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Does Focality Depend on the Mode of Cognition? Experimental Evidence on Pure Coordination Games

Ennio Bilancini, Leonardo Boncinelli () and Luigi Luini ()

Department of Economics University of Siena from Department of Economics, University of Siena

Abstract: We conduct a laboratory experiment to study how the mode of reasoning affects pure coordination in problems with and without an exogenous anchor that can serve as a focal point. The mode of reasoning is manipulated in the lab by requiring subjects to decide quickly (time pressure treatment) and, alternatively, by requiring subjects to motivate their decisions in a few lines of text (motivation treatment). This is meant to induce, respectively, a fast and intuitive mode of reasoning as opposed to a slow and deliberative one. Experimental data suggest that: (i) subjects take to the lab preexisting focalities that may have a common cultural root; (ii) the anchor is strongly focal and crowds out pre-existing focalities; (iii) such crowding out only happens for deliberative subjects. As a result, the anchor has an ambiguous effect on the overall ability of subjects to coordinate, making its desirability heavily dependent on the likelihood that subjects follow a slow and deliberative mode of reasoning.

Keywords: focal points; intuition; deliberation; time pressure; motivation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 D01 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-exp and nep-hpe
Date: 2017-01
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