You read my mind: Generating and minimizing intention uncertainty under different social contexts in a 2-player online game

  • Author / Creator
    Ma, Helen L.
  • We investigate an ecologically-pertinent form of social uncertainty regarding the ability to read another’s intentions. We use classic measures (response time, accuracy) and dynamic measures (mouse trajectories) to investigate how people generate or minimize uncertainty regarding their own intentions under different social contexts, and how uncertainty regarding other’s intentions affects decision-making. 96 participants (n=48 dyads) completed a two-player online card game, where the goal was to collect cards with a certain feature (e.g., triangles), with participant cursor movements projected to both players. Participants played six games, three cooperatively and three competitively (Social Decision Context). Points were awarded for two decisions: collecting a card matching one’s goal (ability to achieve personal goal) and correctly guessing the other player’s goal (ability to guess intention). Data revealed: (1) Card scores did not vary with Social Decision Context, (2) Guess scores did vary with Social Decision Context, with more correct guesses when cooperating compared to competing, and (3) Mouse trajectories (durations and mouse distance travelled) decreased when cooperating compared to competing. These results indicate that better guessing during cooperative play is not due to explicit communication (i.e., circling desired cards), but may be due to increased speed and confidence when making decisions in a cooperative context. Additionally, participants could be actively hiding intention in a competitive context. Thus, social uncertainty when reading another's intentions is both adaptive - affected by the prescribed social context, and automatic - indirectly inferred from the way another moves their mouse when acting with intention.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2023
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.