University of Hertfordshire

The relevance of Nash equilibrium to psychiatric disorders

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-58
Number of pages14
JournalTheoretical Medicine and Bioethics
Publication statusPublished - 2011


In game theory, the word 'game' is used to describe any interdependence between interacting parties, and the Nash equilibrium is a prominent tool for analysing such interactions. I argue that the concept of the Nash equilibrium may also be used in non-gaming contexts. An individual is in a Nash equilibrium if his or her beliefs are consistent with his or her actions. Given that discordance between beliefs and behaviour is a typical cause of psychiatric disorders, individuals who are not in a Nash equilibrium are likely to be affected by such disorders. In this regard, the concept of the Nash equilibrium could aptly be introduced into the medical practitioner's vocabulary for describing a patient's mental health status.

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