The Game Theorist’s Guide To Parenting

Game theory is defined as an analysis of a situation where the outcome of a person’s decision not only depends on their choices, but also on the choices of other people they interact with. In today’s modern society, game theory is applied in numerous diverse situations. For example, in the article published by Carnegie Mellon University elaborates on a new book written by author Kevin Zollman and his co-author Paul Raeburn. Both authors claim that the concept of game theory can be applied toward parenting. They explain that parents can use the science of game theory as a “strategic way of thinking to keep peace with their kids.” Each chapter contains different case studies that address “development stages, starting at age 5 and counting through the teens”. Many of these case studies illustrate game theory concepts like the Prisoner’s Dilemma and behavioral economics.

When using the strategy of game theory, kids can learn to establish their own fair agreements. For instance, during the ages 7 or 8 “children’s sense of fairness solidifies.” In other words, kids tend to grasp the concept of “he got more than me” sooner than “I got more than him.” This “concept of fairness lies” at the root of many disagreements between siblings, particularly when it involves materialistic items. For example, “two kids might want to be first to try out a new video game.” In using strategies like a coin toss or the game of rock, paper, scissor, and one runs the risk that the older child might take advantage of their younger siblings. In situations, like this Game theorists recommend to use the strategy of auctions, “to fairly divide a first time” of a situation. When using the auction system, kids are “expected to announce how much they will be willing to “pay” for an item or experience. ” A suggested form of payment would involve different forms of chores. Overall, according to this article game theory empowers children to take ownership for their own decisions.