New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2014‒07‒28
three papers chosen by

  1. Using Cognitive Dissonance to Manipulate Social Preferences By Oxoby, Robert J.; Smith, Alexander
  2. Do Personality Traits Affect Productivity? Evidence from the Lab By Cubel, Maria; Nuevo-Chiquero, Ana; Sanchez-Pages, Santiago; Vidal-Fernández, Marian
  3. Individual Differences in Need for Cognition and Decision-Making Competence among Leaders By Carnevale, Jessica J.; Inbar, Yoel; Lerner, Jennifer S.

  1. By: Oxoby, Robert J. (University of Calgary); Smith, Alexander (Worcester Polytechnic Institute)
    Abstract: We explore the role of cognitive dissonance in dictator and public goods games. Specifically, we motivate cognitive dissonance between one's perception of “fair treatment” and self-interested behaviour by having participants answer a question about fairness. Utilizing two manipulations (reminding participants about their answer to the fairness question and publicly reporting aggregate answers to the question), we find that there is greater cognitive dissonance and behavioural change when there is a social component (i.e., reporting of aggregate answers). When a participant's answer to the fairness question is private, there is less dissonance and hence no behavioural change.
    Keywords: cognitive dissonance, experiments, social preferences
    JEL: C91 D64 H41
    Date: 2014–07
  2. By: Cubel, Maria (University of Barcelona); Nuevo-Chiquero, Ana (University of Sheffield); Sanchez-Pages, Santiago (University of Barcelona); Vidal-Fernández, Marian (University of New South Wales)
    Abstract: While survey data supports a strong relationship between personality and labor market outcomes, the exact mechanisms behind this association remain unexplored. In this paper, we take advantage of a controlled laboratory set-up to test whether this relationship operates through productivity, and isolate this mechanism from other channels such as bargaining ability or self-selection into jobs. Using a gender neutral real-effort task, we analyse the impact of the Big Five personality traits on performance. We find that more neurotic subjects perform worse, and that more conscientious individuals perform better. These findings are in line with previous survey studies and suggest that at least part of the effect of personality on labor market outcomes operates through productivity. In addition, we find evidence that gender and university major affect the impact of the Big Five personality traits on performance.
    Keywords: Big-Five, personality traits, experiment, labour productivity, performance
    JEL: C91 D03 J3 M5
    Date: 2014–07
  3. By: Carnevale, Jessica J.; Inbar, Yoel; Lerner, Jennifer S.
    Abstract: When making decisions, people sometimes deviate from normative standards. While such deviations may appear to be alarmingly common, examining individual differences may reveal a more nuanced picture. Specifically, the personality factor of need for cognition (i.e., the extent to which people engage in and enjoy effortful cognitive activities; Cacioppo & Petty, 1982) may moderate decision makers’ susceptibility to bias, as could personality factors associated with being a leader. As part of a large-scale assessment of high-level leaders, participants completed a battery of decision-making competence and personality scales. Leaders who scored higher on need for cognition performed better on two of four components of a decision-making competence measure: framing and honoring sunk costs. In addition, the leader sample performed better than published controls. Thus, both individual differences in need for cognition and leadership experience moderate susceptibility to decision biases. Implications for broader theories of individual differences and bias are discussed.
    Date: 2012–09–27

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NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.