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Behavioral spillovers and cognitive load in multiple games: An experimental study

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  • Bednar, Jenna
  • Chen, Yan
  • Liu, Tracy Xiao
  • Page, Scott
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    Abstract

    We present evidence from laboratory experiments of behavioral spillovers and cognitive load that spread across strategic contexts. In the experiments, subjects play two distinct games simultaneously with different opponents. We find that the strategies chosen and the efficiency of outcomes in one game depends on the other game that the subject plays, and that play is altered in predictable directions. We develop a measure of behavioral variation in a normal form game, outcome entropy, and find that prevalent strategies in games with low outcome entropy are more likely to be used in the games with high outcome entropy, but not vice versa. Taken together, these findings suggest that people do not treat strategic situations in isolation, but may instead develop heuristics that they apply across games.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0899825611001084
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Games and Economic Behavior.

    Volume (Year): 74 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 12-31

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:74:y:2012:i:1:p:12-31

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622836

    Related research

    Keywords: Multiple games; Behavioral spillover; Cognitive load; Entropy; Experiment;

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    References

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    Cited by:
    1. Timothy Cason & Sau-Him Lau & Vai-Lam Mui, 2013. "Learning, teaching, and turn taking in the repeated assignment game," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 54(2), pages 335-357, October.
    2. Duffy, Sean & Smith, John, 2012. "Cognitive load in the multi-player prisoner's dilemma game," MPRA Paper 35906, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. John Smith, 2012. "The endogenous nature of the measurement of social preferences," Mind and Society: Cognitive Studies in Economics and Social Sciences, Fondazione Rosselli, vol. 11(2), pages 235-256, December.
    4. Chen, Chia-Ching & Chiu, I-Ming & Smith, John & Yamada, Tetsuji, 2013. "Too smart to be selfish? Measures of cognitive ability, social preferences, and consistency," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 112-122.
    5. Savikhin, Anya & Sheremeta, Roman, 2012. "Simultaneous Decision-Making in Competitive and Cooperative Environments," MPRA Paper 46809, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Duffy, Sean & Smith, John, 2012. "Cognitive load in the multi-player prisoner's dilemma game: Are there brains in games?," MPRA Paper 38825, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Matthew W. McCarter & Anya C. Samak & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2013. "Divided Loyalties or Conditional Cooperation? An experimental study of contributions to multiple public goods," Working Papers 13-08, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.

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