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Pinocchio's Pupil: Using Eyetracking and Pupil Dilation to Understand Truth Telling and Deception in Sender-Receiver Games

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  • Joseph Tao-yi Wang
  • Michael Spezio
  • Colin F. Camerer

Abstract

We report experiments on sender-receiver games with an incentive for senders to exaggerate. Subjects "overcommunicate" -- messages are more informative of the true state than they should be, in equilibrium. Eyetracking shows that senders look at payoffs in a way that is consistent with a level-k model. A combination of sender messages and lookup patterns predicts the true state about twice as often as predicted by equilibrium. Using these measures to infer the state would enable receiver subjects to hypothetically earn 16-21 percent more than they actually do, an economic value of 60 percent of the maximum increment. (JEL C72, C91, D82, Z13)

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph Tao-yi Wang & Michael Spezio & Colin F. Camerer, 2010. "Pinocchio's Pupil: Using Eyetracking and Pupil Dilation to Understand Truth Telling and Deception in Sender-Receiver Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 984-1007, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:100:y:2010:i:3:p:984-1007
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.100.3.984
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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