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Individual learning: theory formation, and feedback in a complex task


  • Novarese, Marco
  • Lanteri, Alessandro


We present an experiment for the study of learning in a complex task which requires both memorisation and the ability to process several pieces of information. The outcome of an action, for which immediate feedback is given, depends on the context (i.e. one of thirty-two sequences of three features) which is know and visible to the subjects. Subjects develop some theories of the experimental world, which result in the stable repetition of some actions in response to certain conditions. These theories are modified after feedback, however mistaken answers are repeated and correct answers abandoned. During the game, theories become more effective (i.e. they afford more correct answers and a higher score), yet the improvements slow down. The theories follow from only a portion of the available information and when they become successful (i.e. towards the end of the experiment) the subjects start refining them to include a larger subset of the information, this causes more stable mistakes.

Suggested Citation

  • Novarese, Marco & Lanteri, Alessandro, 2007. "Individual learning: theory formation, and feedback in a complex task," MPRA Paper 3049, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:3049

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Novarese, Marco & Lanteri, Alessandro & Tibaldeschi, Cesare, 2010. "Learning, Generalization and the Perception of Information: an Experimental Study," MPRA Paper 28007, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Chatterjee, Sidharta, 2011. "The Neuroeconomics of Learning and Information Processing; Applying Markov Decision Process," MPRA Paper 28883, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Alessandro Lanteri & Anna Carabelli, 2011. "Beauty contested: how much of Keynes' remains in behavioural economics' beauty contests?," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(2), pages 269-285.

    More about this item


    cognitive economics; complexity; experiments; feedback; learning; theory formation; Heiner;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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