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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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    3. 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.
    4. Alós-Ferrer, Carlos & Ritschel, Alexander, 2021. "Multiple behavioral rules in Cournot oligopolies," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 183(C), pages 250-267.
    5. Niu, Xiaofei & Li, Jianbiao, 2019. "How Time Constraint Affects the Disposition Effect?," EconStor Preprints 194618, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    6. Martin G Kocher & Konstantin E Lucks & David Schindler, 2019. "Unleashing Animal Spirits: Self-Control and Overpricing in Experimental Asset Markets," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 32(6), pages 2149-2178.
    7. Anna Louisa Merkel & Johannes Lohse, 2019. "Is fairness intuitive? An experiment accounting for subjective utility differences under time pressure," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 22(1), pages 24-50, March.
    8. 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.
    9. Anders Poulsen & Axel Sonntag, 2019. "Focality is Intuitive - Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Time Pressure in Coordination Games," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 19-01, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    10. Martin G. Kocher & David Schindler & Stefan T. Trautmann & Yilong Xu, 2019. "Risk, time pressure, and selection effects," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 22(1), pages 216-246, March.
    11. Lubomír Cingl, 2018. "Social learning under acute stress," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 13(8), pages 1-26, August.
    12. Duffy, Sean & Gussman, Steven & Smith, John, 2019. "Judgments of length in the economics laboratory: Are there brains in choice?," MPRA Paper 93126, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    14. Vitt, Nicolai & James, Jonathan & Belot, Michèle & Vecchi, Martina, 2021. "Daily stressors and food choices: A lab experiment with low-SES mothers," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 136(C).
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    stress; cortisol; heart rate; imitation; experiment.;
    All these keywords.

    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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