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Open Access Publications from the University of California


Xlab, the Experimental Social Science Laboratory
Prof. Shachar Kariv,, Director

The Xlab is a wireless computing facility funded by the National Science Foundation and designed to facilitate experiments that explore human behavior from a social science perspective. It is an "economic wind tunnel" that allows researchers to determine how various theories play out with real people. Research conducted in the Xlab is at the heart of this working paper series.

Experimental Social Science Laboratory (Xlab)

There are 19 publications in this collection, published between 2004 and 2008.
Recent Work (19)

Dynamic Inconsistencies in Gambling and the Role of Feelings

Anecdotal evidence suggests that in a gambling environment people might violate “pre-commitments,” and subsequently bet more than they had initially planned. In this paper, we investigate this phenomenon in a scenario where i) participants have full information about the gambles prior to the planning phase ii) the time period between the planning and actual phases of the gambles is very short, iii) participants believed that their plans will be executed, iv) and participants are reminded of their planned bets right before they make their actual bets. In a series of three experiments, we assess the presence, shape and potential processes underlying dynamic inconsistencies in a sequence of two fair gambles.

Gaming Emotions

One's own emotions may influence others' behavior in a given social interaction. If one believes this, s/he has an incentive to game emotions - to strategically conceal a current emotion or display a non-experienced emotion - in an attempt to influence her/his counterpart. In a series of three experiments, we show that people deliberately conceal (experiment 1) or misrepresent (experiments 2 and 3) their emotional state in a negotiation setting. When given the opportunity to either hide or express their current emotions before playing an ultimatum game, receivers who have reported low (vs. high) level of anger are more likely to conceal their emotion right before the proposers decide on the division of the pie (experiment 1). When the procedure allows participants to change their previously reported emotion, receivers choose to inflate their reported level of anger prior to proposers' decision (experiment 2). Finally, this emotion gaming hypothesis generalizes to positive emotions as well. In a standard trust game, trustees inflate the level of happiness before trusters decide on passing vs. keeping a fixed amount of money to the trustees (experiment 3).

Behavioral Consequences of Affect: Combining Evaluative and Regulatory Mechanisms

The proposed model integrates two streams of research on affect by specifying how evaluative and regulatory mechanisms interact to guide behavior. Two experiments demonstrate that when no mood-changes are expected, the affective evaluation mechanism guides behavior, leading to a monotonic increase in behavioral intentions as affect conditions shift from negative to positive. When participants expect the behavioral activity to change their current affective states, a combination of affect regulation and affective evaluation produces a U shape pattern when a mood-lifting cue is present (experiment 1) and an inverted U shape pattern when a mood-threatening cue is present (experiment 2).

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