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Cognitive sophistication and deliberation times

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  • Carlos Alós-Ferrer

    (University of Zurich)

  • Johannes Buckenmaier

    (University of Zurich)

Abstract

Differences in cognitive sophistication and effort are at the root of behavioral heterogeneity in economics. To explain this heterogeneity, behavioral models assume that certain choices indicate higher cognitive effort. A fundamental problem with this approach is that observing a choice does not reveal how the choice is made, and hence choice data is insufficient to establish the link between cognitive effort and behavior. We show that deliberation times provide an individually-measurable correlate of cognitive effort. We test a model of heterogeneous cognitive depth, incorporating stylized facts from the psychophysical literature, which makes predictions on the relation between choices, cognitive effort, incentives, and deliberation times. We confirm the predicted relations experimentally in different kinds of games.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlos Alós-Ferrer & Johannes Buckenmaier, 2021. "Cognitive sophistication and deliberation times," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 24(2), pages 558-592, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:24:y:2021:i:2:d:10.1007_s10683-020-09672-w
    DOI: 10.1007/s10683-020-09672-w
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    Cited by:

    1. Strittmatter, Anthony & Sunde, Uwe & Zegners, Dainis, 2022. "Speed, Quality, and the Optimal Timing of Complex Decisions: Field Evidence," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 317, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    2. Avoyan, Ala & Schotter, Andrew, 2020. "Attention in games: An experimental study," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 124(C).
    3. Duarte Gonc{c}alves, 2022. "Sequential Sampling Equilibrium," Papers 2212.07725, arXiv.org, revised Nov 2023.
    4. Carlos Alós-Ferrer & Alexander Jaudas & Alexander Ritschel, 2021. "Effortful Bayesian updating: A pupil-dilation study," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 63(1), pages 81-102, August.
    5. Castagnetti, Alessandro & Proto, Eugenio & Sofianos, Andis, 2023. "Anger impairs strategic behavior: A Beauty-Contest based analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 213(C), pages 128-141.
    6. Alós-Ferrer, Carlos & Ritschel, Alexander, 2021. "Multiple behavioral rules in Cournot oligopolies," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 183(C), pages 250-267.
    7. Anna Conte & Gianmarco Santis & John D. Hey & Ivan Soraperra, 2023. "The determinants of decision time in an ambiguous context," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 67(3), pages 271-297, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Heterogeneity; Iterative reasoning; Cognitive sophistication; Deliberation times; Depth of reasoning; Cognitive effort;
    All these keywords.

    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
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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