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An Experimental Investigation on Learning and Context Effects

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  • Novarese, Marco
  • Chelini, Chiara
  • Spada, Anna
  • Ambrosino, Angela
  • Trigona, Carla

Abstract

This paper revisited Gregory Bateson’s theory of hierarchical learning through an experiment testing the existence of context effect and learning spill-over in two following games: a coordination game and a two-step battle-of-the sexes. The first part of the experiment is seen as a kind of training period. The different treatments of the coordination game are, in fact, designed so to reinforce different representations of the games, requiring to look at different aspects of a series of images shown in the screen. The second game allows testing if differences in training determine different behaviors in a same situation. Our experiment suggests that the preliminary training influences how the second game is perceived. While the incentive structure of the battle-of-the sexes is not identical to the coordination game, the presence of an image determines a different kind of context similarity with the previous one.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 27807.

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Date of creation: 27 Dec 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:27807

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Keywords: hierarchical learning; Bateson; experiment; context effects; coordination;

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  1. Catherine Eckel & Rick Wilson, 2007. "Social learning in coordination games: does status matter?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 317-329, September.
  2. Sugden, Robert, 1995. "A Theory of Focal Points," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(430), pages 533-50, May.
  3. Smith,Vernon L., 2009. "Rationality in Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521133388, April.
  4. Elizabeth Hoffman & Kevin McCabe & Vernon Smith, 2000. "The Impact of Exchange Context on the Activation of Equity in Ultimatum Games," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 5-9, June.
  5. Alessandro Narduzzo & Massimo Egidi, 1996. "The emergence of path-dependent behaviors in cooperative contexts," CEEL Working Papers 9604, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
  6. Sugden, Robert & Zamarron, Ignacio E., 2006. "Finding the key: The riddle of focal points," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 609-621, October.
  7. Rosemarie Nagel & Antonio Cabrales & Roc Armenter, 2002. "Equilibrium selection through incomplete information in coordination games: An experimental study," Economics Working Papers 601, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  8. Ernst Fehr & Joseph Henrich & Robert Boyd, 2003. "In Search of Homo Economicus: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small- Scale Societies," Microeconomics 0305009, EconWPA.
  9. Mehta, Judith & Starmer, Chris & Sugden, Robert, 1994. "The Nature of Salience: An Experimental Investigation of Pure Coordination Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 658-73, June.
  10. Joseph Henrich, 2000. "Does Culture Matter in Economic Behavior? Ultimatum Game Bargaining among the Machiguenga of the Peruvian Amazon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 973-979, September.
  11. John C. Harsanyi & Reinhard Selten, 1988. "A General Theory of Equilibrium Selection in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582384, December.
  12. Hoffman Elizabeth & McCabe Kevin & Shachat Keith & Smith Vernon, 1994. "Preferences, Property Rights, and Anonymity in Bargaining Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 346-380, November.
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