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Eye-image in Experiments: Social Cue or Experimenter Demand Effect?

Author

Listed:
  • Subhasish M. Chowdhury

    (University of East Anglia)

  • Joo Young Jeon

    (University of East Anglia)

  • Bibhas Saha

    (Durham University)

Abstract

It is observed in neuroscience, economics and psychology experiments that the presence of an image of a pair of eyes may result in higher level of altruistic behavior by subjects. It is hence concluded that the eye-image serves as a `social Êcue'. We test this against an alternative hypothesis that the higher level of altruism may occur since the eye-image triggers an experimenter demand effect in the same direction with the perceived altruism. We run a `Taking game' with and without eye-image in which the recipient owns some money, and the dictator can take any amount from that. In such a case the social cue and the experimenter demand effect go in opposite directions. We find no overall difference in the amount taken in those treatments. However, males take significantly less and females take insignificantly more under the treatment with eye-image. We conclude that the presence of eyes may have both the social cue and the experimental demand effects, and the net effect depends on the relative magnitude and the direction of the two. For males, the social cue effect is more prominent.

Suggested Citation

  • Subhasish M. Chowdhury & Joo Young Jeon & Bibhas Saha, 2014. "Eye-image in Experiments: Social Cue or Experimenter Demand Effect?," University of East Anglia Applied and Financial Economics Working Paper Series 067, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
  • Handle: RePEc:uea:aepppr:2012_67
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    File URL: https://archive.uea.ac.uk/menu/depts/eco/research/RePEc/uea/papers_pdf/UEA-AFE-067.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    1. Subhasish M. Chowdhury & Joo Young Jeon & Bibhas Saha, 2016. "Gender differences in the giving and taking variants of the dictator game," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 14-09R, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..

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