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On Apparent Irrational Behaviors: Interacting Structures and the Mind

Pierre Gosselin (), Aïleen Lotz () and Marc Wambst ()
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Marc Wambst: IRMA - Institut de Recherche Mathématique Avancée - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UNISTRA - Université de Strasbourg

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Abstract: We develop a general method to solve models of interactions between multiple and possibly strategic agents. Our model explains apparently irrational or biased behaviors in a person. We argue that these actions could result from several rational structures having different goals. Our main example is a model of three agents, "conscious", "unconscious", and "body". Our main result states that, for an agent whose unconscious and conscious goals differ, the unconscious may influence the conscious, either directly or indirectly, via a third agent, the body. This three-agent model describes behaviors such as craving, exces- sive smoking, or sleepiness, to delay or dismiss a task. One of the main result shows that the unconscious' strategic action crucially depends on whether the conscious' actions are complementary in time. When complementary, and if the conscious is not sensitive to un- conscious' messages, the unconscious may drive the conscious towards its goals by blurring physical needs. When not complementary, the unconscious may more easily reach his goal by influencing the conscious, be it directly or indirectly.

Keywords: choices and preferences; multi-rationality; consis- tency; dual agent; conscious and unconscious; rationality; multi-agent model (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013-08-13
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-evo and nep-mic
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