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Behavioral Mathematics for Game AI by Dave Mark

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7. The Concept of Utility

One thing that was left unsaid in the analysis of the Prisoner’s Dilemma was the reason behind making the decision. Perhaps this is obvious, but the underlying premise is that going to jail was something negative. It is an undesirable end—which is the reason it is considered a “loss.” However, strange as this may sound, it is not a rigidly defined loss condition. Different people may have different beliefs about and weights for the negative aspects of incarceration. For instance, if you were quite certain that your wife would leave you if you were gone for five years but not if you were only gone for six months, it makes the six-month option look a lot better than the joint possibilities of either no time or five years. ...

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