“Street Smarts” as Applied Game Theory

I have a bias against people who are into game theory because I associate it with the rationalist movement, but I’ve realized I’m constantly applying concepts from it to my own behavior as a matter of survival. I’ve just hardly read up on the subject because my use cases all fall into what one would consider “street smarts.”

An example of one of the most common scenarios I try to cultivate is reaching a Nash equilibrium except where the other party still assumes the interaction is adversarial and burns themselves out oscillating around it. I’m not sure if there’s a technical term for that.

Part of this is that I have an amazing poker face, except it’s hard to call it that when it applies universally. This is useful in situations like cohabitation where most people are used to being able to let their guard down. It’s clearly a learned behavior, partially not letting people get a reaction out of you when that’s what they’re seeking and partially defying stereotypes of being overly emotional.

I’ve never been able to apply any of this to actual games. Then again, I’ve hardly tried because seeking out contrived conflict doesn’t appeal to me. I wonder if I’d be able to or whether the dynamics are too different inside of a frame that demarcates the interaction from the parts of people’s lives and psychology I’m used to dealing with.

I’d like to give it a try, but am not sure where to start. According to gambling experts, I’d probably be best at sports betting except I rarely enjoy watching sports. I suppose prediction markets are fairly similar, but the time horizon is quite long so I’m not sure I’ll stay engaged. I signed up for Good Judgment Open, but I probably won’t have an accurate Brier score for the better part of a year assuming I stick with it and do the research required.

GJOpen is also fundamentally flawed because it motivates you to lower your score in order to be engaged with it at all. Since you can choose the number of forecasts you make, clearly the best strategy is a contrarian one: only answer when you have a strong edge and large payoff. But then you’d spend nearly all your time screening questions out rather than actually answering them, which drains all the fun from it plus likely would allow anyone to invalidate your score by claiming the sample size is too low.