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Game Reveals Strategies for Bargaining

November 20, 2010

A game created by scientists where players knew the value of an object and had to bid for it from sellers who did not know. This means the players can bid the right price or lower – or in some cases go higher, to make a profit by bluff bidding later on. This latter strategy is known as being a ‘strategic deceiver’:

Researchers created a game in which players were given the true value of an object on a scale of 1 to 10. The players used this information to make a bid to the seller of the object, who did not know the true value…The buyers fell into three groups. One group consisted of players who were honest in their price suggestions, making low bids directly related to the true value. A second group, called “conservatives,” made bids only weakly related to the true price. The last and most interesting group, known as “strategic deceivers,” bid higher when the true price was low, and then when the true price was high, they bid low, and collected large gains…strategic deceivers had unique brain activity in regions connected to complex decision-making, goal maintenance and understanding another person’s belief system. Though the game was abstract, there are real-life advantages to being a strategic deceiver…It’s used to bargain in a marketplace or in a store but also to recruit someone for a job, or to negotiate a higher salary.

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