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Instinctive and Cognitive Reasoning: A Study of Response Times


  • Ariel Rubinstein


Lecture audiences and students were asked to respond to virtual decision and game situations at Several thousand observations were collected and the response time for each answer was recorded. There were significant differences in response time across responses. It is suggested that choices made instinctively, that is, on the basis of an emotional response, require less response time than choices that require the use of cognitive reasoning.

Suggested Citation

  • Ariel Rubinstein, 2006. "Instinctive and Cognitive Reasoning: A Study of Response Times," Discussion Papers 1424, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1424

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Osborne, Martin J & Rubinstein, Ariel, 1998. "Games with Procedurally Rational Players," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 834-847, September.
    2. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1999. "Experience from a Course in Game Theory: Pre- and Postclass Problem Sets as a Didactic Device," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 155-170, July.
    3. Forsythe Robert & Horowitz Joel L. & Savin N. E. & Sefton Martin, 1994. "Fairness in Simple Bargaining Experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 347-369, May.
    4. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-1326, December.
    5. Werner Güth & Carsten Schmidt & Matthias Sutter, 2003. "Fairness in the Mail and Opportunism in the Internet: A Newspaper Experiment on Ultimatum Bargaining," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 4(2), pages 243-265, May.
    6. Jacob K. Goeree & Charles A. Holt, 2001. "Ten Little Treasures of Game Theory and Ten Intuitive Contradictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1402-1422, December.
    7. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1986. "Finite automata play the repeated prisoner's dilemma," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 83-96, June.
    8. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    9. Rubinstein, Ariel, 2001. "A theorist's view of experiments," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 615-628, May.
    10. Wilcox, Nathaniel T, 1993. "Lottery Choice: Incentives, Complexity and Decision Time," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(421), pages 1397-1417, November.
    11. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1988. "Similarity and decision-making under risk (is there a utility theory resolution to the Allais paradox?)," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 145-153, October.
    12. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
    13. Basu, Kaushik, 1994. "The Traveler's Dilemma: Paradoxes of Rationality in Game Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 391-395, May.
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    Response Time; Instinctive and Cognitive Reasoning; Experimental Game Theory;

    JEL classification:

    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments

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