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An eye-tracking study of feature-based choice in one-shot games

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  • Giovanna Devetag

    ()

  • Sibilla Guida

    ()

  • Luca Polonio

    ()

Abstract

Previous experimental research suggests that individuals apply rules of thumb to a simplified mental model of the “real” decision problem. We claim that this simplification is obtained either by neglecting the other players’ incentives and beliefs or by taking them into consideration only for a subset of game outcomes. We analyze subjects’ eye movements while playing a series of two-person, 3 × 3 one-shot games in normal form. Games within each class differ by a set of descriptive features (i.e., features that can be changed without altering the game equilibrium properties). Data show that subjects on average perform partial or non-strategic analysis of the payoff matrix, often ignoring the opponent´s payoffs and rarely performing the necessary steps to detect dominance. Our analysis of eye-movements supports the hypothesis that subjects use simple decision rules such as “choose the strategy with the highest average payoff” or “choose the strategy leading to an attractive and symmetric outcome” without (optimally) incorporating knowledge on the opponent’s behavior. Lookup patterns resulted being feature and game invariant, heterogeneous across subjects, but stable within subjects. Using a cluster analysis, we find correlations between eye-movements and choices; however, applying the Cognitive Hierarchy model to our data, we show that only some of the subjects present both information search patterns and choices compatible with a specific cognitive level. We also find a series of correlations between strategic behavior and individual characteristics like risk attitude, short-term memory capacity, and mathematical and logical abilities. Copyright Economic Science Association 2016

Suggested Citation

  • Giovanna Devetag & Sibilla Guida & Luca Polonio, 2016. "An eye-tracking study of feature-based choice in one-shot games," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(1), pages 177-201, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:19:y:2016:i:1:p:177-201
    DOI: 10.1007/s10683-015-9432-5
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Joshua Zonca & Giorgio Coricelli & Luca Polonio, 2020. "Gaze patterns disclose the link between cognitive reflection and sophistication in strategic interaction," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 15(2), pages 230-245, March.
    2. Barrafrem, Kinga & Hausfeld, Jan, 2020. "Tracing risky decisions for oneself and others: The role of intuition and deliberation," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).
    3. Brocas, Isabelle & Carrillo, Juan D. & Sachdeva, Ashish, 2018. "The path to equilibrium in sequential and simultaneous games: A mousetracking study," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 178(C), pages 246-274.
    4. Despoina Alempaki & Andrew M Colman & Felix Koelle & Graham Loomes & Briony D Pulford, 2019. "Investigating the failure to best respond in experimental games," Discussion Papers 2019-13, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    5. Polonio, Luca & Coricelli, Giorgio, 2019. "Testing the level of consistency between choices and beliefs in games using eye-tracking," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 566-586.
    6. Stephanie M. Smith & Ian Krajbich & Ryan Webb, 2019. "Estimating the dynamic role of attention via random utility," Journal of the Economic Science Association, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 5(1), pages 97-111, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    One-shot games; Eye-tracking; Focal points; Individual behavior; Bounded rationality; Feature-based choice; C72; C91; D01; D83;

    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
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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