decide between doing what is good for us and what is good for the community? Are we intuitively selfless or do we need to think in order to make a decision which goes against our self-interest? This question has raised a lot of interest lately, yet generated contradictory results.

Current research assumes that the intuitive decision will take less time. However, without proposing an actual model, we cannot separate the decision which are made intuitively (without thinking) and those in which the thinking processes just did not take a long time, due to a low difficulty of the task or the person’s capacity to quickly process information. Therefore we took a well-established neuroscience model called Drift Diffusion Model, lifted it beyond the scope for which it has been originally developed, showing that it also explains deliberation in strategic decisions, the outcome of which depends on the unknown decision of their opponent. Using this model, we can properly measure the bias people have toward one decision or another and create a new tool with which to address the aforementioned questions.

We now plan to perform a series of experiments where individuals need to decide between the selfish or unselfish decision and using Drift Diffusion Model investigate how different incentives influence the intuition and how does it change from childhood to adulthood. Additionally, we will attempt to expand the model beyond only two choices.


Project Info

Start 01/10/2017

End 31/09/2020

Funding FWO

Members Jelena Grujic