The one player guessing game: a diagnosis on the relationship between equilibrium play, beliefs, and best responses

Ciril Bosch-Rosa*, Thomas Meissner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Web of Science)


Experiments involving games have two dimensions of difficulty for subjects in the laboratory. One is understanding the rules and structure of the game and the other is forming beliefs about the behavior of other players. Typically, these two dimensions cannot be disentangled as belief formation crucially depends on the understanding of the game. We present the one-player guessing game, a variation of the two-player guessing game (Grosskopf and Nagel 2008), which turns an otherwise strategic game into an individual decision-making task. The results show that a majority of subjects fail to understand the structure of the game. Moreover, subjects with a better understanding of the structure of the game form more accurate beliefs of other player's choices, and also better-respond to these beliefs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1129-1147
Number of pages19
JournalExperimental Economics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Guessing game
  • Strategic thinking
  • Cognitive sophistication

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