Tag: experiments

We finally got around to taking some photos to update the Behavioural Research Lab‘s website. Thanks to our photogenic colleagues at the LSE Department of Management! Here’s a quick impression. If…

Read More At the LSE Behavioural Research Lab

Blog

A new addition to the blog is the ‘Behavioural economics 101’ widget in the right hand sidebar. It is a short list of links to web pages that contain accessible,…

Read More Behavioural economics 101 links

Blog

Blog

Loans with a typical APR exceeding 500% – surely that’s impossible? Or even if they do exist, no one in their right mind would sign up for these terms, right?…

Read More Pay day loans experiment

Blog

Blog

Laboratory experiments only get so interesting; if you want go a little further, you need to test your theories in the field. And when it comes to social science, what could be more engaging that using yourself as an experimental subject? Journalist and author AJ Jacobs has done exactly this for his book ‘The Guinea Pig Diaries’ (just released as a paperback titled ‘My Experimental Life‘). There’s a little taster on the Guardian site in the form of lengthy extract. The extract describes Jacobs’ attempts at uni-tasking (as opposed to multi-tasking) his way through life. He takes the principles of uni-tasking pretty far, which makes for a more entertaining read, but he makes some valuable observations on productivity along the way.

Jacobs reports that uni-tasking is a productivity booster; this rings true for me. Every time you stop yourself drifting towards a ‘quick’ browse of your favourite web sites, you win back at least 5-10 minutes of productive time. I’ve always thought that many of today’s ‘time savers’ (consider all the things you can do from your web browser that would have required an in-person visit in the past) force the mind to go into multi-tasking mode, thereby making for a double-edged sword in terms of net productivity. This is why I signed up for Tim Ferriss’ low information diet and haven’t looked back since.

 

Read More Experimental life

Blog

Just found an interesting summary of the discontinuity effect. The name makes me wonder, do these people get paid on the basis of the number of ‘biases’ and ‘effects’ they discover? I quote:

(the researchers) named this the discontinuity effect because behavior in groups seemed discontinuous with the characteristics of individuals…

Wow. Presumably, if groups and individuals did behave similarly, they would’ve found a ‘continuity effect’? Or if the data were inconclusive, there would be an ‘continuity inconsistency effect’? OK I’ll stop now…

What’s interesting, though, is whether this particular individual-group discrepancy (groups are less cooperative in a repeated prisoner’s dilemma game)  could be defined as a kind of group polarisation. This kind of polarisation would then be called rationality polarisation. Now, imagine that one day, scientists will know all the behavioural dimensions in which polarisation occurs. Does that imply they would be able to predict group decisions based on the behavioural properties of and individual choices on a decision task?

Read More The discontinuity effect = rationality polarisation?

Blog