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Behavioral Analysis: Universal V Causal

Buddamoose
Posts: 19,449
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10/1/2012 5:18:19 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Whilst searching for another site to play mafia on, I stumbled across this site:

http://forums.mtgsalvation.com...

On the site there is a section, for rules, tips, and theories of mafia. One of them was an explanation of behavioral analysis, split into two chapters:

Chapter 1: Analyzing Behavior: Causal Analysis
Chapter 2: Analyzing Behavior: Analyzing the strength of Analysis

Essentially what I'm going to do in this thread, is give a run-down of the chapters, explaining the basics of behavioral analysis, and why using the Universal scum-tell theory, as most players do, is a flawed way to play mafia.

"This is mafia, the entire point of the game is semantics" - Unknown Player

"How do we get better at playing mafia? At the end of the day, it all boils down to one thing: honing our behavioral edge. Role analysis and design speculation only get us so far, especially when the moderator designs his game well. Of course, behavioral analysis can be very difficult. Not only do you have to directly compete against another human being who is trying very hard not be discovered, but we also have to be able sift through the false leads created by our own teammates. We have to be able to distinguish between good evidence, and red herrings."

- Azrael, player on MTGSSalvation

Part 1: The basics- Universal Tells(Actus Reus)

In mafia there is alot of theories as to what is and is not a scum-tell. Most players have their own opinions, but we all seem to have a general sense of what is and is not scummy behavior. For example:

Player X defends player Y, this is considered the scum-tell of buddying, ergo, Player X is scum.

In fact in criminal law terminology, they concentrate on the "actus reus". The actions of their fellow players, and whether those actions help or hurt the town, and whether those actions look like one of the traditional mafia tells. The mens rea element (mental state) is deemphasized.

However in alot of cases using universal tells alone does not work. Why is this the case? Simply put, as a player gains experience, they gain knowledge of how they should act so as to not draw suspicion. This means that, scum suddenly arent commiting tells. Now the easy answer to this would be to throw universal tells out the window, however this doesnt need to be done.

In fact, Universal tells are a solid foundation for players to draw from, in all situations, but, as I previously pointed out, they're not the end of behavioral analysis.

"But the greatest downside to the scum tell method is that if you choose not to evaluate whether your evidence is reliable, if often won't be. Town players can easily max out a scum scale with activities that have completely innocent and reasonable townie explanations. When that happens, innocent townies become collateral damage, and the scum reap the benefits of pointless and preventable mistakes." - Azrael

Part 2: Causal Analysis(Mens Rea)

The Scum-Tell method may be excellent for beginner's, but as a player continues to gain experience, they realize that mafia is more than just crime and punishment. There is a component of empathy.

"Empathy? You mean we're supposed to feel sorry for scum?"

No, of course not. What is meant by empathy, is that we must analyze why a player has done what they did, to completelt determine whether or not that action was scummy or not.

"In the U.S. criminal system, the courts require not only proof of the actus reus, the criminal act, but also require evidence that the act was taken with the requisite mens rea, a guilty mind. That inquiry is even more useful for mafia, since the town is interested in "bad" actions only when they indicate a guilty mind."

With the Scum-Tell method, players are only focused upon the effect of the persons actions. When with causal analysis, the emphasis is placed more upon why a player performed a certain action, or posted a certain statement. To fully analyze a post causally three things must be determined:

1. The effect of the post (likely to help the town, or to hurt it).
2. The motivation for the statement (scum, or townie, true or deceptive, public knowledge or private insight?).
3. The player"s emotions/mood (For example, annoyance at being thrust into the spotlight, or confident that they"re right?).

The effect of a post is what actus reus players most focus on(most players on this site are of the actus reus mindset. A mons rea player instead, will focus upon the motivation behind a players actions.

Why not? Motivation. Is there a good reason why a townie would say that Mary is scum? How strong is that reason? Does Johnny Scumsucker's wording sound like his massive PBPAs are more focused on impressing the town, than on serious analysis? We want to ask whether the motivation (if any is provided) reads like a lie. If it is unconvincing, feigned, or dishonest, you have good evidence of scum. If it's plausible, genuine, and natural, you are probably dealing with a townie.

Lastly, it"s important to consider the player"s emotions or mood. If they"re under attack, how are they dealing with it? With righteous anger, or are they nervous, or bitter? Townies and scum players react to pressure in very different ways, and with experience it becomes possible to identify some of the trends. More on that in the following post.

Up next: Part 2- Analyzing the strength of Behavioral Evidence, and the four types of tells:

- Universal
- Logic
- Possible
- Emotional or Attitude
"Reality is an illusion created due to a lack of alcohol"
-Airmax1227

"You were the moon all this time, and he was always there to make you shine."

"Was he the sun?"

"No honey, he was the darkness"

-Kazekirion
Buddamoose
Posts: 19,449
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10/1/2012 5:39:16 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Part 2: Analyzing the Strength of Behavioral Evidence

"So, you"ve got a case on a player you think is scum. But how can you tell if you"ve got a rock-solid case, or a crumbling foundation?

There"s a good deal of misinformation floating around about the relative strength of scum tells. It"s certainly not a cut-and-dried field. However, there are a number of tells that seem to have proved their worth over the years, just as there"s a body of tells that have proven shaky at best, and baseless at worst.

For my own purposes, I use four classifications of scum tells to help me evaluate their strength. Universal tells, logic tells, possible tells, and emotional or attitude tells."

Universal Tells- These are the traditional slip-ups that have come to be recognized through years of playing and studying of the game by players. They are activities where the most common explanation of the tell is that the player is scum, and there is a reliable, proven correlation between the behavior and mafia players. A short list of some of the more common examples could include:

- Malicious OMGUS attacks in the face of pressure
- Atypical Patterns of participation
- Waffling and taking both sides of an issue
- Lying
- Poor, unpersuasive, or faked vote rationales
- Unusual timing of a claim or role information

Oftentimes these tells are hard to distinguish if one is not paying close attention to a persons posts. Not only this, you throw in that townies oftentimes will commit these tells. This is where the previously explained causal analysis comes into play. Why did that player commit the tell? What motivation did they have behind their actions?

Logic Tells- "Logic tells are errors of argumentation, such as evasion, misrepresentation, OMGUS, and ad hominem. While equally well known to most players as the universal tells, many of us fail to distinguish between the two. Most often, we make the mistake of equating logic tells with universal tells. Sadly, this is not the case, and this failure to acknowledge the differences between the two has led to countless mislynches over the years." - Azrael

The reason behind this is in most cases, Logic Tells are not caused by a players affiliation, but rather, by idiosyncracies of the player themself. It is critically important that townies recognize that the negative effect of an activity, such as ad hom or misrepresentation, is not the best indicator of whether it is a genuine scum tell. The best indicator of whether a tell is genuine is if there is not a more reasonable and more likely townie explanation for the action.

Logic tells should be used to support cases only in rare and exceptional circumstances. They will mislead you more often than they will help you.

Possible Tells- The next category, possible tells, differs in one significant way from universal tells. Similarly to logic tells, they rely on assumptions. If such and such is the case, then that player may be committing some universal tell, such as defending a scum buddy for poor reasons. There is an additional logical step involved in believing that it is a true scum tell: we must believe in condition X, in order to think that Y is a scum tell. These assumptions more often than not prove to be false rather than true.

As a general rule, conspiracy theories and complicated alleged gambits rarely turn out to be true. In most cases, what the activity seems to be on its face is exactly what it is in truth. Paranoia is one of the gravest and most common dangers to the town keeping its judgment objective and insightful. Instead, players should concentrate on what is most likely to be true, and not on far-fetched worst case scenarios.

Emotional or Attitude Tells- "Unlike the other tells, mindset tells aren"t based on a player"s conduct, but on the more intangible behavioral traits lying behind their posts. Despite being more subjective, they can often be quite useful in determining their alignment, because players tend to exercise less control over them. Just as certain universal tells are usually caused by a scum mindset, the emotions and attitudes players show during the game can be very useful clues to their alignment. A typical townie mindset could be described as inquisitive, pro-active, confident and decisive, self-righteous under pressure, and unafraid. Some of the more typical scum fallacies are self-consciousness, contemptuous dismissal of others" arguments, posting just enough to avoid notice, deceit, manipulation, being prone to faulty logic, showing more concern over plans and irrelevant debates than with finding scum, a tendency to use uncertain language in connection with lynch targets so as not be proved wrong later, a tendency to attack weaker or more inexperienced players, and being nervous or overbold in presenting their role-claim."

To sum this up:

1. Universal tells can be strong evidence of guilt. However, it is vitally important to examine the context to see if a reasonable, pro-town rationale exists.

2. Logic tells and possible tells are unreliable and should be used only with extreme caution.

3. Analyzing a player"s emotions and attitude for scum or town patterns can be a good indicator of their alignment.
"Reality is an illusion created due to a lack of alcohol"
-Airmax1227

"You were the moon all this time, and he was always there to make you shine."

"Was he the sun?"

"No honey, he was the darkness"

-Kazekirion
johnnyboy54
Posts: 6,362
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10/3/2012 2:44:27 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I'll give it a read later. I feel like one of my weaknesses as town is behavioral analysis so this should help.
I didn't order assholes with my whiskey.
TheAntidoter
Posts: 4,323
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10/3/2012 4:59:00 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Love it. Should help me once I find my first game.
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Nac.

WOAH, COLORED FONT!