Washington, Apr 29 : When it comes to decision-making, it is often believed that people will act in their own best interests, but according to a new research it is quite the opposite.
The study conducted by psychologists at the Universities of Leicester and Exeter shows that most of us will act in the best interest of our team - often at our own expense.
In the study, the scientists carried out the first systematic tests of team reasoning theories by assessing two well known views of how people behave: that predicts people will act for selfish reasons, that people will act in the best interest of their 'team'.
"We have shown that, in some circumstances, decision makers cooperate in their collective interests rather than following the purely selfish predictions of orthodox game theory," said Professor Andrew Colman, of the University of Leicester School of Psychology, the study's lead researcher.
"We carried out two experiments designed to test classical game theory against theories of team reasoning developed in the 1990s by British game theorists. According to classical game theory, decision makers invariably act in their individual self-interest, leading to "Nash equilibrium", named after the US game theorist and Nobel laureate John Nash, depicted in the biopic A Beautiful Mind.
"Theories of team reasoning were developed to explain why, in some circumstances, people seem to act not in their individual self-interest but in the interest of their families, companies, departments, or the religious, ethnic, or national groups with which they identify themselves," he added.
Colman said: "Team reasoning is a familiar process, but it is inexplicable within the framework of orthodox game theory. Our findings show for the first time that it predicts decision making more powerfully than orthodox game theory in some games."
The study is published in the journal Acta Psychologica.