Friday, October 18, 2013

Sunk Cost Effect and Benchmarks

Observing my players, myself, everyone I play with is one of my favorite parts of RPGaming. I admire those players who really RP their decision making and really taking on those cogntive biases that are interesting in story telling and having the discipline to overcome the cognitive biases that occure during the game that challenge their problem solving ability.

I've only experienced "Rage-Quit" once in a game, and it startled me a bit. Typically when one is frustrated with the GM people bare it and are polite until they have to leave never to come back again, but I was surprised by the Rage-Quit. I've had friends who tell story of Mastubatory GMs who exhibition their GM-Character and NPCs and completely make the other players an audience to flaunt their imaginary Ding Dong as Huge as they can possibly "creatively" narrate it and STILL these players would bare, laugh, look at each other (knowing they had the same bad feeling) and wait till the game is over never to invite the GM ever again. Thats my experience and those I know of Terrible GMs, nice GMs that challenge us and we were getting challenged (and it was getting exciting) only for someone to Rage-Quit was bizzare for me and for everyone else at the table.

Why Sunk Cost effect and Benchmarks. I realized that Sunk Cost effect is what makes missing an Attack regretful more than the failure in itself. Hyperbolic Discounting makes you want Utility NOW, but Sunk Cost effect makes you regret or get frustrated with every failure.

Recently my players reminded me of how calm and progressive they can be about problem solving. They didn't let set backs hold them down. They didn't feel as bad as a normally-emotion-regulating person has when a setback hindering them. They did well under pressure, they had some mistakes, but these mistakes took advantage of Background NOISE.

One of the things that make SCE(sunkcost effect) bad is having nothing but the unknown to deepen the regret and frustration of having failed. Age and experience, gives us benchmarks that tell us how many opportunities we will have in a given situation and it allows us to overcome this bias.

RPGaming is a great way to explore those emotions (LOLz Dr Phil!) and experience them more and more, until hopefully we learn from them and improve decision making skills.

When one of my GM's basically "reset" the adventure I admit I was a bit frustrated. Being out maneuvered was something I hated as any armchair Strategist and it threw all those Social engineering books i've studied both in military and psychology papers (and i real life business work) at my face because I failed to call on all those real world lessons I'm supposed to have (with a character who could execute it even if he was a cripple). I felt helpless when I could not problem solve my way in that one and I didn't know how to proceed without overwhelming the GM with my geek nerd-on with a barrage of questions and possibly spoiling the game for other people as I occupied the GMs time.**

Still, emotion regulation and overcoming bias should be instinctual. The set back is a set back, and my character was from a Failing Dynasty, such set backs is nothing when you've lost more than a ship you barely had a stake in. Still it also meant, he had more influence over the matter, etc. etc... All the cognitive gears should be turning and turning each other and VIOLA I don't feel bad anymore. I felt bad, but not any more and an open mind is the only frame-set that can see opportunities.

So i have to be optimistic, while some of my allies can be the conservative ones to reign in and challenge the optimistic strategy and hopefully we find Truth in between our perspectives. Vice versa if someone else is being optimistic, and its natural to reign in each other in a problem solving exercise. The Apolo 13 case study on problem solving is an inspiration of how the flow and participation could be for an RPG. 

**I will simply just talk to my party mates about my plans, and the objectives. They are free to take it, leave it or critique it, and also wing it (no plan survives intact). Nothing special or special rules needed, just basic REAL WORLD communication skills.

I should talk about how much and why I like BACKGROUND NOISE in decision making process. How it enhances and exercises the imaginative mind and why I seek it in the game, and don't mind it when the GM gives confusing signals (they should IMO) etc... I can have a whole post all about Noise.
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