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The Role of Context and Team Play in Cross-Game Learning

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  • David J. Cooper
  • John H. Kagel

Abstract

One of the dividing lines between economics and psychology experiments is that economists favor abstract context while psychologists favor meaningful context. We investigate the effects of meaningful versus abstract context on cross-game learning in a signaling game experiment. With individual decision makers (1 � 1 games) meaningful context promotes positive cross-game learning in moving from a pooling equilibrium to a separating equilibrium, whereas abstract context yields negative cross-game learning. In 1 � 1 games a change in the (meaningful) context which accompanies "superficial" changes in the game stalls the learning process compared to an abstract context that does not change. In contrast, with two-person teams the same change in meaningful context has no disruptive effect on strategic play, with teams also having substantially higher levels of strategic play than the 1 � 1 games. We relate the effects of meaningful versus abstract context on cross-game learning to the psychology literature on deductive reasoning processes. (JEL C72, C92, D82, L12) (c) 2009 by the European Economic Association.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 7 (2009)
Issue (Month): 5 (09)
Pages: 1101-1139

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:7:y:2009:i:5:p:1101-1139

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Cited by:
  1. Rodney Garratt & Mark Walker & John Wooders, 2012. "Behavior in second-price auctions by highly experienced eBay buyers and sellers," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 44-57, March.
  2. Grossman, Zachary & Owens, David, 2010. "An Unlucky Feeling: Overconfidence and Noisy Feedback," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt13r2f3gt, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  3. Zizzo, Daniel John, 2013. "Claims and confounds in economic experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 186-195.
  4. Heggedal, Tom-Reiel & Helland, Leif, 2014. "Platform selection in the lab," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 168-177.
  5. Jeitschko, Thomas D. & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2011. "Signaling in deterministic and stochastic settings," DICE Discussion Papers 35, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  6. Steffen Huck & Philippe Jehiel & Tom Rutter, 2006. "Information Processing, Learning and Analogy-based Expectation: an Experiment," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000541, UCLA Department of Economics.
  7. Matt Van Essen & John Wooders, 2013. "Blind Stealing: Experience and Expertise in a Mixed-Strategy Poker Experiment," Working Paper Series 6, Economics Discipline Group, UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney.
  8. Faravelli, Marco & Stanca, Luca, 2012. "Single versus multiple-prize all-pay auctions to finance public goods: An experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 677-688.
  9. Benndorf, Volker & Kübler, Dorothea & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2013. "Privacy concerns, voluntary disclosure of information, and unraveling: An experiment," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2013-208, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  10. Philippe Jehiel & Steffen Huck & Tom Rutter, 2007. "Learning Spillover and Analogy-based Expectations: a Multi-Game Experiment," Levine's Bibliography 843644000000000120, UCLA Department of Economics.

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