Instructor Insights pages are part of the OCW Educator initiative, which seeks to enhance the value of OCW for educators.
This page focuses on the course 14.11 Insights from Game Theory into Social Behavior as it was taught by Dr. Moshe Hoffman and Dr. Erez Yoeli in Fall 2013.
This course applies insights from game theory to explain human social behavior, focusing on novel applications which have heretofore been the realm of psychologists and philosophers—for example, why people speak indirectly, in what sense beauty is socially constructed, and where our moral intuitions come from—and eschewing traditional economic applications such as industrial organization or auctions.
We will employ standard games such as the prisoner's dilemma, coordination, hawk-dove, and costly signaling, and use standard game theory tools such as Nash Equilibria, Subgame Perfection, and Perfect Bayesian Equilibria.
Course Goals for Students
For students to learn to see the social world through the lens of game theory. By the end of the course, students should have an understanding of experimental methods and evolutionary modeling.
- 14.11 can be applied towards a Bachelor of Science in Economics, but is not required.
- 14.11 is a topics course, and the focus of the course changes from semester to semester.
Typical Student Background
- A mix of majors and ages.
- No background was required. The course involves some math and some programming, but there is lot of help for students who lack experience.
During an average week, students were expected to spend 12 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:
- Met 2 times per week for 1.5 hours per session. 32 sessions total; mandatory attendance.
Out of Class
- Assignments: problem sets, referee report, final project, and extra credit assignment
- The math teaching assistants ran optional review sessions and office hours on Mondays and Wednesdays, for 2 hours per session.
- The social behavior teaching assistants held optional office hours on Wednesdays, for 2 hours per session.
- The lecturers held optional office hours immediately after class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, for 1.5 hours per session.