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Modeling Bounded Rationality of Agents During Interactions

Last modified: 2011-08-24

#### Abstract

Frequently, it is advantageous for an agent to model other agents in order to predict their behavior during an interaction. Modeling others as rational has a long tradition in AI and game theory, but modeling other agents’ departures from rationality is difficult and controversial. This paper proposes that bounded rationality be modeled as errors the agent being modeled is making while deciding on its action. We are motivated by the work on quantal response equilibria in behavioral game theory which uses Nash equilibria as the solution concept. In contrast, we use decision-theoretic maximization of expected utility. Quantal response assumes that a decision maker is rational, i.e., is maximizing his expected utility, but only approximately so, with an error rate characterized by a single error parameter. Another agent’s error rate may be unknown and needs to be estimated during an interaction. We show that the error rate of the quantal response can be estimated using Bayesian update of a suitable conjugate prior, and that it has a finitely dimensional sufficient statistic under strong simplifying assumptions. However, if the simplifying assumptions are relaxed, the quantal response does not admit a finite sufficient statistic and a more complex update is needed. This confirms the difficulty of using simple models of bounded rationality in general settings.

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