Game theory is a branch of mathematics that deals with decision-making in situations where two or more parties are involved. It has been used in various fields such as economics, political science, and psychology to study human behavior in strategic situations. While game theory has been successful in explaining many real-world phenomena, it also faces several problems and criticisms.

The Assumption of Rationality

One of the primary assumptions of game theory is that players are rational and will always choose the best strategy to maximize their utility. However, this assumption does not always hold true in real-life situations.

People may have limited information or cognitive biases that prevent them from making optimal decisions. For example, in a prisoner’s dilemma game, both players would benefit if they cooperate with each other, but they may choose to defect because they fear retaliation or distrust the other player.

The Lack of Empirical Evidence

Another problem with game theory is the lack of empirical evidence to support its predictions. Many game theoretic models rely on simplifying assumptions and abstract concepts that do not reflect the complexities of real-world situations. Moreover, it is often difficult to test these models in controlled experiments because it is challenging to create scenarios that mimic real-life situations accurately.

The Assumption of Perfect Information

Game theory assumes that all players have perfect information about the game, which means they know the rules, payoffs, and strategies available to them and their opponents. However, this assumption does not hold true in many situations where there is incomplete or asymmetric information. For example, in a negotiation between two parties, one party may have more information about the value of a particular asset than the other party.

The Difficulty in Predicting Human Behavior

Human behavior is often unpredictable and irrational, which makes it challenging to predict outcomes accurately using game theory. While game theorists have developed sophisticated models to account for different types of behavior, it is still difficult to predict how humans will behave in complex situations. Moreover, human behavior can change over time and may not be stable across different cultures and contexts.

The Criticism of Self-Interest

Game theory assumes that players are motivated by self-interest and will always choose the strategy that maximizes their payoff. However, this assumption has been criticized for ignoring other factors that may influence human behavior, such as altruism, fairness, and social norms. For example, people may choose to cooperate with others because they believe it is the right thing to do or because they want to maintain a good reputation.


In conclusion, game theory has several problems and criticisms that need to be addressed. While it has been successful in explaining many real-world phenomena, its assumptions of rationality and perfect information often do not hold true in complex situations.

Moreover, the lack of empirical evidence and the difficulty in predicting human behavior make it challenging to apply game theory in practice. Nevertheless, game theory remains a valuable tool for understanding strategic interactions between individuals and groups.