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Spontaneous associations and label framing have similar effects in the public goods game

Kimmo Eriksson and Pontus Strimling

Judgment and Decision Making, 2014, vol. 9, issue 5, 360-372

Abstract: It is known that presentation of a meaningful label (e.g., "The Teamwork Game") can influence decisions in economic games. A common view is that such labels cue associations to preexisting mental models of situations, a process here called frame selection. In the absence of such cues, participants may still spontaneously associate a game with a preexisting frame. We used the public goods game to compare the effect of such spontaneous frame selection with the effect of label framing. Participants in a condition where the public goods game was labeled "The Teamwork Game" tended to contribute at the same level as participants who spontaneously associated the unlabeled game with teamwork, whereas those who did not associate the the unlabeled game with teamwork tended to make lower contributions. We conclude that neutrally described games may be subject to spontaneous frame selection effects comparable in size to the effects of label framing.

Keywords: public goods game; framing; subjective construal; perceptions; beliefs; cooperation; teamwork; better-than-average effect; hypothetical decisions; incentivized decisions. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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Handle: RePEc:jdm:journl:v:9:y:2014:i:5:p:360-372