Many types of social interaction require the ability to anticipate others' behavior, which is commonly referred to as strategic sophistication. In this context, observational learning can represent a decisive tool for behavioral adaptation. However, little is known on whether and when individuals learn from observation in interactive settings. In the current study, 321 participants played one-shot interactive games and, at a given time along the experiment, they could observe the choices of an overtly efficient player. This social feedback could be provided before or after the participant’s choice in each game. Results reveal that players with a sufficient level of strategic skills increased their level of sophistication only when the social feedback was provided after their choices, whereas they relied on blind imitation when they received feedback before their decision. Conversely, less sophisticated players did not increase their level of sophistication, regardless of the type of social feedback. Our findings disclose the interplay between endogenous and exogenous factors modulating observational learning in strategic interaction.

Timing of social feedback shapes observational learning in strategic interaction

Polonio L.
2021

Abstract

Many types of social interaction require the ability to anticipate others' behavior, which is commonly referred to as strategic sophistication. In this context, observational learning can represent a decisive tool for behavioral adaptation. However, little is known on whether and when individuals learn from observation in interactive settings. In the current study, 321 participants played one-shot interactive games and, at a given time along the experiment, they could observe the choices of an overtly efficient player. This social feedback could be provided before or after the participant’s choice in each game. Results reveal that players with a sufficient level of strategic skills increased their level of sophistication only when the social feedback was provided after their choices, whereas they relied on blind imitation when they received feedback before their decision. Conversely, less sophisticated players did not increase their level of sophistication, regardless of the type of social feedback. Our findings disclose the interplay between endogenous and exogenous factors modulating observational learning in strategic interaction.
social interaction; game theory; observational learning; strategic reasoning; heterogeneity;
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11771/19457
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