The role of context and team play in cross-game learning

D.J. Cooper, J.H. Kagel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

One of the dividing lines between economics and psychology experiments is that economists favor abstract context while psychologists favor meaningful context. We investigate the effects of meaningful versus abstract context on cross-game learning in a signaling game experiment. With individual decision makers (1 × 1 games) meaningful context promotes positive cross-game learning in moving from a pooling equilibrium to a separating equilibrium, whereas abstract context yields negative cross-game learning. In 1×1 games a change in the (meaning-ful) context which accompanies "superficial" changes in the game stalls the learning process compared to an abstract context that does not change. In contrast, with two-person teams the same change in meaningful context has no disruptive effect on strategic play, with teams also having substantially higher levels of strategic play than the 1 × 1 games. We relate the effects of meaningful versus abstract context on cross-game learning to the psychology literature on deductive reasoning processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1101-1139
Number of pages39
JournalJournal of the European Economic Association
Volume7
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2009

Cite this