She is the Carol and Michael Lowenstein Professor of Philosophy and Legal Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is also the Director of the Philosophy, Politics and Economics program. Bicchieri earned her PhD from the department of History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge University. She was a pupil of Mary Hesse.
Before moving to Penn she taught in the program of Philosophy and Economics at Barnard College, Columbia University, in the Philosophy department at Notre Dame University and in the departments of Philosophy and Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie-Mellon University. Her intellectual affinities lie at the border between philosophy, game theory and psychology. She has worked on problems in the philosophy of social science, rational choice and game theory. Her recent work lies at the intersection of philosophy, game theory and psychology. In her most recent work, Bicchieri uses game theory in her presentation of a novel account of social norms that challenges several of the fundamental methodological assumptions of the social sciences. She argues that the stress social scientists place upon rational deliberation obscures the fact that many successful choices, and in particular many successfully coordinated activities, occur even though the individuals make their choices without much deliberation. Bicchieri explores in depth the more automatic components of coordination. She proposes a heuristic account of coordination that complements the more traditional deliberational account. According to the heuristic account, individuals conform with a social norm as an automatic response to cues in their situation that focus their attention on this particular norm. A social norm is analyzed as a rule for choosing in a mixed-motive game, such as the prisoner's dilemma, that members of a population prefer to follow on condition that they expect sufficiently many in the population to follow the rule. Bicchieri applies this account of social norms and heuristic selection of norms to a number of important problems in the social sciences, including bargaining, the prisoners' dilemma and suboptimal norms based upon pluralistic ignorance.