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Imitation under stress

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  • Buckert, Magdalena
  • Oechssler, Jörg
  • Schwieren, Christiane

Abstract

Imitating the best strategy from the previous period has been shown to be an important heuristic, in particular in relatively complex environments. In this experiment we test whether subjects are more likely to use imitation if they are under stress. Subjects play a repeated Cournot oligopoly. Treatments are time pressure within the task and distractions through a second task (a Stroop-task) that has to be performed as well and influences payment. We measure stress levels through salivary cortisol measurements and through measuring the heart rate. Our main findings are that time pressure and distraction can indeed raise physiological stress levels of subjects within our task. More importantly from an economic perspective, we can also observe a corresponding behavioral change that is indicative of imitation.

Suggested Citation

  • Buckert, Magdalena & Oechssler, Jörg & Schwieren, Christiane, 2014. "Imitation under stress," Working Papers 0556, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:awi:wpaper:0556
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Duffy, Sean & Naddeo, JJ & Owens, David & Smith, John, 2016. "Cognitive load and mixed strategies: On brains and minimax," MPRA Paper 71878, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Kocher, Martin G. & Schindler, David & Trautmann, Stefan T. & Xu, Yilong, 2018. "Risk, Time Pressure, and Selection Effects," Economics Series 339, Institute for Advanced Studies.
    3. Delfino, Alexia & Marengo, Luigi & Ploner, Matteo, 2016. "I did it your way. An experimental investigation of peer effects in investment choices," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 113-123.
    4. Merkel, Anna & Lohse, Johannes, 2016. "Is fairness intuitive? An experiment accounting for the role of subjective utility differences under time pressure," Working Papers 0627, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    5. Kocher, Martin G. & Lucks, Konstantin E. & Schindler, David, 2016. "Unleashing Animal Spirits - Self-Control and Overpricing in Experimental Asset Markets," Discussion Papers in Economics 27572, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    6. Merkel, Anna & Lohse, Johannes, 2018. "Is fairness intuitive? An experiment accounting for subjective utility differences under time pressure," Working Papers 0647, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    stress; cortisol; heart rate; imitation; experiment.;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions

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