Negative Feedbacks Evokes Faster Decision Making in Rock, Paper, Scissors

Negative Feedbacks Evokes Faster Decision Making in Rock, Paper, Scissors


Decisions made by individuals depend on their negative or positive outcomes from previous experiences. How fast or slow these decisions are made also depends on the negative or positive result, which this report will investigate. The rationale for conducting such an experiment was to find out if negative feedbacks have a faster and positive impact on decisions made by an individual and then help in knowing how the long-term memory can benefit from such repeated outcomes. The experiment involved online gaming involving fifty – two participants who played a Rock, Paper, Scissor game with a computer opponent, with the results showing that after three trials, the participants were able to record high scores in terms of wins (Av =  18.3)compared to loses (Av = 16) and failures (Av = 14.6). These findings agree with previous research on the negative outcome and irrational decision-making described in the introduction section. The method and results section shows the procedure and outcome of these findings, while the discussion bit interprets the results.

Negative Feedbacks Evokes Faster Decision Making in Rock, Paper, Scissors


Using RPS (Rock, paper, and Scissors), humans can predict how decisions are made rationally in comparison to their actual performance. Here, a balance is created when engaging a computerized opponent, and the outcome becomes a trend in which selected results can be adopted in a mixed–strategy equilibrium way. Such a system represents an essential pedigree for assessing rational and fast decision-making in varying species. Three choices are unveiled in such setting in form of Rock, paper or scissors with the winner or loser measured by the rule that Rock wins over scissors when scissors are blunted, paper wins over Rock when Rock is covered and scissors win over paper when paper is cut. A good example of such can be seen in the experimental article “Negative outcomes evoke cyclic irrational decisions in Rock, Paper, Scissors” which carried out test using trial n item selection outcomes in which RPS was employed (Dyson et al., 2016). At the end of the experiment, the results correlated with the hypothesis of the experiment that negative outcomes indeed evoke cyclic irrational decisions. This was backed up by another experiment Cover painting simulations influence Aesthetic Appreciation of Artworks to try and answer how art creates aesthetic pleasure (Leder et al., 2012). These two experiments agree with the fact that decisions either rational or irrational, can be influenced by outcome, which can be positive or negative. Indeed negative feedback affects faster decision-making in rapid, paper and scissors, something that this lab report tested to justify with the results agreeing with this hypothesis.



Fifty-two participants (32 males, 20 females, mean age = 24) randomly selected from the Ryerson University were randomly selected to participate in the study. All the participants were right hand, sound mind and with no disability and none was excluded until the end of the study. The Research Ethics Board of Ryerson University approved the study. Before the start of the study, informed consent was obtained from all the participants with tokenism given at the end of participation.

Stimuli and Apparatus

The study involved an online gaming where the participants took part in 100 round of RPS with a computer opponent in line with mixed – strategy equilibrium and therefore there were no physical materials used other than pen and paper used to record the data obtained. Instead, downloaded visual representation of hand making Rock, paper and scissors sourced from the internet were openly shown to the participants. Guidelines issued by Psyscope (Cohen, Mac Whinney, Flatt & Provost, 1993) and response recorded by Psyscope Button Box.


Repeated measure was used where participants were taken through the each condition in the game with 100 rounds played in blocks of four each at 25.


This was randomly done by the computer, which played Rock, paper and Scissors. Three buttons of Rock, Paper and Scissors were to only be pressed once at intervals once Go signal had been shown. On the left of the computer screen was displayed the computers selection while the right had the participants selection. After a checking period of about 100 ms, the results were provided showing if the participant has won, lost or drawn. Each participant had an opportunity of three trials in a random order between RPS and the results recorded once the final check was done.


Descriptive Statistics

Out of the fifty – two participants, 8 won the game against the computer, 28 lost the game against the computer while 16 drew with the computer in the first trial. In the second trial, 15 wins, 21 losses, and 16 draws were recorded, while in the third, final trial, 32 wins, 8 loses, and 12 draws were recorded. On average, the first trial had a large number of losses compared to the two last trials. In addition, wins in the last two trials show anan increasing pattern while loses and draws show a declining trend.

Inferential Statistics

The data above was then statistically analyzed in tabular and graphical format.

         Win               Loss              Draw
Trial 1           8                 28                 16
Trial 2          15                 21                 16
Trial 3          32                  8                 12
Average           18.3                 16                 14.6


From the results, it is clear that negative feedback evokes faster decision making in Rock, Paper, and Scissor therefore supporting the evidence laid out in this report. From the onset in trial 1, the participants had a difficult time in winning the game against the computer opponent, the second and third trial gave them an opportunity to turn the results around and surprising they were able to defeat the computer opponent on several occasions. This can only be the case once they have negatively been affected by the result, and as they play more, their long-term memory is able to adjust and know the tricks to use to win their game. The findings agree with other two previous studies used as a reference in this report since the decisions that the participants made after the first trial were fueled by negative outcomes in the first trial. Finally, if the study were to be done again, physical other hand online or computer participation would be encouraged to get real – time picture of the participant’s reactions. Here, I would use a handmade Rock, Paper and Scissors model and not make the study flawed due to power interruptions; hence, the future study can adjust these results for their own assessment.


Dyson, B. J., Wilbiks, J. M. P., Sandhu, R., Papanicolaou, G., & Lintag, J. (2016). Negative outcomes evoke cyclic irrational decisions in Rock, Paper, Scissors. Scientific reports6(1), 1-6.

Leder, H., Bär, S., & Topolinski, S. (2012). Covert painting simulations influence aesthetic appreciation of artworks. Psychological Science23(12), 1479-1481.




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