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Tit-for-Tat, Game Theory and Life Coaching

Merging Creative, Innovative, Intuitive, and Critical Thinking to Solve Problems and Personal Development

Helping people to create better lives through efficiency, effectiveness, precision, self-awareness, Eastern Wisdom and game-based strategies

Q. I’m interested in the concept of compassion, revenge, and tit-for-tat behavior in Harrison’s Applied Game Theory.

A. This a repeat of an earlier blog that many have requested I republish. So here it is. To begin, game theory is a way of determining the best choices available to you based on what the likely behavior will be of others that you must interact with. It is an important tool for decision making, problem-solving, and even predicting future events.
One of the most common concepts used in Harrison’s Applied Game Theory, my approach to these ideas is known as Tit-for-tat. This is how it works.
Often times a player must continue in a cooperative relationship with a cheater or another player who doesn’t reciprocate the way it was assumed they would. In such a situation a skilled player must strategize to maintain the reciprocal relationship while making sure they receive the future benefits they are expecting or deserve. Such a strategy is known as Tit-for-tat*. Tit-for-tat Theory describes a type of reciprocal altruism where an agent (an individual, group, player or some other living creature) will initially cooperate, then respond in kind to another’s previous action whether such behavior is cooperative or uncooperative. A skilled game thinker will describe this in specialized game language as a “game-theory mechanism which is subject to a payoff matrix similar to that of a prisoner’s dilemma.”
Let’s explore this game language description in greater depth. In a game where there can be more than one winner, it may be said that the participants in a Tit-for-tat process are partners in a mutually beneficial process. In Tit-for-tat behavior, there is an assumption that the players (agents) in the game (interaction) will be mutually – sometimes alternately — cooperative. Here are a few thoughts to consider when exploring this concept:
• In a particular point in a game, one of the players (known as parties or agents) in the interaction may cease to act in a cooperative manner.
• When this lack of cooperation is discovered, the other player (agent) will cease cooperating as well.

This concept of Tit-for-tat is not limited to humans but exists in the plant and animal kingdom as well. It is often studied in the field of evolutionary biology. With humans, Tit-for-tat behavior is also known as “super-rationality” in biology, zoology and other related disciplines.
In a way Tit-for-tat is nothing more than “equivalent retaliation*” an idea first introduced by Anatol Rapoport and Robert Axelrod around 1980.
There are four key elements that make Tit-for-tat so effective in social relationships; and in both cooperative and uncooperative games. This is especially so in relationships where competition and hierarchal behavior is involved.
1. The opposing player automatically cooperates unless provoked.
2. When provoked, the player retaliates.
3. Once they have retaliated the player quickly forgives and returns to a cooperative relationship.
4. A player must have a good chance of cooperating again with the other player. The player must have a good chance of competing against the same opponent several times in order for the process to continue successfully.
Here is an interesting article on game theory sent to me by Stephanie Swafford a human potential leader and Polarity Therapy Practitioner and Teacher based n NYC.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-country-has-lost-its-mind-its-time-for-some-game-theory/2018/06/12/f8863076-6e77-11e8-bd50-b80389a4e569_story.html
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For those seeking to be more effective, efficient, precise, productive, and self-aware through game-based thinking, and Harrison’s Applied Game Theory (HAGT) I offer coaching, mentoring, online courses, and private seminars on the subject.

I also write about different types of knowledge in my book “Harrison’s Applied Game Theory: How to Solve Any Problem Effortlessly”.

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For a more in-depth exploration of these ideas and to financially support my not-for profit work through “Ask Lewis” at the International Association of Healing Professionals just click on the donate button at the top of the page.

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Lewis Harrison is an independent scholar on personal growth and human potential. He Coaches private clients in peak performance, transformation, and success coach.
He also teaches workshops and seminars on Eastern Wisdom, Zen and Taoist Thought, Applied Game Theory, and Personal Growth and is the senior guide at Lewis Harrison’s Transmodern Shaman Academy

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If you have an interest in having a basic understanding of Applied Game Theory (and you need to) here is an interview I did with James Selman, a pioneer and innovator in Leadership research.

Just click below to watch the entire interview.

Listen here as Lewis explain the RealUGuru Project and how we can give up unnecessary struggle through visionary thinking in this insightful interview with award winning journalist Phyllis Haynes about the RealUGuru Project

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