Preference Uncertainty and Trust in Decision Making
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A fuzzy approach for handling uncertain preferences is developed within the paradigm of the Graph Model for Conflict Resolution and new advances in trust modeling and assessment are put forward for permitting decision makers (DMs) to decide with whom to cooperate and trust in order to move from a potential resolution to a more preferred one that is not attainable on an individual basis. The applicability and the usefulness of the fuzzy preference and trust research for giving an enhanced strategic understanding about a dispute and its possible resolution are demonstrated by employing a realworld environmental conflict as well as two generic games that represent a wide range of real life encounters dealing with trust and cooperation dilemmas. The introduction of the uncertain preference representation extends the applicability of the Graph Model for Conflict Resolution to handle conflicts with missing or incomplete preference information. Assessing the presence of trust will help to compensate for the missing information and bridge the gap between a desired outcome and a feared betrayal. These advances in the areas of uncertain preferences and trust have potential applications in engineering decision making, electronic commerce, multiagent systems, international trade and many other areas where conflict is present. In order to model a conflict, it is assumed that the decision makers, options, and the preferences of the decision makers over possible states are known. However, it is often the case that the preferences are not known for certain. This could be due to lack of information, impreciseness, or misinformation intentionally supplied by a competitor. Fuzzy logic is applied to handle this type of information. In particular, it allows a decision maker to express preferences using linguistic terms rather than exact values. It also makes use of data intervals rather than crisp values which could accommodate minor shifts in values without drastically changing the overall results. The four solution concepts of Nash, general metarationality, symmetric metarationality, and sequential stability for determining stability and potential resolutions to a conflict, are extended to accommodate the new fuzzy preference representation. The newly proposed solution concepts are designed to work for two and more than two decision maker cases. Hypothetical and real life conflicts are used to demonstrate the applicability of this newly proposed procedure. Upon reaching a conflict resolution, it might be in the best interests of some of the decision makers to cooperate and form a coalition to move from the current resolution to a better one that is not achievable on an individual basis. This may require moving to an intermediate state or states which may be less preferred by some of the coalition members while being more preferred by others compared to the original or the final state. When the move is irreversible, which is the case in most real life situations, this requires the existence of a minimum level of trust to remove any fears of betrayal. The development of trust modeling and assessment techniques, allows decision makers to decide with whom to cooperate and trust. Illustrative examples are developed to show how this modeling works in practice. The new theoretical developments presented in this research enhance the applicability of the Graph Model for Conflict Resolution. The proposed trust modeling allows a reasonable way of analyzing and predicting the formation of coalitions in conflict analysis and cooperative game theory. It also opens doors for further research and developments in trust modeling in areas such as electronic commerce and multiagent systems.