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Cognition and Strategy: A Deliberation Experiment

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  • Eric Dickson

    ()
    (Department of Politics, New York University)

  • Catherine Hafer

    ()
    (Department of Politics, New York University)

  • Dimitri Landa

    ()
    (Department of Politics, New York University)

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    Abstract

    A theory of deliberation must provide a plausible account both of individuals? choices to speak or to listen and of how they reinterpret their own views in the aftermath of deliberation. We describe a game-theoretic laboratory experiment in which subjects with diverse interests and information choose to speak or to listen and, after updating their beliefs, vote over a common outcome. An important feature of our strategic setting is that not receiving a specific communication is sometimes just as informative as receiving it. We analyze subjects? deliberative choices and the relationship between these choices, subjects? initial positions and arguments, and individual cognition. Our evidence shows that, although subjects behave instrumentally, their behavior reveals the existence of a cognitive hierarchy defined by differing abilities to grasp the strategic implications of different kinds of information. We trace the consequences of these underlying cognitive differences for individual deliberative choices and for the informativeness of deliberation.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by New York University, Center for Experimental Social Science in its series Working Papers with number 0016.

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    Length: 42 pages
    Date of creation: Nov 2007
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:cso:wpaper:0016

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