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Imitation under stress

Magdalena Buckert, Jörg Oechssler and Christiane Schwieren

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2017, vol. 139, issue C, 252-266

Abstract: Imitation has been shown to be an important heuristic, in particular in relatively complex environments. In this experiment we test whether subjects are more likely to use imitation if they are under time pressure or distracted. Subjects play a repeated Cournot oligopoly. Treatments are time pressure within the task and distractions through a second task (a Stroop-task) that has to be performed as well and influences payment. We additionally measure stress levels through salivary cortisol and heart rate. Our main findings are that time pressure and distraction can raise physiological stress levels of subjects within our task. More importantly from an economic perspective, we can also observe a corresponding behavioral change that is indicative of imitation.

Keywords: Stress; Cortisol; Heart rate; Imitation; Experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 C72 D74 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Working Paper: Imitation under stress (2014) Downloads
Working Paper: Imitation under stress (2014) Downloads
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