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Signaling equilibria in sensorimotor interactions




Although complex forms of communication like human language are often assumed to have evolved out of more simple forms of sensorimotor signaling, less attention has been devoted to investigate the latter. Here, we study communicative sensorimotor behavior of humans in a two-person joint motor task where each player controls one dimension of a planar motion. We designed this joint task as a game where one player (the sender) possesses private information about a hidden target the other player (the receiver) wants to know about, and where the sender's actions are costly signals that influence the receiver's control strategy. We developed a game-theoretic model within the framework of signaling games to investigate whether subjects' behavior could be adequately described by the corresponding equilibrium solutions. The model predicts both separating and pooling equilibria, in which signaling does and does not occur respectively. We observed both kinds of equilibria in subjects and found that, in line with model predictions, the propensity of signaling decreased with increasing signaling costs and decreasing uncertainty on the part of the receiver. Our study demonstrates that signaling games, which have previously been applied to economic decision-making and animal communication, provide a framework for human signaling behavior arising during sensorimotor interactions in continuous and dynamic environments.

Author(s): Leibfried, F and Grau-Moya, J and Braun, DA
Journal: Cognition
Volume: 141
Pages: 73-86
Year: 2015
Month: August

Department(s): Empirical Inference
Bibtex Type: Article (article)

DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2015.03.008


  title = {Signaling equilibria in sensorimotor interactions},
  author = {Leibfried, F and Grau-Moya, J and Braun, DA},
  journal = {Cognition},
  volume = {141},
  pages = {73-86},
  month = aug,
  year = {2015},
  month_numeric = {8}