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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

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Bednar, Jenna & Chen, Yan & Liu, Tracy Xiao & Page, Scott, 2012. "Behavioral spillovers and cognitive load in multiple games: An experimental study," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 12-31.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:74:y:2012:i:1:p:12-31
    DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2011.06.009
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    Cited by:

    1. Abhijit Ramalingam & Brock V. Stoddard & James M. Walker, 2016. "The market for talent: Competition for resources and self governane in teams," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 16-15, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    2. 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.
    3. Duffy, Sean & Smith, John, 2011. "Cognitive load in the multi-player prisoner's dilemma game," MPRA Paper 30856, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Alexander Funcke, 2015. "Instilling Norms in a Turmoil of Spillovers," PPE Working Papers 0004, Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    5. Eric Guerci & Nobuyuki Hanaki & Naoki Watanabe, 2017. "Meaningful learning in weighted voting games: an experiment," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 83(1), pages 131-153, June.
    6. repec:eee:soceco:v:74:y:2018:i:c:p:151-160 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Jones, Matthew T., 2014. "Strategic complexity and cooperation: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 352-366.
    8. Anya C. Savikhin & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2013. "Simultaneous Decision-Making In Competitive And Cooperative Environments," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(2), pages 1311-1323, April.
    9. Timothy Cason & Sau-Him Lau & Vai-Lam Mui, 2013. "Learning, teaching, and turn taking in the repeated assignment game," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 54(2), pages 335-357, October.
    10. Matthew W. McCarter & Anya C. Samak & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2014. "Divided Loyalists or Conditional Cooperators? Creating Consensus about Cooperation in Multiple Simultaneous Social Dilemmas," Working Papers 14-16, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    11. Chen, Chia-Ching & Chiu, I-Ming & Smith, John & Yamada, Tetsuji, 2011. "Too smart to be selfish? Measures of intelligence, social preferences, and consistency," MPRA Paper 34438, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Beekman, Gonne & Cheung, Stephen L. & Levely, Ian, 2017. "The effect of conflict history on cooperation within and between groups: Evidence from a laboratory experiment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 168-183.
    13. Krieg, Justin & Samek, Anya, 2017. "When charities compete: A laboratory experiment with simultaneous public goods," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 40-57.
    14. Bednar, Jenna & Jones-Rooy, Andrea & Page, Scott E., 2015. "Choosing a future based on the past: Institutions, behavior, and path dependence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PB), pages 312-332.
    15. Banerjee, Ritwik, 2016. "Corruption, norm violation and decay in social capital," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 14-27.
    16. Timothy N. Cason & Lata Gangadharan, 2013. "Cooperation Spillovers And Price Competition In Experimental Markets," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(3), pages 1715-1730, July.
    17. Engl, Florian & Riedl, Arno & Weber, Roberto A., 2016. "Spillover Effects of Institutions on Cooperative Behavior, Preferences, and Beliefs," Research Memorandum 016, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    18. Cason, Timothy N. & Savikhin, Anya C. & Sheremeta, Roman M., 2012. "Behavioral spillovers in coordination games," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 233-245.
    19. Duffy, Sean & Smith, John, 2014. "Cognitive load in the multi-player prisoner's dilemma game: Are there brains in games?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 47-56.
    20. 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.
    21. Justin Krieg & Anya Samek, 2014. "When Charities Compete: A Laboratory Experiment with Simultaneous Public Goods," Artefactual Field Experiments 00442, The Field Experiments Website.
    22. Kenju Kamei, 2016. "Democracy and resilient pro-social behavioral change: an experimental study," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 47(2), pages 359-378, August.
    23. Dolan, Paul & Galizzi, Matteo M., 2015. "Like ripples on a pond: Behavioral spillovers and their implications for research and policy," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 1-16.
    24. John Smith, 2012. "The endogenous nature of the measurement of social preferences," Mind & Society: Cognitive Studies in Economics and Social Sciences, Springer;Fondazione Rosselli, vol. 11(2), pages 235-256, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    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
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

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