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Instructions

David Freeman (), Erik Kimbrough, Garrett M. Petersen and Hanh T. Tong
Additional contact information
Garrett M. Petersen: Simon Fraser University
Hanh T. Tong: Simon Fraser University

Journal of the Economic Science Association, 2018, vol. 4, issue 2, 165-179

Abstract: Abstract A survey of instruction delivery and reinforcement methods in recent laboratory experiments reveals a wide and inconsistently reported variety of practices and limited research evaluating their effectiveness. Thus, we experimentally compare how methods of delivering and reinforcing experiment instructions impact subjects’ comprehension and retention of payoff-relevant information. We report a one-shot individual decision task in which non-money-maximizing behavior can be unambiguously identified and find that such behavior is prevalent in our baseline treatment which uses plain, but relatively standard experimental instructions. We find combinations of reinforcement methods that can eliminate half of non-money-maximizing behavior, and we find that we can induce a similar reduction via enhancements to the content of instructions. Residual non-money-maximizing behavior suggests that this may be an important source of noise in experimental studies.

Keywords: Attention; Comprehension; Instructions (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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