IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Cognitive Anomalies and Experimental Economics


  • Howard Margolis


The paper develops an account of anomalous behavior in work at the intersection of cognition and experimental economics. The anomalies are choices which conflict with both agents' self-interest and also with any plausible other-regarding interests. I review three examples, and provide evidence for an account (the "cascade" account) in terms of cognitive illusions akin to those that appear to lie behind such extensively studied anomalies of individual choice as the Wason selection task and the Monty Hall problem. This has implications (1) for understanding cognitive anomalies generally (2) for experimenters (it is a commonplace to say that "framing matters", but treating framing as a choice by the experimenter, not as responses by subjects that might surprise the experimenter were she aware of them); (3) for the NSNX ("neither selfish nor exploited") account of individual choice to which I am partial, though I have tried to minimize attention to NSNX in this article; (4) for actual cooperation in the world, since if players in a game can misinterpret their context due to the impoverished cues in an experiment, then agents in the world may be vulnerable to similar misperceptions in situations beyond the scale of their experience, perhaps with tragic consequences.

Suggested Citation

  • Howard Margolis, 2005. "Cognitive Anomalies and Experimental Economics," Working Papers 0502, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  • Handle: RePEc:har:wpaper:0502

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:har:wpaper:0502. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Eleanor Cartelli). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.