Game Theory, Drama, & Opera.



A Conference at UCL

6 & 7 July 2010

organized by
Steffen Huck & Sir Peter Jonas





Less than a century after its inception game theory has become the social scientist's toolbox of choice to study human interaction and conflict. Game theory has advanced our understanding of such different topics as warfare, bargaining and trust. Over the last twenty years game theoryhas also increasingly taken on the role of a structural foundation for empirical analysis and, hence, interpretation of observed behaviour. Agents are said to have chosen certain actions because they hold certain preferences and beliefs (which are inferred through the game-theoretic, structural model).
While this machinery has been universally applied to the study of conflicts between real human agents there have been only few attempts to employ it for the understanding of fictional characters in drama or opera. This appears surprising as many plays have structures that can be naturally captured through game theoretic modeling (sequences of actions, information that can be hidden or public, common or conflicting interests, and so on).
This workshop will investigate whether there is indeed scope for game theory as an interpretative toolbox for drama and opera, drawing on examples from the repertoire and illuminating matters like belief and betrayal, or escalation and revenge.
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