Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Operational Sciences

First Advisor

Brian J. Lunday, PhD


This dissertation examines game theory models in the context of persuasion and competition wherein decision-makers are not completely rational by considering two complementary threads of research. The first thread of research pertains to offensive and preemptively defensive behavioral models. Research in this thread makes three notable contributions. First, an offensive modeling framework is created to identify how an entity optimally influences a populace to take a desired course of action. Second, a defensive modeling framework is defined wherein a regulating entity takes action to bound the behavior of multiple adversaries simultaneously attempting to persuade a group of decision-makers. Third, an offensive influence modeling framework under conditions of ambiguity is developed in accordance with historical information limitations, and we demonstrate how it can be used to select a robust course of action on a specific, data-driven use case. The second thread of research pertains to behavioral and behaviorally robust approaches to deterrence. Research in this thread makes two notable contributions. First, we demonstrate the alternative insights behavioral game theory generates for the analysis of classic deterrence games, and explicate the rich analysis generated from its combined use with standard equilibrium models. Second, we define behaviorally robust models for an agent to use in a normal form game under varying forms of uncertainty in order to inform deterrence policy decisions.

AFIT Designator