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Gaming Romantic Relationships

Romantic relationships can be represented as a game between two agents, a man, and a woman. Unlike my referenced article, there are two payout matrices: scenario 1, which applies only when both parties are happy, and scenario 2, when either agent dislikes the other. The two pay out matrices are shown below.

Scenario 1

Man Shows Interest

Man Shows Disinterest

Woman shows Interest

2,2

-1,1

Woman Shows Disinterest

1, -1

0,0

Scenario 2

Man Shows Interest

Man Shows Disinterest

Woman Shows Interest

1, 1

-1,2

Woman Shows Disinterest

2, -1

0,0

People who seek relationships all seek the top left corner nash equilibria of scenario 1 — the mutually interested and happy state. However, it is inevitable that hiccups occur throughout the course of a relationship.

While two people are dating, they begin in the mutually interested cell of scenario 1. Both people’s payouts are maximized. However, when the relationship sours, the payout matrix shifts to scenario 2, in which each party can gain more utility by playing the disinterested strategy. Despite the fact that mutual interest is still preferred over mutual disinterest, mutual interest is no longer the nash equilibrium. While the other agent is still interested, it becomes beneficial to show disinterest, as this can prevent emotional damage. However, when this occurs, it is beneficial for the other party to mirror the disinterest. This ultimate state, in which the man and woman break up, is the new nash equilibrium.

Link: http://gliddofglood.typepad.com/the_glidd_of_glood_blog/2010/04/game-theory-the-prisoners-dilemma-and-romantic-relationships.html

 

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