Timing of Social Feedback Shapes Observational Learning in Strategic Interaction

Joshua Zonca, Alexander Vostroknutov, Giorgio Coricelli, Luca Polonio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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.
Original languageEnglish
Article number21972
Number of pages12
JournalScientific Reports
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2021

Keywords

  • decision
  • human behaviour
  • learning and memory
  • social behaviour
  • GAZE PATTERNS
  • COGNITIVE HIERARCHY MODEL
  • GAMES
  • MECHANISMS
  • SIMULATION
  • SOPHISTICATION
  • CHOICE
  • PLAY
  • EQUILIBRIUM
  • DECISION RULES

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