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Network Cognition

  • Dessi, Roberta
  • Gallo, Edoardo
  • Goyal, Sanjeev

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.

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Paper provided by Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse in its series IDEI Working Papers with number 691.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
Date of revision: Nov 2012
Handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:25167
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  1. Jackson Matthew O. & Rogers Brian W., 2007. "Relating Network Structure to Diffusion Properties through Stochastic Dominance," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-16, February.
  2. Dessi, Roberta & Rustichini, Aldo, 2015. "Strong intrinsic motivation," TSE Working Papers 15-567, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  3. Charness, Gary & Feri, Francesco & Meléndez-Jiménez, Miguel A. & Sutter, Matthias, 2014. "Experimental Games on Networks: Underpinnings of Behavior and Equilibrium Selection," IZA Discussion Papers 8104, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. repec:adr:anecst:y:2007:i:86 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Sanjeev Goyal, 2007. "Introduction to Connections: An Introduction to the Economics of Networks," Introductory Chapters, in: Connections: An Introduction to the Economics of Networks Princeton University Press.
  6. Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2000. "Pay Enough or Don't Pay at All," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 791-810.
  7. Andrea Galeotti & Sanjeev Goyal & Matthew O. Jackson & Fernando Vega-Redondo & Leeat Yariv, 2010. "Network Games," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(1), pages 218-244.
  8. Dessi, Roberta & Rustichini, Aldo, 2011. "Work for Image and Work for Pay," TSE Working Papers 11-252, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  9. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
  10. Vega-Redondo,Fernando, 2007. "Complex Social Networks," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521674096, Junio.
  11. Gallo, Edoardo, 2014. "Social learning by chit-chat," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 313-343.
  12. Syngjoo Choi & Edoardo Gallo & Shachar Kariv, 2015. "Networks in the laboratory," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1551, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  13. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  14. Vega-Redondo,Fernando, 2007. "Complex Social Networks," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521857406, Junio.
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