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Salience as an emergent property

  • Federica Alberti

    (University of Kent)

  • Robert Sugden

    (School of Economics and CBESS, University of East Anglia)

  • Kei Tsutsui

    (School of Economics and CBESS, University of East Anglia)

We offer an evolutionary model of the emergence of concepts of salience through similarity-based learning. When an individual faces a new decision problem, she chooses an action that she perceives as similar to actions that, when chosen in similar previous problems, led to favourable outcomes. If some similarities are more reliably perceived than others, this process will favour the emergence of conventions that are defined in terms of reliably-perceived similarities. We present experimental evidence of such learning in recurrent play of similar but not identical pure coordination games.

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Paper provided by School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. in its series Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) with number 11-07.

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Date of creation: 01 Feb 2011
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Handle: RePEc:uea:wcbess:11-07
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  1. Bacharach, Michael & Stahl, Dale O., 2000. "Variable-Frame Level-n Theory," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 220-246, August.
  2. Federica Alberti & Shaun Hargreaves Heap & Robert Sugden, 2011. "The emergence of salience: An experimental investigation," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 11-01, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
  3. Sugden, Robert, 1995. "A Theory of Focal Points," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(430), pages 533-50, May.
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  9. Nicholas Bardsley & Judith Mehta & Chris Starmer & Robert Sugden, 2008. "Explaining Focal Points: Cognitive Hierarchy Theory versus Team Reasoning," Discussion Papers 2008-17, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
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  15. 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 658-73, June.
  16. Roth, Alvin E. & Erev, Ido, 1995. "Learning in extensive-form games: Experimental data and simple dynamic models in the intermediate term," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 164-212.
  17. Sugden, Robert & Zamarron, Ignacio E., 2006. "Finding the key: The riddle of focal points," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 609-621, October.
  18. Vincent P. Crawford & Uri Gneezy & Yuval Rottenstreich, 2008. "The Power of Focal Points Is Limited: Even Minute Payoff Asymmetry May Yield Large Coordination Failures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1443-58, September.
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