Cross Cultural Differences in Decisions from Experience: Evidence from Denmark, Israel and Taiwain

Research, Preprint OPEN
Sibilla Di Guida ; Ido Erev ; Davide Marchiori (2014)
  • Subject: decisions from experience | recency effect | cross cultural decision making; rare events; decisions from experience; clicking paradigm; recency effect | cross cultural decision making | Economie | rare events | clicking paradigm

This paper examines the effects of different cultural backgrounds on decisions from experience. In Experiment 1, participants from Denmark, Israel, and Taiwan faced each of six binary choice problems for 200 trials. The participants did not receive prior description of the payoff distributions, but obtained complete feedback after each choice. Comparison of choice behavior across cultural groups reveals similar overall choice rates, and similar indications of underweighting of rare events and of the payoff variability effect. In addition, subjects from Taiwan exhibited a stronger tendency to chase recent outcomes. That is, subjects from East Asia behaved “as if” they expected less change in the environment than subjects from West Asia and West Europe. Experiment 2 shows that an increase in the complexity of the choice tasks (i.e. adding slight variability to the safe option, and increasing the number of replicas for each option) does not break the similarity of choice rates across cultural groups, but reverses the observed chasing pattern: In Experiment 2, Israeli participants tended to chase recent outcomes more than did the Taiwanese. These results can be summarized with the assumption that the tendency to rely of small samples of past experiences (a sufficient condition for underweighting of rare events and the payoff variability effect) is robust to cultural differences, but the exact sampling process is culture- and framing-specific. An increase in the number of possible outcomes increases the probability of sampling the most recent trial in the West, but not in the East. Thus, behavior in the East appears less sensitive to task complexity.
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