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Cognitive Biases and Gaze Direction: An Experimental Study


  • Alessandro Innocenti


  • Alessandra Rufa


  • Jacopo Semmoloni



This paper investigates the validity of the model of dual processing by means of eyetracking methods. In this theoretical framework, gaze direction may be a revealing signal of how automatic detection is modified or sustained by controlled search. We performed an experiment by using a stylized decisional framework, i.e. informational cascade, proposed by economists to investigate the rationality of imitative behavior. Our main result is that automatic detection as revealed by gaze direction is driven by mechanisms that are dependent on cognitive biases. In particular, we find significant statistical correlation between subjects’ first fixation and their revealed patterns of choice. Our findings support the hypothesis that the process of automatic detection is not independent on cognitive processes.

Suggested Citation

  • Alessandro Innocenti & Alessandra Rufa & Jacopo Semmoloni, 2008. "Cognitive Biases and Gaze Direction: An Experimental Study," Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena 022, University of Siena.
  • Handle: RePEc:usi:labsit:022

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Markus Noth & Martin Weber, 2003. "Information Aggregation with Random Ordering: Cascades and Overconfidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(484), pages 166-189, January.
    2. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Hirshleifer, David & Welch, Ivo, 1992. "A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change in Informational Cascades," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 992-1026, October.
    3. K. Carrie Armel & Aurelie Beaumel & Antonio Rangel, 2008. "Biasing simple choices by manipulating relative visual attention," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 3, pages 396-403, June.
    4. Abhijit V. Banerjee, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817.
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    More about this item


    informational cascades; overconfidence; eye-tracking; information processing; cognitive biases;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D87 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Neuroeconomics

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