Complex Systems and Biological Physics Seminars

Physics of the rock-paper-scissors game

by 周海军 Hai-Jun Zhou (Institute of Theoretical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences)



Rock–Paper–Scissors (RPS) is a game of cyclic dominance, and it is also a basic model system for studying decision-making in non-cooperative strategic interactions. We performed large-scale laboratory experiment on the RPS game and observed population-level persistent cyclic motions. This collective behavior contradicts with the NE theory but is quantitatively explained, without any adjustable parameter, by a microscopic model of win-lose-tie conditional response. Our work demonstrates the feasibility of understanding human competition behaviors from the angle of non-equilibrium statistical physics. I will also discuss the possibility of reaching maximal cooperation in a two-player iterated RPS.

This talk is for a broad audience, primarily MSc students, but is open to as many as there will be space for in the lecture room. Work of the speaker on the topic has been published in Scientific Reports vol 4, 5830 (2014).