nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2016‒01‒29
four papers chosen by
Daniel Houser
George Mason University

  1. Sleep Restriction and Time-of-Day Impacts On Simple Social Interaction (Moderate Sleep Restriction Increases Greed, Reduces Trust and Trustworthiness) By David L. Dickinson; Todd McElroy
  3. Does Confidence Predict Out-of-Domain Effort? By Prokudina, Elena; Renneboog, Luc; Tobler, Philippe
  4. The Many Faces of Human Sociality: Uncovering the Distribution and Stability of Social Preferences By Adrian Bruhin; Ernst Fehr; Daniel Schunk

  1. By: David L. Dickinson; Todd McElroy
    Abstract: Key Words: Simple bargaining games are the foundation of more complex social interactions necessary for healthy relationships and well-functioning societies. Neuroscience research has shown that high-level deliberative thinking processes are necessary for social-decision making—it seems cognitively less demanding to be greedy or to mistrust. In this paper, our focus is on how commonly-experienced adverse sleep states, which are known to harm deliberative thinking, impact outcomes in the classic simple bargaining games (ultimatum, dictator, and trust games). Specifically, we experimentally manipulate sleep states of 184 young-adult subjects who took part in a 3 week experimental protocol. Subjects were administered each game twice: once after a full week of sleep restriction and once after a full week of well-rested sleep levels. Subjects were also randomly assigned to early morning (7:30 am) or later evening (10:00 pm) sessions to manipulate the optimality of the time-of-day of the decisions. We find a robust result of increased greed, reduced trust, and reduced trustworthiness following sleep restriction, after controlling for demographics and session indicators. We find no significant direct impact of circadian timing on decisions for these tasks. However, the mediating variable for these sleep manipulation effects is subjective sleepiness, and both sleep restriction and suboptimal circadian timing significantly increase self-reported sleepiness. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that increased sleepiness reduces the relative input of deliberate thinking in social interactions.
    Date: 2016
  2. By: Mamta Sharma; Akankasha Sharma
    Abstract: Sleep, a vital ingredient in life, is an active and complex rhythmic state that may get disturbed by a variety of reasons. Daytime sleepiness, sleep deprivation, and irregular sleep schedules are highly prevalent among college students, as 50% report daytime sleepiness and 70% attain insufficient sleep. The study aims to evaluate the efficacy of music therapy in improving disturbed sleep patterns and low self-worth of university students. It was hypothesized that Post-intervention sleep quality scores in experimental group would be significantly better than pre-intervention scores; and Music therapy would enhance self-worth of university students. Participants in the experimental group would show improved self-worth relative to the participants in the control group. A pre-post experimental-control assessment design was adopted. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (Buysse DJ et al 1989) and Contingencies of Self Worth (Crocker & Luhtanen, 2002) were administered to identify university students having faulty sleep patterns and low self-worth. Music therapy was given for consecutive three weeks for half an hour daily. After intervention, sleep quality index and contingencies of self-worth were re-administered to see the efficacy of music therapy. Results revealed that music therapy made a significant improvement in students’ sleep patterns as significant difference was observed between both experimental and control groups on Subjective sleep quality (t=1.21*), Sleep latency (t=2.63*), Sleep duration (t=2.24*), Habitual sleep efficiency (t=4.64**), Sleep disturbances (t=10.46**), and Daytime dysfunction (t=3.97*). The effect of intervention was also found to be significant for self-worth domains for subjects of experimental group on physical appearance (t=2.42*), Outdoing others in competition (t=1.39*), Academic competence (t=2.16*), Being a virtuous or moral person (t=2.09*), and God’s love (t=1.64*) as the difference between experimental and control group came out to be statistically significant. Key words: sleep patterns, self worth, music, music therapy
    Date: 2015–12
  3. By: Prokudina, Elena (Tilburg University, Center For Economic Research); Renneboog, Luc (Tilburg University, Center For Economic Research); Tobler, Philippe (Tilburg University, Center For Economic Research)
    Abstract: Predicting worker’s effort is important in many different areas, but is often difficult. Using a laboratory experiment, we test the hypothesis that confidence, i.e. the person-specific beliefs about her abilities, can be used as a generic proxy to predict future effort provision. We measure confidence in the domain of financial knowledge in three different ways (self-assessed knowledge, probability-based confidence, and incentive-compatible confidence) and find a positive relation with actual effort provision in an unrelated domain. Additional analysis shows that the findings are independent of a person’s traits such as gender, age, and nationality.
    Keywords: Real-effort task; financial literacy; overconfidence
    JEL: G11 J22
    Date: 2015
  4. By: Adrian Bruhin (University of Lausanne); Ernst Fehr (University of Zurich); Daniel Schunk (Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz)
    Abstract: There is vast heterogeneity in the human willingness to weigh others’ interests in decision making. This heterogeneity concerns the motivational intricacies as well as the strength of other-regarding behaviors, and raises the question how one can parsimoniously model and characterize heterogeneity across several dimensions of social preferences while still being able to predict behavior over time and across situations. We tackle this task with an experiment and a structural model of preferences that allows us to simultaneously estimate outcome-based and reciprocity-based social preferences. We find that non-selfish preferences are the rule rather than the exception. Neither at the level of the representative agent nor when we allow for several preference types do purely selfish types emerge. Instead, three temporally stable and qualitatively different other-regarding types emerge endogenously, i.e., without pre-specifying assumptions about the characteristics of types. When ahead, all three types value others’ payoffs significantly more than when behind. The first type, which we denote as strongly altruistic type, is characterized by a relatively large weight on others’ payoffs – even when behind – and moderate levels of reciprocity. The second type, denoted as moderately altruistic type, also puts positive weight on others’ payoff, yet at a considerable lower level, and displays no positive reciprocity while the third type is behindness averse, i.e., puts a large negative weight on others’ payoffs when behind and behaves selfishly otherwise. We also find that there is an unambiguous and temporally stable assignment of individuals to types. Moreover, the three-type model substantially improves the (out-of-sample) predictions of individuals’ behavior across additional games while the information contained in subject-specific parameter estimates leads to no or only minor additional predictive power. This suggests that a parsimonious model with three types captures the bulk of the predictive power contained in the preference estimates.
    Keywords: Social Preferences, Heterogeneity, Stability, Finite Mixture Models
    JEL: C49 C91 D03
    Date: 2016–01–04

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