Behavioural Economics and Poker

2»

Comments

  • ImperatorImperator Red Chipper Posts: 899 ✭✭✭
    I'm not going to leave this thread behind. For one thing I want to respond to what @colldav has said.

    Right now I want to state one reason why I think Kahneman and Tversky has provided us with a very valuable theory and I will do it by quoting myself in my thread on self-evaluation.
    This is what studying the workings of science and scientific theories has taught me: When we gain knowledge through a scientific theory, one indication that the theory is important and has depth, is that it opens up areas and fields for investigation that we didn't know existed before the theory was tested. In other words gaining knowledge makes us realize how much we don't know. I think this is always true.

    Or to put this thought in high contrast: Gaining knowledge reveals to us the many dimensions of our stupidity.

    I think the value of Tversky & Kahneman is that they have opened up fields of investigation and in so many unexpected ways revealed to us the many dimensions of our stupidity.

    In his introduction to Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman says:
    (I)t is much easier, as well as more enjoyable, to identify and label the mistakes of others than to recognize our own. Questioning what we believe and want is difficult, at the best of times, and especially difficult when we most need to do it, but we can benefit from the informed opinions of others.

    This of course is or, should be, obvious to us all. And if anything, the many prophets of the old testament, used this insight as one of the grounds for their own label of "hypocrisy." The same is true of many of the philosophical and religious insights of the so-called axial age.

    But the value of Tversky and Kahneman is that they were able to give theoretical structure to the obvious.

    (Mis)Labeling Mistakes: But I also want to note a few important points about the Kahneman quote above: We do enjoy identifying the mistakes of others. And we love to put labels on those mistakes. Actually, something that Tversky & Kahneman reveal is that often when we "label" mistakes, we can be correct about the mistakes but still mislabel them, thus leading us and those we criticize into more mistakes.

    Coaching: Self-questioning is very important. It is the most important part of growth and doing it honestly is nearly impossible when you do it in isolation from others. That is whey we need a coach or a mentor. But the process of mistaken labeling of real mistakes is a warning to all coaches and mentors. I know that in my own teaching it is often easier to find the mistakes made by students than it is to discover the origin of those mistakes and then put the proper label on those mistakes.

    And we must be careful when we label anything, because we know from the investigations of Tversky and Kahneman (not to mention the writings on taxonomies by philosophers of science and scientists like Stephen Jay Gould) that the mere act of categorizing something anchors us and primes us. A category is so often a mis-category that we have to be very tenuous in our labels.

    But I want to write a whole post on this last subject, concentrating especially on how we label our opponents.
  • ImperatorImperator Red Chipper Posts: 899 ✭✭✭
    @kagey and @colldav and others:

    I subscribe to many daily email. But one I enjoy most is called Delancey Place. Every weekday they send an excerpt from a book, usually a page or two worth of reading materials. The excerpts are on all topics: science, history, food, culture, etc. I highly recommend that you all subscribe.

    Today's excerpt was called "YOU ARE INFLUENCED IN WAYS YOU DON'T REALIZE" and was about priming.
    Today's selection -- from Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Our memory works in such a way that things that happen to us in one moment influence our behavior after that in ways we don't realize. It is a process psychologists refer to as priming, and it suggests, for example, that adopting positive language and mannerisms can in fact make us more positive:

    "If you have recently seen or heard the word EAT, you are tempo­rarily more likely to complete the word fragment SO_P as SOUP than as SOAP. The opposite would happen, of course, if you had just seen WASH. We call this a priming effect and say that the idea of EAT primes the idea of SOUP, and that WASH primes SOAP.

    "Priming effects take many forms. If the idea of EAT is currently on your mind (whether or not you are conscious of it), you will be quicker than usual to recognize the word SOUP when it is spoken in a whisper or pre­sented in a blurry font. And of course you are primed not only for the idea of soup but also for a multitude of food-related ideas, including fork, hungry, fat, diet, and cookie. ... Like ripples on a pond, activation spreads through a small part of the vast net­work of associated ideas. The mapping of these ripples is now one of the most exciting pursuits in psychological research.

    "Another major advance in our understanding of memory was the dis­covery that priming is not restricted to concepts and words. You cannot know this from conscious experience, of course, but you must accept the alien idea that your actions and your emotions can be primed by events of which you are not even aware. In an experiment that became an instant classic, the psychologist John Bargh and his collaborators asked students at New York University -- most aged eighteen to twenty-two -- to assemble four-word sentences from a set of five words (for example, 'finds he it yel­low instantly'). For one group of students, half the scrambled sentences contained words associated with the elderly, such as Florida, forgetful, bald, gray, or wrinkle. When they had completed that task, the young partici­pants were sent out to do another experiment in an office down the hall. That short walk was what the experiment was about. The researchers unob­trusively measured the time it took people to get from one end of the cor­ridor to the other. As Bargh had predicted, the young people who had fashioned a sentence from words with an elderly theme walked down the hallway significantly more slowly than the others.

    "The 'Florida effect' involves two stages of priming. First, the set of words primes thoughts of old age, though the word old is never mentioned; second, these thoughts prime a behavior, walking slowly, which is associ­ated with old age. All this happens without any awareness. When they were questioned afterward, none of the students reported noticing that the words had had a common theme, and they all insisted that nothing they did after the first experiment could have been influenced by the words they had encountered. The idea of old age had not come to their conscious aware­ness, but their actions had changed nevertheless. This remarkable priming phenomenon-the influencing of an action by the idea -- is known as the ideomotor effect. ...

    "The ideomotor link also works in reverse. A study conducted in a German university was the mirror image of the early experiment that Bargh and his colleagues had carried out in New York. Students were asked to walk around a room for 5 minutes at a rate of 30 steps per minute, which was about one-third their normal pace. After this brief experience, the par­ticipants were much quicker to recognize words related to old age, such as forgetful, old, and lonely. ...

    "Reciprocal links are common in the associative network. For example, being amused tends to make you smile, and smiling tends to make you feel amused. Go ahead and take a pencil, and hold it between your teeth for a few seconds with the eraser pointing to your right and the point to your left. Now hold the pencil so the point is aimed straight in front of you, by purs­ing your lips around the eraser end. You were probably unaware that one of these actions forced your face into a frown and the other into a smile. Col­lege students were asked to rate the humor of cartoons from Gary Larsons The Far Side while holding a pencil in their mouth. Those who were 'smil­ing' (without any awareness of doing so) found the cartoons funnier than did those who were 'frowning.' In another experiment, people whose face was shaped into a frown (by squeezing their eyebrows together) reported an enhanced emotional response to upsetting pictures -- starving children, people arguing, maimed accident victims."


    Thinking, Fast and Slow
    Author: Daniel Kahneman
    Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
    Copyright 2011 by Daniel Kahneman
    Pages: 52-54


    All delanceyplace profits are donated to charity and support children’s literacy projects.

  • porterporter Red Chipper Posts: 315 ✭✭✭
    edited January 2017
    Imperator wrote: »
    Today's selection -- from Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.

    ...

    "Another major advance in our understanding of memory was the dis­covery that priming is not restricted to concepts and words. You cannot know this from conscious experience, of course, but you must accept the alien idea that your actions and your emotions can be primed by events of which you are not even aware. In an experiment that became an instant classic, the psychologist John Bargh and his collaborators asked students at New York University -- most aged eighteen to twenty-two -- to assemble four-word sentences from a set of five words (for example, 'finds he it yel­low instantly'). For one group of students, half the scrambled sentences contained words associated with the elderly, such as Florida, forgetful, bald, gray, or wrinkle. When they had completed that task, the young partici­pants were sent out to do another experiment in an office down the hall. That short walk was what the experiment was about. The researchers unob­trusively measured the time it took people to get from one end of the cor­ridor to the other. As Bargh had predicted, the young people who had fashioned a sentence from words with an elderly theme walked down the hallway significantly more slowly than the others.
    ...

    @Imperator Thanks for the tip re: Delancey Place. I hadn't heard of it but subscribed based on your recommendation.

    I wonder if Kahneman's skepticism about social priming didn't occur until after writing his book. Bargh's elderly-priming study has failed to replicate in recent years.
  • kageykagey Red Chipper, KINGOFTAGS Posts: 2,241 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2017
    in David McRaney. “You Are Not So Smart.”- he talks about Bargh in the priming chapter:
    “In a second experiment, Bargh had participants unscramble sentences that contained words associated with old age, like “retired,” “wrinkled,” and “bingo.” He then clocked participants’ speed as they walked down a hall to an elevator and compared it to the speed they walked when they first strolled in. They took about one to two extra seconds to reach their destination. Just as with the rude-word groups, the old-word groups were primed by the ideas and associations the words created. To be sure this was really a result of priming, Bargh repeated the experiment and got the same results. He ran it a third time with a control group who unscrambled words related to sadness to be sure he hadn’t simply depressed people into walking slower. Once again, the old-age group tottered along the longest.”

    makes me wonder, who's not so smart?...
    the guys publishing studies or the ones believing them?

    thanks for bursting my "priming" bubble, porter!
    I knew it was too good to be true!!

    wonder when @DrTricia is going to stop by....
  • ImperatorImperator Red Chipper Posts: 899 ✭✭✭
    edited January 2017
    porter wrote: »


    I wonder if Kahneman's skepticism about social priming didn't occur until after writing his book. Bargh's elderly-priming study has failed to replicate in recent years.

    Yes, it was after he wrote the book.

    But I don't think that Kahneman has given up on the idea completely. He believes that the idea is not as robust and widespread as experimenter's claim. I think he mainly blames publication bias and the fact that experimenter is are biased towards their own results. This doesn't mean that something like priming doesn't go on. Only claiming that priming can be demonstrated in all situations is something we should be skeptical about.

    How you would use priming in a poker situation is best left to a screenwriter's imagination. It is just best for us to be aware of the power of suggestion in ourselves.
  • The MuleThe Mule Red Chipper Posts: 790 ✭✭✭
    Imperator wrote: »
    In his introduction to Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman says:
    (I)t is much easier, as well as more enjoyable, to identify and label the mistakes of others than to recognize our own. Questioning what we believe and want is difficult, at the best of times, and especially difficult when we most need to do it, but we can benefit from the informed opinions of others.

    This of course is or, should be, obvious to us all. And if anything, the many prophets of the old testament, used this insight as one of the grounds for their own label of "hypocrisy." The same is true of many of the philosophical and religious insights of the so-called axial age.

    But the value of Tversky and Kahneman is that they were able to give theoretical structure to the obvious.

    (Mis)Labeling Mistakes: But I also want to note a few important points about the Kahneman quote above: We do enjoy identifying the mistakes of others. And we love to put labels on those mistakes. Actually, something that Tversky & Kahneman reveal is that often when we "label" mistakes, we can be correct about the mistakes but still mislabel them, thus leading us and those we criticize into more mistakes.

    Coaching: Self-questioning is very important. It is the most important part of growth and doing it honestly is nearly impossible when you do it in isolation from others. That is whey we need a coach or a mentor. But the process of mistaken labeling of real mistakes is a warning to all coaches and mentors. I know that in my own teaching it is often easier to find the mistakes made by students than it is to discover the origin of those mistakes and then put the proper label on those mistakes.

    And we must be careful when we label anything, because we know from the investigations of Tversky and Kahneman (not to mention the writings on taxonomies by philosophers of science and scientists like Stephen Jay Gould) that the mere act of categorizing something anchors us and primes us. A category is so often a mis-category that we have to be very tenuous in our labels.

    But I want to write a whole post on this last subject, concentrating especially on how we label our opponents.

    I think this is a really interesting line - (mis)classifying our opponent's errors can lead to making our own errors. Many times in these forums I've read statements like "villain was a fish so he could have any two cards..." when in fact this was most likely not true.

    Exploiting errors you have observed your opponent making seems uncontroversial. But the value of classification comes from being able to exploit errors you are expecting (based on that classification) but have not observed. Opponent open folded top pair to a check-raise on a wet board ? We might decide to classify our opponent as a nit and therefore extrapolate that they aren't likely to be bluffing much on later streets. The potential value of the assumption compensates for the risk of misclassifying our opponent. Being able to accurately assess this risk/reward tradeoff is a very important skill, and is where the EV is.

    I think stereotyping is another good example - balancing the value of the "information" gained against the risk of an incorrect classification. Not that being of a particular racial or gender group should be considered a mistake...

    Regarding self-classification, I think people tend to label themselves based on their aspirations rather than reality (e.g. "I play a LAG style...). The trouble with having another player (or coach) assess your style is they are looking at it versus the reference point of their own style. I recently swapped hand histories with another Red Chipper. I thought he was too aggressive in many spots, he thought I was too passive... There was some useful discussion and we both ended up somewhere in the middle, and in my opinion much better for it.
  • ImperatorImperator Red Chipper Posts: 899 ✭✭✭
    @colldav, I want you to notice that when I was writing about the "The Experiential as Prime" in games and "The Virtuous Circle" of learning I specifically stayed away from Khaneman's terminology as used in Thinking, Fast and Slow. This is because I have my own way of explaining things as informed from my own experiences and even though I've been informed by studies in the way we think I still heavily rely on philosophers who provide me with a base.

    But in order to answer your questions better I think it might be best if I use Kahneman's own terminology. Because "Fast Thinking" or System 1 and "Slow Thinking" or System 2, is precisely what is at issue when you ask questions such as will "late starters" be capped in their development.
    colldav wrote: »
    I recently swapped hand histories with another Red Chipper. I thought he was too aggressive in many spots, he thought I was too passive... There was some useful discussion and we both ended up somewhere in the middle, and in my opinion much better for it.

    I find that a lot of these questions you ask take a lot of thought and concentration (System 2) and thus I need to set aside the time to think them through. And for me thinking through your questions means (in this context) using my own terms to analyse the concepts and theories of Tversky & Kahneman.

    But here is the most important thing I have to say: When analyzing a cognitive deficit, a skill deficit, or a systematic (cognitive, perceptual, or logical) failure, the most important value we will find is in doing self-analysis. We will get most benefit from self-analysis but self-analysis can only be done with others, for others, and against others. There is no self-analysis in isolation, except possibly with the rare genius.

    The last statement is part of my world-view, a basic belief that I can't prove but none-the-less think is true. I also believe that there is a lot of empirical evidence to support the statement but like many psychological and sociological statement "provability" will always be a problem.

    @kagey and @porter provability will also be a problem in Behavioral Economics. Even though I'm as skeptical as @porter about most experimental results that provide a robust and broad place for priming in everyday life, I also think that priming does exist and that it is not confirmation bias when we observe it in others or when it is pointed out in ourselves.

    At a poker session we cannot go down the rabbit hole of Socratic self-reflection or deep psychological analysis.... but recognizing our own flaws and deficits off the table, and training ourselves, with fellow poker friends and auditors, to understand where and when our own systematic errors occur will have great benefits for our game. This is the major reason I like to think about Behavioral Economics in relation to my game. I think the major collateral benefit of this way of thinking is that recognizing our own systematic errors means that we are able to see them better in others. (But this itself can lead to the systematic error of attributing our own way of thinking to the person we are thinking about.) I call this a collateral benefit but this is not to diminish it. Often in areas of biological or social evolution the collateral benefit of a trait or system becomes more important than the benefit that the original trait or system provided.

    (For dessert 2 examples of that last statement : 1. The benefit of feathers for dinosaurs was probably for both insulation and sexual presentation. The benefit of feathers for our modern dinosaurs, birds, obviously goes beyond this. 2. The immediate benefit provided by the mathematical system of information theory was to enable calculations of channel capacity, to establish the best way to defeat noise on a channel by providing enough redundancy but not too much redundancy, etc. [For, perhaps 30 years Bell Labs, where Claude Shannon and so many others worked, was one of the most interesting places for math and science on Earth!] But the consequences and future uses of information theory has brought developments to physics, decision theory, evolutionary theory, game theory, and of course to the development of modern computers.)


  • Ruxton_AtheistRuxton_Atheist Red Chipper Posts: 152 ✭✭✭
    colldav wrote: »
    What my wife doesn't get about poker

    Needs its own thread.

  • ImperatorImperator Red Chipper Posts: 899 ✭✭✭
    The Sociality Machines and Probability Engines

    This is an excerpt from a review of The Enigma of Reason by Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber. The review is by Elizabeth Kolbert, WHY FACTS DON’T CHANGE OUR MINDS: New discoveries about the human mind show the limitations of reason.
    Stripped of a lot of what might be called cognitive-science-ese, Mercier and Sperber’s argument runs, more or less, as follows: Humans’ biggest advantage over other species is our ability to coöperate. Coöperation is difficult to establish and almost as difficult to sustain. For any individual, freeloading is always the best course of action. Reason developed not to enable us to solve abstract, logical problems or even to help us draw conclusions from unfamiliar data; rather, it developed to resolve the problems posed by living in collaborative groups.

    “Reason is an adaptation to the hypersocial niche humans have evolved for themselves,” Mercier and Sperber write. Habits of mind that seem weird or goofy or just plain dumb from an “intellectualist” point of view prove shrewd when seen from a social “interactionist” perspective.

    I have heard Sperber speak and have read some of his earlier papers. I am generally skeptical, but not dismissive, of thinking from the perspective of evolutionary psychology. But I think I can say that there is something here to contemplate for poker players.

    I think some of the strange dichotomy of "poker thinking" (GTO pay vs. exploitative play; calculation vs psychology; etc.) can be traced back to the fact that most of our cognitive biases can be traced back to the fact that brains are "sociality machines" and not probability engines.

    I think a lot of the emotional heat we feel at the table is because we are read the sociality context (or misread it as-a-status ritual) and can't clear the probabilities or take advantage of misconceptions of the probabilities by others in this context.

  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper Posts: 4,312 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Interesting. The more primal one can lead to the more exalted one, so we can have it both ways.

Leave a Comment

BoldItalicStrikethroughOrdered listUnordered list
Emoji
Image
Align leftAlign centerAlign rightToggle HTML viewToggle full pageToggle lights
Drop image/file