Achieving optimal collaboration when goals conflict

December 12, 2019

New research suggests that, when two people must work together on a physical task despite conflicting goals, the amount of information available about each other's actions influences how quickly and optimally they learn to collaborate. Vinil Chackochan and Vittorio Sanguineti of the University of Genoa, Italy, present these findings in PLOS Computational Biology.

Most previous research into humans' ability to coordinate actions with others has addressed situations in which two people share a common goal, such as transporting a load or operating a tool. Much more often, people's goals conflict, and they must figure out how to collaborate. However, few studies have explored such situations.

For the new study, Chackochan and Sanguineti designed an experimental task in which two participants are assigned to perform different, competing sets of movements using the same mechanical apparatus at the same time. They also used Bayesian statistics and differential game theory to design a computational model that simulates similar partner situations.

Analysis of the experimental results and simulations revealed that, when one has more information about how a partner reacts to one's actions, collaboration is achieved more quickly, and one tends to develop optimal interaction strategies similar to those predicted by game theory. In contrast, with less information about one's partner, a person develops strategies that minimize the need for that information.

The findings provide new insights on the minimal computational machinery needed for stable physical collaboration. Understanding the mechanisms that underlie these kinds of human-human interactions could aid development of robots that can interact with people in a more natural, human-like fashion.

"Game theory has had a huge impact in many fields, including economics, political science, linguistics, operations research, and more," Chackochan says. "Application of game theory in human joint action may have far-reaching potential, especially in the area of human-robot interaction."

Next, the researchers plan to explore how people achieve and represent knowledge about a partner's ongoing actions and goals. They also aim to work towards development of a bio-inspired virtual agent with built-in collaborative capabilities.
-end-
Peer-reviewed; Experimental study; People

In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available article in PLOS Computational Biology: https://journals.plos.org/ploscompbiol/article?id=10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006385

Citation: Chackochan VT, Sanguineti V (2019) Incomplete information about the partner affects the development of collaborative strategies in joint action. PLoS Comput Biol 15(12): e1006385. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006385

Funding: The work is partly supported by a grant (ModuLimb) from the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) - Research Projects of National Interest (PRIN). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

PLOS

Related Game Theory Articles from Brightsurf:

Head in the game
Researchers at the University of Tsukuba find that blind soccer players rotate their heads downward when trapping an incoming pass.

Secrets behind "Game of Thrones" unveiled by data science and network theory
What are the secrets behind one of the most successful fantasy series of all time?

A memory game could help us understand brain injury
A Boston University team created a memory game for mice in order to examine the function of two different brain areas that process information about the sensation of touch and the memory of previous events.

Is video game addiction real?
A recent six-year study, the longest study ever done on video game addiction, found that about 90% of gamers do not play in a way that is harmful or causes negative long-term consequences.

Game theory suggests more efficient cancer therapy
Cornell mathematicians are using game theory to model how this competition could be leveraged, so cancer treatment -- which also takes a toll on the patient's body -- might be administered more sparingly, with maximized effect.

Kids eat more calories in post-game snacks than they burn during the game
A new study led by Brigham Young University public health researchers finds the number of calories kids consume from post-game snacks far exceeds the number of calories they actually burn playing in the game.

Can exercise improve video game performance?
Time spent playing video games is often seen as time stolen from physical activities.

APS tip sheet: Dark matter's galactic emissions and game theory of vaccination
The APS Tip Sheet highlights noteworthy research recently published in the Physical Review Journals.

Get your game face on: Study finds it may help
Could putting on a serious face in preparation for competition actually impact performance?

Researchers use game theory to successfully identify bacterial antibiotic resistance
Washington State University researchers have developed a novel way to identify previously unrecognized antibiotic-resistance genes in bacteria.

Read More: Game Theory News and Game Theory Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.