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An Experimental Investigation on Learning and Context Effects

Author

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  • Novarese, Marco
  • Chelini, Chiara
  • Spada, Anna
  • Ambrosino, Angela
  • Trigona, Carla

Abstract

This paper revisited Gregory Bateson’s theory of hierarchical learning through an experiment testing the existence of context effect and learning spill-over in two following games: a coordination game and a two-step battle-of-the sexes. The first part of the experiment is seen as a kind of training period. The different treatments of the coordination game are, in fact, designed so to reinforce different representations of the games, requiring to look at different aspects of a series of images shown in the screen. The second game allows testing if differences in training determine different behaviors in a same situation. Our experiment suggests that the preliminary training influences how the second game is perceived. While the incentive structure of the battle-of-the sexes is not identical to the coordination game, the presence of an image determines a different kind of context similarity with the previous one.

Suggested Citation

  • Novarese, Marco & Chelini, Chiara & Spada, Anna & Ambrosino, Angela & Trigona, Carla, 2010. "An Experimental Investigation on Learning and Context Effects," MPRA Paper 27807, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:27807
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/36956/1/MPRA_paper_36956.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hoffman Elizabeth & McCabe Kevin & Shachat Keith & Smith Vernon, 1994. "Preferences, Property Rights, and Anonymity in Bargaining Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 346-380, November.
    2. John C. Harsanyi & Reinhard Selten, 1988. "A General Theory of Equilibrium Selection in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582384, January.
    3. Joseph Henrich, 2001. "In Search of Homo Economicus: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small-Scale Societies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 73-78, May.
    4. Smith,Vernon L., 2009. "Rationality in Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521133388, March.
    5. Catherine Eckel & Rick Wilson, 2007. "Social learning in coordination games: does status matter?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(3), pages 317-329, September.
    6. Sugden, Robert, 1995. "A Theory of Focal Points," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(430), pages 533-550, May.
    7. Antonio Cabrales & Rosemarie Nagel & Roc Armenter, 2007. "Equilibrium selection through incomplete information in coordination games: an experimental study," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(3), pages 221-234, September.
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    9. Egidi, Massimo & Narduzzo, Alessandro, 1997. "The emergence of path-dependent behaviors in cooperative contexts," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 677-709, October.
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    11. Elizabeth Hoffman & Kevin McCabe & Vernon Smith, 2000. "The Impact of Exchange Context on the Activation of Equity in Ultimatum Games," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 3(1), pages 5-9, June.
    12. Mehta, Judith & Starmer, Chris & Sugden, Robert, 1994. "The Nature of Salience: An Experimental Investigation of Pure Coordination Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 658-673, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    hierarchical learning; Bateson; experiment; context effects; coordination;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • B50 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - General

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