A study of human behavior in online voting

Maor Tal, Reshef Meir, Ya'akov Gal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Plurality voting is perhaps the most commonly used way to aggregate the preferences of multiple voters. The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive study of people's voting behaviour in various online settings under the Plurality rule. Our empirical methodology consisted of a voting game in which participants vote for a single candidate out of a given set. We implemented voting games that replicate two common real-world voting scenarios: In the first, a single voter votes once after seeing a large pre-election poll. In the second game, several voters play simultaneously, and change their vote as the game progresses, as in small committees. The winning candidate in each game (and hence the subject's payment) is determined using the plurality rule. For each of these settings we generated hundreds of game instances, varying conditions such as the number of voters and their preferences. We show that people can be classified into at least three groups, two of which are not engaged in any strategic behavior. The third and largest group tends to select the natural "default" action when there is no clear strategic alternative. When am active strategic decision can be made that improves their immediate payoff, people usually choose that strategic alternative. Our study has insight for multi-agent system designers in uncovering patterns that provide reasonable predictions of voters' behaviors, which may facilitate the design of agents that support people or act autonomously in voting systems.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAAMAS 2015 - Proceedings of the 2015 International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems
EditorsEdith Elkind, Gerhard Weiss, Pinar Yolum, Rafael H. Bordini
PublisherInternational Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (IFAAMAS)
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781450337700
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015
Event14th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, AAMAS 2015 - Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 4 May 20158 May 2015

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Joint Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, AAMAS
ISSN (Print)1548-8403
ISSN (Electronic)1558-2914


Conference14th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, AAMAS 2015


  • Behavioral studies
  • Voting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering


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