Individual perception dynamics in drunk games

Alberto Antonioni*, Luis A Martinez-Vaquero, Cole Mathis, Leto Peel, Massimo Stella

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We study the effects of individual perceptions of payoffs in two-player games. In particular we consider the setting in which individuals' perceptions of the game are influenced by their previous experiences and outcomes. Accordingly, we introduce a framework based on evolutionary games where individuals have the capacity to perceive their interactions in different ways. Starting from the narrative of social behaviors in a pub as an illustration, we first study the combination of the Prisoner's Dilemma and Harmony Game as two alternative perceptions of the same situation. Considering a selection of game pairs, our results show that the interplay between perception dynamics and game payoffs gives rise to nonlinear phenomena unexpected in each of the games separately, such as catastrophic phase transitions in the cooperation basin of attraction, Hopf bifurcations and cycles of cooperation and defection. Combining analytical techniques with multiagent simulations, we also show how introducing individual perceptions can cause nontrivial dynamical behaviors to emerge, which cannot be obtained by analyzing the system at a macroscopic level. Specifically, initial perception heterogeneities at the microscopic level can yield a polarization effect that is unpredictable at the macroscopic level. This framework opens the door to the exploration of new ways of understanding the link between the emergence of cooperation and individual preferences and perceptions, with potential applications beyond social interactions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number052311
Number of pages12
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Game Theory
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Perception
  • Prisoner Dilemma


Dive into the research topics of 'Individual perception dynamics in drunk games'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this