We study individual ability to memorize and recall information about friendship networks using a combination of experiments and survey-based data. In the experi- ment subjects are shown a network, in which their location is exogenously assigned, and they are then asked questions about the network after it disappears. We find that subjects exhibit three main cognitive biases: (i) they underestimate the mean degree compared to the actual network; (ii) they overestimate the number of rare degrees; (iii) they underestimate the number of frequent degrees. We then analyze survey data from two `real' friendship networks from a Silicon Valley firm and from a University Research Center. We find, somewhat remarkably, that individuals in these real networks also exhibit these biases. The experiments yield three further findings: (iv) network cognition is affected by the subject's location, (v) the accuracy of network cognition varies with the nature of the network, and (vi) network cognition has a significant effect on economic decisions.
|Date of creation:||Oct 2011|
|Date of revision:||Nov 2012|
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- Sanjeev Goyal, 2007.
"Introduction to Connections: An Introduction to the Economics of Networks
[Connections: An Introduction to the Economics of Networks]," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
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"Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk,"
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- repec:cup:cbooks:9780521857406 is not listed on IDEAS
- repec:cup:cbooks:9780521674096 is not listed on IDEAS
- Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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