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DR@W Forum is an interdisciplinary discussion series which focuses on theoretical and empirical research about decision making. The usual structure of the forum is a 30 minute introduction of the topic/working paper related to decision research, followed by a discussion. The audience prefers discussing work-in-progress topics as opposed to finished papers. We meet on Thursdays between 2:30 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. in the extension on the third floor of the Library (at the Wolfson Research Exchange Area). Contact John Taylor (John.Taylor[at] if you would like to receive our announcements and reminders.

  • Thu19JanDR@W Forum - Benjamin Scheibehenne (Geneva)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Wolfson 3

    Benjamin Scheibehenne (Geneva)

    Bayesian Statistics as an Alternative for Analyzing Data and Testing Hypotheses
    Empirical data in Psychology and Economics are often analyzed using null hypothesis significance testing (NHST) and the ritualized calculation of p-values. In my talk, I will point out problems of this approach and I will propose Bayesian methods as a feasible alternative for analyzing data and testing hypotheses. Based on concrete examples from the literature on descriptive social norms and from modelling decision making under risk, I will show that, in contrast to NHST, Bayesian statistics yield consistent results, it can quantify the evidence for both, the null and the alternative hypothesis based on the Bayes factor, it makes prior assumptions explicit, and it is fairly easy to use.

  • Thu26JanDR@W Forum - Michalis Drouvelis (Birmingham)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Wolfson 3

    Michalis Drouvelis (Birmingham)

    Personality and social preferences

    Theories of social preferences remain silent about the role of individuals’ personality heterogeneity in predicting economic behaviour. We conduct a laboratory experiment which sheds empirical light on the causal impact of agreeableness on two measures of social preferences: aversion to advantageous inequality and cooperative behaviour. Our findings provide robust evidence that both measures are sensitive to the personality trait of agreeableness. In particular, agreeable individuals are more averse to advantageous inequality compared to disagreeable individuals. We also find that agreeable individuals are more cooperative in relation to disagreeable individuals. Our results provide novel evidence for inspiring theory development that can account for personality effects on economic preferences

  • Thu09FebDR@W Forum - Severine Toussaert (LSE)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Wolfson 3

    DR@W Forum: Séverine Toussaert (LSE)

    Details TBC

  • Thu23FebDR@W Forum: Johannes Lohse (Birmingham Business School)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Wolfson 3

    DR@W Forum: Johannes Lohse (Birmingham Business School)

    Details TBC

  • Jan192017DR@W Forum - Benjamin Scheibehenne (Geneva)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Wolfson 3

    Benjamin Scheibehenne (Geneva)

    Bayesian Statistics as an Alternative for Analyzing Data and Testing Hypotheses
    Empirical data in Psychology and Economics are often analyzed using null hypothesis significance testing (NHST) and the ritualized calculation of p-values. In my talk, I will point out problems of this approach and I will propose Bayesian methods as a feasible alternative for analyzing data and testing hypotheses. Based on concrete examples from the literature on descriptive social norms and from modelling decision making under risk, I will show that, in contrast to NHST, Bayesian statistics yield consistent results, it can quantify the evidence for both, the null and the alternative hypothesis based on the Bayes factor, it makes prior assumptions explicit, and it is fairly easy to use.

  • Dec082016DR@W Forum - Neel Ocean (Economics, Warwick)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Library (Wolfson Exchange Area Room 3)

    Do people adjust for extreme review score bias?

    An important implication of the internet on modern economic life is the increasing reliance on online reviews to inform consumption decisions. Yet, extremely positive or negative reviews may be subject to a large degree of bias, as well as conflicts of interest. I introduce a model that proposes individuals weight extreme review scores to adjust for this potential bias. A randomised experiment on 501 individuals finds insufficient evidence that extreme review scores are being weighted when evaluating the quality of a good. Hence, individuals are susceptible to being influenced by deliberately falsified extreme reviews.

  • Dec012016DR@W Forum - Joe Gladstone (UCL)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Library (Wolfson Exchange Area Room 3)

    Joe Gladstone (UCL)

    Health Risks or Financial Costs: A Randomized Controlled Trial to Improve Medication Adherence in Pharmacies

    Low levels of medication adherence represent a growing problem for global health systems. We report evidence from a pre-registered randomized controlled trial, delivered through 278 UK pharmacies, aimed at increasing adherence rates. Patients (N=16,191) were asked to commit to taking their medication as prescribed by signing their name on a sticker attached to their medication packaging. In two additional trial arms, the commitment was paired with a message describing the negative consequences arising from non-adherence; either the increased risk to the patient’s own health, or the financial costs to society. Our results indicate that for participants who signed the pre-commitment without reference to the negative consequences arising from non-adherence, there was no change to their medication adherence levels in comparison to the control group. However, participants who signed a pre-commitment paired with the health warning were significantly more likely to adhere to their medication than the control group (odds ratio = 1.59, 95% CI [1.02; 2.48]). Conversely, participants who signed a pre-commitment paired with a financial cost warning were less likely to adhere to their medication (odds ratio = .64, 95% CI [0.41; 1.02]). Our results provide new insights into the psychological motivations underlying medication adherence.

  • Nov252016Special Friday DR@W Forum - Jialan Wang (Illinois)2:00pm - 3:15pm, Library (Wolfson Exchange Area Room 1)

    Jialan Wang (University of Illinois)

    Minimum Payments and Debt Paydown in Consumer Credit Cards

    Using a dataset covering one quarter of the U.S. general-purpose credit card market, we document that 29% of accounts regularly make payments at or near the minimum payment. We exploit changes in issuers’ minimum payment formulas to distinguish between liquidity constraints and anchoring as explanations for the prevalence of near-minimum payments. Nine to twenty percent of all accounts respond more to the formula changes than expected based on liquidity constraints alone, representing a lower bound on the role of anchoring. Disclosures implemented by the CARD Act, an example of one potential policy solution to anchoring, resulted in fewer than 1% of accounts adopting an alternative suggested payment. Based on back-of-envelope calculations, the disclosures led to $62 million in interest savings per year, but would have saved over $2 billion per year if all anchoring consumers had adopted the new suggested payment. Our results show that anchoring to a salient contractual term has a significant impact on household debt.

  • Nov172016DR@W Forum - Jerker Denrell (WBS, Behavioural Science Group) & Adam Sanborn (Psychology, Warwick)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Library (Wolfson Exchange Area Room 3)

    Jerker Denrell (Behavioural Science Group) & Adam Sanborn (Department of Psychology) - Date(s) - 17 November 2016

    Implicit corrections for missing feedback: Imputation vs. statistical models

    In many real-life settings feedback is only available for cases decision makers accept. How do people learn from such selective feedback? There are two approaches in statistics for this kind of missing data: imputing the missing values, and using a statistical model of the task. Elwin et al. (2007) provided evidence that people rely on a type of imputation called ‘constructivist coding’, i.e., people code rejected cases, for which no feedback is available, as failures. It is not intuitively obvious whether relying on this kind of internally generated feedback is sensible or leads to bias in an exemplar model. To examine this, we formally analyze the impact of constructivist coding on the performance of exemplar learning algorithms. Our analysis shows that constructivist coding is an adaptive strategy: it maximizes the total reward. The reason is that constructivist coding compensates for the failure of exemplar algorithms to take selection-bias into account. In two experiments we then test whether participants impute missing values through constructivist coding, or use a statistical model of the task to correct for selection bias. These experiments have a simple setup: a financial advisor is predicting the amount an investment will return, but the advisor’s predictions are noisy and have an unknown bias. Participants decide on each trial whether to invest, receiving feedback only if they do so. We find that about half of participants use an exemplar model; a large majority of these participants use constructivist coding, some of whom internally generate values that are very close to optimal. The other half of participants correct for selective feedback with a sensible task-specific strategy, the majority of whom correct for bias using a Bayesian model of the task.

  • Oct272016DR@W Forum - Amelia Hunt (Aberdeen)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Library (Wolfson Exchange Area Room 3)

    "Choice and consequence in eye movements and beyond" Amelia Hunt (Aberdeen)

    Deciding how to allocate one’s attention when faced with multiple competing goals is a dilemma we all face in daily life. These decisions can have serious consequences — for example, in splitting your attention while driving. An important factor that should weigh into such a decision is the limitations of your own abilities. That is, if you have adequate skill and the tasks are not too demanding, you can complete multiple tasks in a given time interval. but if the tasks are difficult, you should focus all your efforts on completing one task. Using eye movements as a starting point, we observe that people fail to take the strengths and limitations of their own visual acuity into account when deciding where to look to detect a target that could appear in multiple possible locations. We extend this conclusion beyond eye movements into two other tasks (throwing and memorization), and show that the results cannot be accounted for by a lack of accurate information about one’s own probability of success given their level of skill and the set of possible decisions that person could make. We also find that experience and training have a severely limited ability to improve decision efficiency in these tasks. The results reveal surprising shortcomings in human decisions. I will speculate on the decision rules and biases that could lead to inefficient decisions in the specific situations in which we have observed them.

  • Oct202016DR@W Forum - Kirill Pogorelskiy (Economics, Warwick)2:30pm - 3:45pm,

    Title: Media Bias and News Sharing on Social Networks: A Laboratory Study

    Abstract: In this paper we use lab experiments to study the relationship between social media and voting in elections. Our treatments mimic the features of social networks (obtaining information from friends) in the presence of media bias (obtaining information from biased media outlets) in order to address concerns in both the academic and popular press literatures that voters obtaining their political news and information from social media outlets may become more polarized in their voting behavior. Our preliminary results suggest substantial effects of polarization at the expense of efficient information aggregation by voting: in all treatments voters publicly send out signals favorable to their party more often than signals unfavorable to their party, and also vote according to their private signals more often if the signal is favorable. Media bias lowers efficiency, and its negative effects are amplified when voters only exchange information with other voters with the same party preferences (our polarized social media treatment). All in all, our results provide tentative support to concerns that by filtering out unfavorable content social media may lead to polarization in voting behaviour.

  • Oct132016DR@W Forum - Gerri Spassova (Monash)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Library (Wolfson Exchange Area Room 3)

    "Uniformity aversion in judgements of expertise. When being right looks wrong" Gerro Spassova (Monash)

    The present research documents a phenomenon we label “uniformity aversion,” whereby a critic who evaluates several options as qualitatively equal is seen as less of an expert relative to a critic whose evaluations exhibit variance. Importantly, the phenomenon is observed in the presence of strong accuracy cues indicating that the options are more likely to be of the same quality. We test uniformity aversion in a series of studies, using different product settings and different accuracy cues. The mechanism underlying uniformity aversion is discussed.

  • Oct062016DR@W Forum - Nick Powdthavee (WBS Behavioural Science Group)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Library (Wolfson Exchange Area Room 1)

    "Do economists care more about the average signal than total productivity in academic publications? A randomized survey experiment" Nick Powdthavee (WBS Behavioural Science Group)

    It is well-known that a person’s publications are very important for judgments made in hiring, tenure, and promotions of academics. Yet, there seems to be little research on what characteristics of such lists economists consider in making these judgments. In the current study, we conduct a survey experiment on faculty members of economics departments from 44 universities around the World. By randomly assigning people to rate different hypothetical CVs, we find that economists tend to rate shorter CVs higher than longer CVs in single evaluation, even though longer CVs have everything that the shorter CVs have. However, the differences in the ratings disappear when they are asked to rate the short and long CVs together in a joint evaluation.

  • Jun232016DR@W Forum: Peiran Jiao (University of Oxford)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)

    Experience-Based Belief Distortion: When Experience is Information-Free

    People overweight experience relative to descriptive and observational information, in games, portfolio choice, etc. However, little is known about how beliefs are biased by experienced payoffs. This paper offers a simple model of experience-based belief distortion, where the decision maker with good (bad) experience misinterprets bad (good) signals, and overestimates future good (bad) states. Two experiments were conducted to test the model predictions. The first experiment asked subjects to predict future prices after viewing some stock price charts, and experienced gain/loss was exogenously assigned. The second experiment further provided information about the outcome-generating processes to allow for Bayesian updating as a benchmark. Subjects who gained reported significantly more optimistic guesses than those who lost after viewing the same sequence; in belief updating, they overweighted new evidence in favor of the signal from which they gained.

  • Jun162016DR@W Forum: Mahnaz Nazneen (Department of Economics)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)

    Gender Roles and Bargaining Behaviour: A Lab Experiment in Bangladesh

    There is ample evidence of gender differences in bargaining behaviour, observed in the laboratory. One possible explanation of such behaviour is Social Role Theory (SRT) which suggests that, men and women behave differently in social situations and take different roles due to expectations that society puts upon them, that almost all behavioural differences are the result of stereotypes. The aim of the study is to examine if there are gender difference in a bargaining behaviour and if these differences can be explained by SRT in a society where perceptions of gender roles are strongly formed. A standard ultimatum game was used to observe bargaining behaviour among 222 university students in a laboratory experiment in Bangladesh. Subjects were randomly assigned to a control or treatment session; where in the latter, subjects read a small vignette about how preferences of individuals are heterogeneous and depend on a number of factors including gender. The purpose of the vignette is to prime for gender differences in behaviour. The main finding is that both men and women Responders ask for a higher MAO when they are partnered with a female Proposer, in the treatment session, after controlling for personality traits, intelligence and risk preferences. Regardless of their gender, the prime influences behaviour of both men and women in a similar manner and overpowers their initial perception (if any) about gender roles. Also, consistent with the literature, I find no significant difference in the Proposer behaviour. I conclude that there is no gender bias per se. Only when subjects are nudged or provided with additional information, they adjust their belief about the other person’s behaviour and mostly this information or signal comes from the society. So, the findings are consistent with Social Role Theory.

  • May262016DR@W Forum: Janina Hoffmann (University of Konstanz)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)

    Capacity restrictions in human judgment

    Making accurate judgments such as choosing a job candidate presumes an adequate weighting of more and less important aspects, say the candidate’s skills. People may find out the importance of different cues by testing rules specifying how the cues relate to the criterion. In this talk, I will present evidence from three studies suggesting that this ability to test rules is restricted by working memory capacity. In a large individual difference study, we first investigated how working memory and episodic memory affect judgment accuracy. The ability to solve rule-based tasks was predicted by working memory, whereas episodic memory predicted judgment accuracy in the exemplar-based task. Second, increasing working memory load reduced the prevalence of rule-based strategies and ultimately benefitted judgment accuracy in a task that could not be solved by rules. In a final step, we incorporated the assumption that a capacity limit restricts rule-based learning into a learning model and tested it against two alternative psychological mechanisms: a decay in learning speed and attentional learning. A capacity-restricted learning model best described and predicted the learning curve of the majority of participants. Taken together, these studies suggest that learning to accurately weigh the importance of different aspects is limited by working memory capacity.

  • May192016DR@W Forum: Giorgio Coricelli (USC Dornsife)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)
  • May122016DR@W Forum: Graham Loomes (Warwick Business School) and Lukasz Walasek (Department of Psychology)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area Room 1)

    Intrinsic and Extraneous Noise in Risky Choice Experiments

    Graham Loomes (Warwick Business School) and Lukasz Walasek (Department of Psychology)

    Participants' responses in decision experiments are 'noisy': when presented with exactly the same choice at different moments within the same experiment, many people are liable to answer differently from one moment to another. Some of this may be due to intrinsic variability in the way people generate their decisions; but the experimental environment may also have an impact - e.g. the complexity of the task, the workload, the (lack of) incentives. Moreover, in principle, extraneous and intrinsic factors may interact, and may operate to different degrees for different individuals, making it harder to identify core preferences. Can we identify/separate/measure such effects? We present some results which may shed light on these issues.

  • May052016DR@W Forum: James Goulding (University of Nottingham)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)

    Neo-demographics: New ways of analysing human behaviour from Big DataIn the age of mass digital communications, loyalty cards, social networking and mobile phones that never seem to leave our possession, each of us is leaving an incredible array of data in our wake. When aggregated, these mass datasets have unparalleled potential to reveal insights into individual behavioural patterns, to unearth unexpected groups and communities, and identify trends as they emerge across a population.

    The EPSRC Neo-demographics project has brought together a team of computer scientists, mathematicians, business researchers and psychologists to explore that potential via multi-disciplinary methods. In collaboration with multinational industry partners, we are examining the novel behavioural patterns that can be mined from these datasets, and whether such mass analytics can be employed for social good.

    In this talk, I will discuss the Neo-demographics project’s progress, presenting 1. some of the novel machine learning techniques that have been developed to analyse human behaviour; 2. applications of our work in East Africa for international development and social policy; and 3. a 3D visualization system via we visualize results, called the ‘PARM’.

  • Apr072016DR@W Forum: Anca Hanea (University of Melbourne)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)

    An IDEA of how to get the best out of experts

    This talk presents a fairly novel structured expert judgement (SEJ) protocol for quantifying parameter uncertainty using multiple experts. Generally, multiple expert opinions need to be aggregated. The two main flavours of aggregation, behavioural and mathematical, define two main classes of SEJ protocols. A third one, the so-called “mixed” approach combines aspects of both behavioural and mathematical methods. The IDEA protocol proposed here mixes specific elements from the three SEJ classes of approaches mentioned above, such that their disadvantages are minimised and their respective advantages cumulate. The acronym IDEA arises from the combination of the key features of the protocol that distinguish it from other structured elicitation procedures: it encourages experts to Investigate, Discuss, and Estimate, following which judgements are combined using mathematical Aggregation.

    The experts give their individual opinions in subsequent rounds of elicitations, in a remote manner. In the first round, the experts are required to answer the questions without engaging in any (virtual) discussion with the other experts. They are then given the opportunity to discuss differences of opinion and reconcile the meaning of questions and context. The debate is remote (using an online platform) rather than face-to-face. This has the advantage of promoting the wisdom of crowds, whilst avoiding the tensions associated with group discussion between dominating personalities. The second estimate is again individual and strictly anonymous. At the end of the second round the output is a set of estimates that should further be mathematically aggregated. Several aggregation rules, many of them performance based, can be used and compared. Experts’ performance may be measured in terms of accuracy, calibration and informativness.

  • Mar172016DR@W Forum: Ganna Pogrebna (WMG)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)

    Evaluation Periods and Decision Making in For-Profit versus Non-Profit Domains (with Carlo Perroni and Kimberley Scharf)

    Investors who are more willing to accept risks when evaluating their investments less frequently are said to exhibit myopic loss aversion (MLA). Several experimental studies (Gneezy and Potters, 1997; Haigh and List, 2005, Langer and Weber, 2005, etc.) found that, in the “for-profit” domain, subjects bet significantly higher amounts of money on a risky lottery when they observe only a cumulative outcome of several realizations of the lottery (long evaluation period) than when they observe a series of individual realizations of this lottery (short evaluation period). We analyse decision making in the short evaluation period and the long evaluation period in the “non-profit” domain and find the reverse effect: people tend to donate more to charity when the evaluation period is short even if charitable giving involves risk. We provide a theoretical explanation of our findings which does not require an assumption of loss-aversion.

  • Mar102016DR@W Forum: Ralph Hertwig (Max Planck Institute for Human Development)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)
  • Mar032016DR@W Forum: John Fox (University of Oxford)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)

    Will AI revolutionise the decision sciences? A medical perspective.

    Headlines about medical errors and health service failures appear more and more frequently in the media. The general public and health professionals are now aware that medical practice is facing enormous challenges that affect the quality and safety of our clinical services. This has generated public and political pressure to look for solutions; the press often wants to know who to blame, while the politically minded see the need for greater privatisation, organisational change or bigger budgets. This is a global problem, not just one for the NHS.

    As a cognitive scientist I see many of the underlying problems as arising from human cognitive limitations and how we bring our knowledge to bear in our reasoning, decision-making, planning etc. For example, decision-making is pivotal to everything we do individually, in groups and in organisations. Uncertainty and risk make decision making difficult - and uncertainty and risk pervade medicine so medicine is a fascinating model for cognitive research. Indeed there is now much talk about how “cognitive computing” and artificial intelligence will “revolutionise medicine”.

    This talk will briefly overview some of my research on human expertise and the use of AI in medicine. I will argue that AI systems based on an understanding of human cognition and decision-making can improve quality, safety and efficiency of patient care, perhaps more than political and managerial interventions can. AI and its subfields, like knowledge engineering and machine learning, are showing us how machines can do human-level tasks well, cope with uncertainty, manage risks better, make more objective, evidence-based choices, plan and act more effectively in complex and rapidly evolving situations, while allowing people to retain control.

    Will AI will revolutionise medicine? we don’t know yet. However, I am also interested in the question - whether AI and its subsidiary fields, like knowledge representation and autonomous systems, offer significant new insights into human reasoning and decision-making. The possibility that the decision sciences might themselves be revolutionised by the new wave of AI seems ripe for discussion.

  • Feb252016DR@W Forum: Andis Sofianos, Neel Sagar (Department of Economics)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)
  • Feb182016DR@W Forum: Silvia Montagna (Department of Statistics)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)
  • Feb112016DR@W Forum: Sebastian Olschewski (University of Basel)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)
  • Feb042016DR@W Forum: Philipp Külpmann (Department of Economics)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)
  • Jan282016DR@W Forum: Kirill Pogorelskiy (Department of Economics)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)
  • Jan212016DR@W Forum: Sharun Mukand (Department of Economics)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)
  • Dec102015DR@W Forum: Stian Reimers (City University London)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)
  • Dec032015DR@W Forum: Andrea Isoni (Warwick Business School)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)
  • Nov262015DR@W Forum: John Arthur (Department of Statistics)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)

    Managing Appetite for Complexity through Heuristic Software: Risk-Reasoning in Global Supply Chains

    In complex, dispersed and dynamic real-world systems, like global supply chain design, human beings reason in sophisticated ways. Ethnographic evidence, however, highlights paradoxes. Critical reasoning components – like the conceptualisation and control of risk to protect the value chain – can prove bafflingly basic and openly illogical.

    Psychological drivers, such as over-generalised cognitive heuristics, cultural demand characteristics and low tolerance for complexity, are observable causes. This talk demonstrates heuristic software tools designed to enhance the flow of real world expert knowledge to redress ‘complexity appetite failure’ in supply chain risk reasoning.

  • Nov192015DR@W Forum: Constantinos Antoniou (Warwick Business School)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)
  • Nov052015DR@W Forum: Neel Sagar (Department of Economics)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)

    Well-being priorities over the life cycle

    Subjective well-being levels over the life cycle have been extensively studied. However, well-being priorities over the life cycle have not. I find there is a U-shape over the life cycle in the importance people place upon long term ‘cognitive' measures of well-being (worthwhileness of life, and overall life satisfaction), whilst this relationship is hump-shaped for short term ‘affective' measures (happiness yesterday, and anxiety). Using a simple model, I show that differences in time horizons and optimisation goals between individuals at different life stages may explain these relationships.

  • Oct292015DR@W Forum: TBA2:30pm - 3:45pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)
  • Oct222015DR@W Forum: Ganna Pogrebna (Warwick Manufacturing Group)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)
  • Oct152015DR@W Forum: Arthur Attema (iBMG)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)
  • Oct082015DR@W Forum: Jean-Marc Tallon (Pantheon-Sorbonne University)2:30pm - 3:45pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)

    "Robust social decisions" - co-authored with E. Danan, T. Gajdos and B. Hill

    We propose and operationalize normative principles to guide social decisions when individuals potentially have imprecise and heterogeneous beliefs, in addition to conflicting tastes or interests. To do so we adapt the standard Pareto principle to those preference comparisons that are robust to belief imprecision and characterize social preferences that respect this robust Pareto principle. We similarly characterize a suitable restriction of this principle. The former principle provides stronger guidance when it can be satisfied; when it cannot, the latter always provides minimal guidance.

  • Jun252015DR@W Forum: Daniel Read (Warwick Business School)2:30pm - 3:50pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)

    "Tests for rational disclosure"

    According to the theory of rational disclosure, if there is an information asymmetry between two parties, and the more knowledgeable party can provide that information credibly, unless the information is truly embarrassing, that party should rationally choose to disclose it. Similarly, the party who receives the information should interpret any missing information as indicating something truly embarrassing.

    What this means in practice is that if your are filling out your CV and there is one year that you spent doing something slightly shameful, you should nonetheless put it on your CV because otherwise everyone will assume you spent that year in jail (or worse).

    I will describe some recent studies, carried out with Sunita Sah, concerning whether people do reveal information as predicted by the theory of rational disclosure, and if they do not whether information consumers interpret that failure as they should. The answer to both questions will turn out to be “No.”

  • Jun182015DR@W Forum: Philippe Blanchard (Department of Politics and International Studies)2:30pm - 3:50pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)

    "How optimal is optimal matching?"

    Most of the sequence analysis literature in the social sciences relies on the optimal matching algorithm. Imported and adapted from computer science and genetics in the 1980s, this tool has enabled unique advances in the study of professional careers, life course and spatial trajectories, time use patterns, regime change or electoral behaviours.

    Yet its foundations remain surprisingly frail, with heterogeneous justifications and uses. A closer examination reveals a complex and varying combination of theoretical principles, authoritative case studies and powerful statistical procedures. However, the algorithm remains attractive, but unevenly across theoretical expectations, contexts of applications and analytical strategies.

  • Jun112015DR@W Forum: Behavioural Science PhD Students2:30pm - 3:50pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)

    Neel Sagar

    Personality mismatch and the well-being of labour

    Unemployment has been shown to have a strong negative impact on an individual's subjective well-being. I hypothesise that even the employed suffer a reduction in well-being, when there is a mismatch between a worker's personality traits and ‘ideal' traits required for their job. I show that worker well-being is substantially lower among individuals whose personalities are poorly matched to the requirements of their job. Furthermore, mismatch is associated with lower well-being even when job satisfaction is accounted for, suggesting that being mismatched in personality may have welfare implications outside the work environment.

    Andis Sofianos

    Higher Intelligence Groups Have Higher Cooperation Rates in the Repeated Prisoner's Dilemma

    Intelligence affects the social outcomes of groups. A systematic study of the link is provided in an experiment where two groups of subjects with different levels of intelligence, but otherwise similar, play a repeated prisoner's dilemma. Initial cooperation rates are similar, but increase in the groups with higher intelligence to reach almost full cooperation, while they decline in the groups with lower intelligence. Cooperation of higher intelligence subjects is payoff sensitive and not automatic: in a treatment with lower continuation probability there is no difference between different intelligence groups.

  • Jun042015DR@W Forum: Ron Harstad (University of Missouri)2:30pm - 3:50pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)

    "Discerning Efficiency Shortfalls Without Knowing Valuations"

    Laboratory experiments employing an induced-values methodology often report on allocative efficiencies observed. That methodology requires experimenters know subjects’ motivations precisely, questionable in laboratory experiments, impossible in field experiments. Allocative efficiency implies a hypothetical costless aftermarket would be inactive. An allocation mechanism’s outcome is defined to be behaviorally efficient if an appropriate aftermarket is actually appended to the mechanism and measures at most a negligible size of remaining mutually beneficial gains. I specify methodological requirements for an appropriate aftermarket. A first demonstration observes significantly larger behavioral inefficiencies in second- than in first-price auctions. A simple field demonstration indicates when a public-good increase can be observed to cover marginal cost to subjects’ mutual benefit, without knowing valuations. A wide variety of empirical economic-policy studies can utilize this methodology to observe comparative evidence of alternative policies’ allocative-efficiency shortfalls.

  • Jun042015Twitter for Academics Workshop11:30am - 12:30pm,

    Rafael Batista leads this interactive workshop for academic staff and PhD Students. The aim of this workshop is to put Warwick’s Behavioural Science GRP on the grid. Academics active on social media are more accessible to other academics, professionals in the industry, and the general public.

    This workshop will be a crash course on Twitter for academics. We’ll run through the basics of a Twitter account and share some good practices on how to engage with others via Twitter. I will also discuss the role of Twitter in the publication lifecycle.

    Those who attend will leave with:
    a) an active Twitter account
    b) some clue of #hashtags, Tweets, and Follows and
    c) an understanding of how to “publish” research in 140 characters

    This workshop is intended for researchers at all levels of their careers. I hope to keep it short, sweet, and to the point (after all, this is what Twitter is all about).

    Register your place on the following link:

  • May282015DR@W Forum: Adam Sanborn and James Tripp (Psychology Department)2:30pm - 3:50pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)

    Adam Sanborn, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology will present Learning quickly, but sampling responses

    Many everyday estimation tasks ask about discrete objects (How many paint buckets?) or require discrete responses (How many paint buckets are needed to paint a room?). We use Bayesian decision theory to characterize how people make discrete numerical responses, finding that participants learn quickly and accurately from experience but do not always choose the best response.

    James Tripp, Research Fellow, Department of Psychology, will present Sampling strategies: People are correct some of the time.

    Do people use the correct strategy when combining probability information? We present an individual-level Bayesian analysis of data from a conjunction and disjunction estimation task (N=105). The correct strategy was used some of the time and many people sample strategies on a trial-by-trial basis.

  • May212015DR@W Forum: Simon French (Statistics)2:30pm - 3:50pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)

    Rescheduling of Simon’s Talk from the Spring Term

    “Presenting uncertain geographic information to decision makers with an application to crisis management in COBR."

    COBR, the UK's National Crisis Centre (actually an abbreviation of the Cabinet Office's Briefing Room) has to deal with many uncertainties in emergencies. SAGE, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, are a group of experts charged with explaining the issues and uncertainties to government ministers and senior officials.

    In the case of a radiation accident how should they present information to COBR about the possible spread of contamination. It is easy to criticise what they currently do, but very difficult to do any better. The talk will describe the interim results and ideas from a project wrestling with problem.

  • May142015DR@W Forum: Judith Klein (Warwick Medical School)2:30pm - 3:50pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)

    The imbalance in good habits (e.g. exercise) and bad habits (e.g. unhealthy food) is evident in the prevalence of obesity. We propose to monitor urine insulin levels to provide people with weight loss intent with molecular feed-back on their metabolic state.

    Our mobile health platform available at and as applications for apple and android devices allows users to log five types of events (food, activity, weight, urine, ketostix). Results we have obtained so far when varying meal type and timing suggests the approach may help people make life-style changes and health care professionals to provide feedback to them.

  • May072015DR@W Forum: Sudeep Bhatia (Warwick Business School)2:30pm - 3:50pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)

    "A Model of Associative Judgment"

    I present a computational model of associative judgment. The model is trained on the English language Wikipedia corpus, and is able to answer unstructured judgment problems spanning an almost universal domain of knowledge. The model achieves a high accuracy rate across a range of experimenter-generated, participant-generated, and real-world question datasets.

    The model also accurately predicts human responses on these datasets. These results suggest that associative judgment provides a powerful account of not only human error, but also human intelligence. In doing so, they illustrate a new approach to constructing and testing models of judgment and decision making.

  • Apr302015DR@W Forum: Gidi Nave (Caltech)2:30pm - 3:50pm, Wolfson Research Exchange Seminar Room 1

    Testosterone impairs cognitive reflection in men

    Co-authors: Amos Nadler, Colin Camerer

    The male sex hormone testosterone (T) is released in the body and the brain in response to external stimuli, influencing diverse social behaviors context sensitively. We investigated the causal effects of T administration on human decision-making using a dual-process framework.

    244 males received either T or placebo under a double blind protocol and took the Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT) that assesses one's ability to suppress an intuitive incorrect answer in favor of a deliberative correct answer. T administration significantly impaired subject’s CRT performances. The effects were robust to controlling for math skills, age, mood and the levels of other measured hormones.

  • Apr172015Spring Holiday DR@W Talk: Daniel Bartels (University of Chicago)2:00pm - 3:00pm, Seminar room 1, Wolfson Research Exchange

    We are pleased to have Daniel Bartels with us who will be giving a DR@W Talk on this Friday 17th April from 2-3pm in the Wolfson Research Exchange, Seminar room 1.

    "Reference Points and Credit Card Statements"

    Each month, consumers receive credit card statements that include numeric values, such as minimum payments, that influence their repayment decisions. Through several experiments and examination of a large credit card data set, we find that these values can serve as motivating targets and can be used to increase monthly payments.

    Daniel M. Bartels, Abigail B. Sussman - University of Chicago

  • Mar262015DR@W Forum: Matthias Sutter (University of Innsbruck)2:30pm - 3:50pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)

    Forensic economics: How customers’ insurance coverage induces sellers’ fraud in markets for credence goods

    In markets for credence goods experts are better informed about the appropriate quality than their customers. Moreover, consumers are often unable to observe the quality they actually received. This leaves scope for misbehavior of the expert.

    This paper reports on a natural field experiment in the Austrian market for computer repair services set up to measure the impact of informing the service provider that an insurance company will pay the repair bill on the extent and type of fraud. In the control the average repair price is about 70 € versus about 129 € when the service provider is informed that an insurance will cover the cost.

    Decomposing the treatment effect into different types of fraud we find that the difference in repair prices is mainly due to overprovision (replacing more parts than necessary) and to overcharging in the working time dimension (charging for more working time than actually provided).

  • Mar192015DR@W Forum: Amrish Patel (University of Gothenburg)2:30pm - 3:50pm, Wolfson Research Exchange Seminar Room 1

    "Causal Overdetermination and Blame"

    If two banks short-sell a stock the market crashes. Four banks simultaneously short-sell, each believing that all others will do so too. Who is blame for the crash? Responsibility attribution when there are multiple sufficient causes for an outcome is no doubt a thorny issue.

    I motivate why it is important economists grapple with this topic and review insights from cognate disciplines (philosophy, artificial intelligence and cognitive psychology) that may help. Finally, I sketch some very preliminary research ideas to fuel discussion.

  • Mar122015Big Data for Behavioural Science: Suzy Moat and Tobias Preis2:00pm - 4:00pm, M2, WBS Teaching Centre

    Join us for the very first in a series of special GRP Behavioural Science Events, exploring each of the themes of the Behavioural Science Global Research Priority.

    Our everyday interactions with the Internet, our smartphones and smart cards are generating increasing volumes of data on human behaviour. This session will be chaired by Suzy Moat and Tobias Preis (Data Science Lab, Behavioural Science Group, Warwick Business School) and will explore the possibilities offered by Big Data for Behavioural Science.

    There will be an introduction by the chairs and a series of short talks by invited speakers including Professor Andrew Oswald (Department of Economics), Professor Rob Procter (Department of Computer Science) and Professor Neil Stewart (Department of Psychology), followed by a general discussion with the audience and panel.

    The event will take place in M2 (WBS Teaching Centre) from 2.15 p.m. – 4 p.m. Tea and coffee will be available from 2 p.m. in the WBS Teaching Centre. All are welcome!

  • Mar052015DR@W Forum: Andrew Siu (Department of Economics)2:30pm - 3:50pm, Wolfson Research Exchange Seminar Room 1

    "How Intuitive and Analytic Thinkers Punish Norm Violators out of Anger"

    Punishing norm violators can sustain social cooperation. But some violators are left unpunished when punishers must pay to impose penalty. We experimentally examine how two dispositional factors—intuitive and analytic thinking—and anger towards violators affect the way individuals punish at different prices of punishment.

    We find that (a) highly intuitive thinkers are more insensitive to price changes than the less intuitive; (b) less analytic thinkers punish more than the highly analytic; (c) highly intuitive, angry people are much more insensitive than less intuitive, angry people; (d) angry people still pay attention to punishment prices.

  • Feb262015DR@W Forum: Robb Rutledge (UCL)2:30pm - 3:50pm, Wolfson Research Exchange Seminar Room 1

    "A neural and computational model of momentary subjective well-being"

    The subjective well-being or happiness of individuals is an important metric for societies, but we know little about how the cumulative influence of daily life events are aggregated into subjective feelings. Using computational modeling, we show that momentary subjective well-being in a probabilistic reward task is explained not by task earnings, but by the combined influence of recent reward expectations and prediction errors arising from those expectations.

    The robustness of this account was evident in a large-scale smartphone-based replication with 18,420 participants.

  • Feb192015DR@W Forum: Simon French (Department of Statistics)2:30pm - 3:50pm, Wolfson Research Exchange Seminar Room 1

    “Presenting uncertain geographic information to decision makers with an application to crisis management in COBR."

    COBR, the UK's National Crisis Centre (actually an abbreviation of the Cabinet Office's Briefing Room) has to deal with many uncertainties in emergencies. SAGE, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, are a group of experts charged with explaining the issues and uncertainties to government ministers and senior officials. In the case of a radiation accident how should they present information to COBR about the possible spread of contamination. It is easy to criticise what they currently do, but very difficult to do any better. The talk will describe the interim results and ideas from a project wrestling with problem.

  • Feb122015DR@W Forum: Pedro Bordalo (Royal Holloway, University of London)2:30pm - 3:50pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)

    "Memory, Attention and Choice"

    Abstract: We present a theory of consumer choice that combines elements of limited recall and of allocation of attention distorted by salience. The theory helps clarify and organize a variety of evidence dealing with consumer reaction to information, including surprises in quality and prices, unshrouding of hidden attributes such as taxes or maintenance costs, and reminders.

    A common feature of the empirical evidence, which our model sheds light on but standard models do not explain, is that consumers under or overreact to information, depending on what draws their attention. We also present a normative analysis of reaction to reminders which adjusts the more standard ``sufficient statistic'' methodology.

  • Feb052015DR@W Forum: Victoria Henderson (Department of Statistics)2:30pm - 3:50pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)

    "Randomized Strategies and Prospect Theory in a Dynamic Context"

    We consider CPT agents who face optimal timing decisions in a dynamic setting, e.g. when to stop gambling in a casino or when to liquidate stocks. It is known that probability weighting leads to time inconsistency and a naïve agent may follow a different strategy to that which he initially planned to follow (Barberis (2012)).

    However, it also leads to another feature which has not been considered to date - agents may prefer randomised strategies to pure strategies, i.e. CPT agents should spin a coin to help them reach an optimal solution. In the discrete model of Barberis (2012) we show that allowing randomized strategies leads to significant gains in CPT value. In the continuous model of Ebert and Strack (2014) we show their extreme conclusion that naïve CPT agents gamble “until the bitter end’’ is no longer valid if the agent has a coin in his pocket.

  • Jan292015DR@W Forum: Ben Newell (University of New South Wales)2:30pm - 3:50pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)

    "Are risk and delay psychologically equivalent? Evidence from direct comparisons."

    We know a lot about people’s time preferences. We also know a lot about people’s risk preferences. We know much less about how risk and delay interact. Consider an individual who is indifferent between receiving $90 in 8 months or receiving $50 now; and similarly indifferent between a 60% chance of receiving $90 or $50 for certain. What would happen if they were asked to choose between receiving $90 in 8 months or a 60% chance of $90 now? Strict psychological equivalence of risk and delay predicts indifference here too.

    I will present some recent work in which we have attempted to elicit and model people’s preferences for these kinds of choices in the hope of shedding light on what has been described as the “complex and not easily understood” (Weber & Chapman, 2005, p.104) interaction of risk and delay.

  • Jan222015DR@W Forum: Alex Voorhoeve (LSE)2:30pm - 3:50pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)

    Ambiguity Attitudes, Framing, and Consistency (joint work with Ken Binmore, Arnaldur Stefansson and Lisa Stewart)

    We use probability-matching variations on Ellsberg’s single-urn experiment to assess both the sensitivity of ambiguity attitudes to framing and the consistency with which subjects display these attitudes within a single frame. Contrary to most other studies, we find very little change in ambiguity attitudes due to a switch from a gain to a loss frame; we also find that making ambiguity easier to recognize has little effect. Regarding consistency, we find that 28% of subjects are highly inconsistent choosers; roughly the same share are highly consistent. Ambiguity attitudes depend on consistency: ambiguity seeking is much more frequent among inconsistent choosers; consistent choosers are much more likely to be ambiguity neutral.

  • Jan152015DR@W Forum: Leif Brandes (Warwick Business School)2:30pm - 3:50pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)

    The Value of Top-Down Communication for Organizational Performance

    We design a laboratory experiment to identify causal performance effects of top-down communication between managers and their subordinates. Our focus lies on communication that resolves uncertainty about the work environment but does not provide task-specific knowledge.

    Recent articles in the business press report a lack of such communication in real-world organizations and associate it with reduced organizational performance. Our results confirm this observation. We find that top-down communication is a profitable way for managers to increase employee performance in the presence of uncertainty. Specifically, we show that non-communication is the worst option for managers.

    However, 50 percent of our experimental managers use top-down communication too restrictively. Overall, managers forego 30 percent of their potential profits through non-communication. We show that organizations can overcome this problem by adopting automated information procedures, which are equally effective.

  • Jan082015DR@W Forum: David Gill (University of Oxford)2:30pm - 3:50pm, Warwick Library (Wolfson Research Exchange Area- Room 1)

    Cognitive ability, character skills, and learning to play equilibrium: A level-k analysis

    In this paper we investigate how cognitive ability and character skills influence behavior, success and the evolution of play towards Nash equilibrium in repeated strategic interactions.

    We study behavior in a $p$-beauty contest experiment and find striking differences according to cognitive ability: more cognitively able subjects choose numbers closer to equilibrium, converge more frequently to equilibrium play and earn more even as behavior approaches the equilibrium prediction.

    To understand better how subjects with different cognitive abilities learn differently, we estimate a structural model of learning based on level-$k$ reasoning. We find a systematic positive relationship between cognitive ability and levels; furthermore, the average level of more cognitively able subjects responds positively to the cognitive ability of their opponents, while the average level of less cog-nitively able subjects does not respond.

    Finally, we compare the influence of cognitive ability to that of character skills, and find that both cognition and personality affect behavior and learning. More agreeable and emotionally stable subjects perform better and learn faster, although the effect of cognitive ability on behavior is stronger than that of character skills.