On Friday October 2, 2015, I successfully defended my PhD thesis entitled “If you know what I mean: Agent-based models for understanding the function of higher-order theory of mind”. This thesis, which I have written under the supervision of Rineke Verbrugge and Bart Verheij, was part of a project on higher-order social reasoning. I studied the evolutionary advantages associated with higher-order social reasoning. Through agent-based simulations, I have identified situations in which individuals can benefit from reasoning at increasingly higher orders of theory of mind.
This webpage shows a number of examples of how reasoning about the goals, beliefs, or intentions of other players in a game can be beneficial. The applets and scripts on this site show how software agents use theory of mind to their advantage, but also allow you to interact with these theory of mind agents directly. For example, competitive games such as rock-paper-scissors or limited bidding show that through theory of mind, you can outwit your opponent. But theory of mind can also help you understand yout partner in cooperative settings such as the tacit communication game. But theory of mind is especially useful in negotiation games such as colored trails, in which there is an opportunity to work together in competition.