Response to Information

  • Dirk Helbing
Part of the Understanding Complex Systems book series (UCS)


The coordinated and efficient distribution of limited resources by individual decisions is a fundamental and unsolved problem. When individuals compete for road capacities, time, space, money, etc., they normally take decisions based on aggregate rather than complete information, such as TV news or stock market indices. The resulting volatile decision dynamics and decision distribution are often far from being optimal. By means of experiments, we have identified ways of information presentation that can considerably improve the overall performance of the system. We also present a stochastic behavioral description allowing us to determine optimal strategies of decision guidance by means of user-specific recommendations. These strategies manage to increase the adaptability to changing returns (payoffs) and to reduce the deviation from the time-dependent user equilibrium, thereby enhancing the average and individual outcomes. Hence, our guidance strategies can increase the performance of all users by reducing overreaction and stabilizing the decision dynamics. Our results are significant for predicting decision behavior, for reaching optimal behavioral distributions by decision support systems, and for information service providers. One of the promising fields of application is traffic optimization.


Test Person Route Choice User Equilibrium Decision Behavior Stock Market Index 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was partially supported by the ALTANA-Quandt foundation. The author wants to thank Prof. Aruka, Prof. Selten, and Prof. Schreckenberg for their invitations and fruitful discussions, Prof. Kondor and Dr. Schadschneider for inspiring comments, Tilo Grigat for preparing some of the illustrations, Martin Schönhof and Daniel Kern for their help in setting up and carrying out the decision experiments, and the test persons for their patience and ambitious playing until the end of our experiments. Hints regarding manuscript-related references are very much appreciated.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dirk Helbing
    • 1
  1. 1.CLU E1ETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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