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Schelling's Game TheoryHow to Make Decisions$
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Robert V. Dodge

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199857203

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199857203.001.0001

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(p.94) Chapter 8 Self-Command
Schelling's Game Theory


Oxford University Press

This chapter is concerned with tactics for controlling undesired behavior, such as overeating, smoking, excess drinking, use of recreational drugs, lack of motivation to exercise, and restrain from scratching. It is about Schelling's concept of the “divided self” and having the rational self of the present treat the untrustworthy self of the future as a different person, and the use of strategies such as commitments, threats, and promises to constrain or promote desired behavior. An addiction clinic, where patients submit an incriminating letter that will be released if they violate the terms of their residence, is discussed and illustrated with a 2 × 2 matrix. Numerous tactics one can employ in different situations are presented. An ethical/legal issue is raised for a situation wherein a person has given strict instructions to avoid whatever she says later, then subsequently gives contrary instructions over which is the real “self.” While that is not simple, many of the tactics introduced from Schelling's work offer helpful ways of controlling unwanted behavior or preventing one from behaving in a way that one will regret.

Keywords:   self-control, behavior management, divided self, planning, restraint

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